The Scandal of partiality in the Epistle of James

Part 1: Introduction

Many agree that the message of James is scandalous as it contains the famous passage that says: “man is not justified by faith alone.” In fact, a book has already been written about it –Elsa Tamez’s The Scandalous Message of James: Faith Without Works is Dead. However, I would like to point out that there is perhaps a more scandalous message contained in the Epistle of James –that is James’ disdain towards the practice of partiality in the community of faith.

The Scripture as the Word of God couched in ancient human language, in human words that persevere for Christians of all generations as a form of God’s self-revelation to his people who are fashioned in and through Jesus of Nazareth. As Christians in the twentieth century we read and study that Word of God as nourishment of our spiritual lives. But we do not study it in a vacuum. We are members of a faith-community that feeds its spiritual life, indeed on the written Word of God along with the tradition that has been born of it and that has helped fashion the understanding of that written record[1].

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Solidarity!

A review of Gustavo Gutierrez’s We Drink From Our Own Wells

Publication information
Title: We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People
Author: Gustavo Gutierrez (Translated by Matthew J. O’Connell)
Publisher: Maryknol, Orbis Books, 1983
Pages: 181

Gustavo Gutierrez is probably the best-known liberation theologian as he has written what remains to be the classic exposition of this movement, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation[1] the book that has permanently altered our modern theological landscape, by challenging us to hear the Gospel message from the “underside of history,” from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed[2].

Born in Lima, Peru, Gutierrez is of Native American heritage, being of mixed Quechua descent he earned degrees in psychology and philosophy (Leuven), and obtained a doctorate at the Institut Pastoral d’Etudes Religieuses (IPER), Université Catholique in Lyon. Ordained as a Dominican priest in 1959, he lives and works in a poor slum in Lima, dividing his time between pastoral work and teaching at the Catholic University[3]. He holds the John Cardinal O’Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and has been a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe.

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John 1:1-18 | The movement from domestication to revelation

I believe I was a high school sophomore when Joan Osborne’s song One of us became a chart topping hit. In the song the composer, Eric Bazilian, tries to deal with various aspects of belief in God by asking questions and inviting the listener to consider how they might relate to God. The song’s intro begins with a serious contemplative question that echoes the deepest yearnings that a lot of people had about what they would like to be set clear about God as the verse goes:

“If God had a name, what would it be

And would you call it to his face

If you were faced with him in all his glory[1]

That verse somehow got stuck to my head from that point on, in spite of the irony that it was also during that time that I started to underwent my local church’s discipleship program. And it wasn’t until a few years following my graduation from college, after years of staying away from my community of faith that I came to realize that the answer to the question posed in the song’s verse is a unanimous: “yes,” because Scripture testifies that truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

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