e martë, 17 korrik 2007

James 3:13-18 (cont.)

Passage: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Journal: The "wisdom that is from above," a vertical wisdom, is derived from and in God. This wisdom is distinguished from the wisdom that is around us, a horizontal wisdom, that is derived from the striving of man. How does a man distinguish between vertical wisdom and horizontal wisdom? Do the two morph into one greater wisdom? Is this not what religion is all about, the quest of man to attain greater and greater wisdom, and occasionally nod his head to some higher power or force?

James instructs us how to distinguish between relative wisdom, the wisdom that changes with the latest revelation of man, and eternal wisdom, the wisdom that is based on the revelation of God to man. Not surprisingly, James defines this wisdom in action; that is, wisdom is defined by a man's life and not by the mere words of men. ("But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.") The wise man has a peaceable and gentle spirit, strives to help those around him without regard to class or reward, and walks his talk. I see a man (or woman) who boldly lives out God's word, and yet does so in a way that makes it very difficult to criticize his action or motive, for his deed follows his word, and his word is intended to reach out to those in dire need. Do you see this wisdom, for is it not a wisdom that can be seen and not just heard. Wisdom is not Confucius, able to turn a word. Wisdom is Paul, enabled for the Word. This enablement produces fruit, the "fruit of righteousness."

Heard 'Round the House:
As I mentioned, Jill, Song (age 9; adopted from China) and Anna (age 7) went to Tulsa to Chinese Culture Camp last week. (You know, Tulsa, Oklahoma, that Asian hotbed; actually, it was in Tulsa because the adoption agency hosting the camp is based there). Jill said it put a tear in her eye to look around the room and see about 150 Chinese children that American families had adopted. Anna has always been proud that she went to China with mommy to get Song back in 1999 (Jill was pregnant with Anna when she went to Shanghai, and Anna used to claim that she remembers China because she poked her head out and looked around while they were there.) In any event, Anna was obviously impressed by the festivities as she announced this cultural regret on the way home from the camp --
Anna: "Mommy, why couldn't you have had me while we were over in China picking up Song. Then, I could have been Chinese . . ."