The problem with James is that he does not shun from application, and here we have a clear one. We are not supposed to show partiality, to give favours, to have a favourite class, to either suck up to those in power or tell people to check their privilege. Yet we do so: it is interesting how people treat you differently when they find out what you do.
Particularly when you do not meet their expectations. Some years ago I was speaking with a female colleague about balancing raising children with getting papers written. One of her female colleagues raised an eyebrow: “ What is H. doing talking to this bloke? This psychiatrist? This male person who holds us down?” To be fair, she did have some shame when H. said “ Chris is a solo father. He gets it “.
Now, the times are dark at present: some would say that they are always dark. The temptations of this time are different to previous ones: the people of the 1930s rejected sexual licence (and the decadence of Berlin) for the “cleaner” racism that lead to Treblinka. We deceive ourselves over-much, and we forget that our natural tendency, to sin in our favourite manner, remains after salvation: indeed it is one of the crosses we bear.
Your argument regarding external influences on women is interesting. James’ epistle indicates that temptation to sin is external, but the inclination resides within the individual.
While I’m not sure I’d agree with everything you wrote to Elspeth @ 1:48, your comment brought to mind the first chapter of Romans 1. Toward the end, Paul listed a host of perverse behaviors and even cited lack of “natural affection”. He traced the root cause back to spiritual darkness which resulted from a refusal to honor and give thanks to God. Regardless of how many individual feminine falls you count, the only real cure can be found in spiritual restoration…which does eventually lead back to the point you made about love being a better motivator than fear.
If we get too partial, and spend all our times seeking favour and advantage, we cannot love nor can we care. Most of the time, loving another will inconvenience us and stymie our goals. And we need to remember that our goals are not the goals of our Lord. The inconveniences that we see are probably in God’s agenda.
And the poor, the shabby and broken may be those who bear witness against us.
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
(James 2:1-13 ESV)
I have been suspicious of those who judge harshly, who have no mercy for errors: the irony is that those who have standards and talk about sin overtly tend to be those who understand the need for mercy. For they are fully aware of their own sin: I find when I talk about these things my conscience reminds me that most of the time the error I am talking about is one I have done.
I find it is the liberal, the professionally perverse, and the Social Justice Warriors who judge viciously. Who do not show mercy. It is the liberal churches that have made it very clear — as a solo father — that I am not welcome. Particularly since I am white, and the children clearly have Asian ancestry.
Now, I don’t care about the man’s bowling shirt — made by his GF — and I don’t think that techs need to wear suits and have a dress code. But snarking about the pinups printed on the fabric when the European Space Agency has landed a probe on a comet is so trivial. Reducing a tech to tears and making him apologize is an insult to the woman who made the shirt.
It is like those who expect me to wear a suit. The only people I listen to on fashion are my beloved, my sisters and mother and my daughter: for I trust that they have my best interests at heart. But disowning greatness for trivia is at least being foolish. And the elite want us to be nicely in our little plantations, arguing with each other. Instead of supporting each other, and doing great things together.
Do not be them, and do not be like them.
The GF who made the shirt tweeted back. The blowback on this has been huge.
— Elly PriZeMaN (@ellypriZeMaN) November 13, 2014