Sunday, 13 May 2012

Christian Reflection on James

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to the letter of James. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:
Robert B. Kruschwitz
Though often neglected by scholars and church members alike, the letter of James has much to teach us about God’s grace and our faithful response within the Church. Our contributors sift James’s vivid illustrations, pithy parables, and trenchant sayings for their transforming possibilities for our discipleship.
Mariam J. Kamell
God Gave Us Birth
The letter of James is commonly misread as an awkward misfit that constantly focuses on works instead of the grace of God through Christ. Instead, the letter is an appeal for disciples to become what they are: the firstfruits of a restored creation, set free to live according to God’s character.
Patrick J. Hartin
Faith-in-Action: An Ethic of ‘Perfection’
James challenges us to live faithfully, to ‘be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’ Such wholeness or completeness demands that we embrace a life where action and faith go together. Our faith must express itself in our actions, and our actions in turn bear witness to our faith.
Todd D. Still
Taming the Tongue
The things that we say or fail to say serve as a barometer of our Christian character, according to the letter of James. The (in)ability to master our words is both a metric for and a mark of spiritual maturity.
Robert W. Wall
James’s Theological Grammar
A theological grammar of James, guided by analogy to the Church’s apostolic Rule of Faith, can help us uncover the letter’s rich Trinitarian theology. It enables a faithful community to mine this sacred text for wisdom that saves and Christian maturity that performs ‘every good work.’
Heidi J. Hornik
Drawing James
Through its homage to the iconographic tradition, Paul Soupiset’s James the Less draws us into the artist’s personal meditation on the letter of James.
C. Stephen Evans
Seeing Ourselves in the Mirror of the Word
One who hears the Word of God but doesn’t act accordingly is like one who ‘observes his bodily face in a mirror’ but turns away and forgets what he looks like. If we understand James’s parable rightly, Kierkegaard explains, we will see how being a good hearer of the Word is linked to being a doer of the Word.
Paul J. Wadell
Living as the Friends of God
James calls the Church to be a living sacrament of friendship with God, a compelling sign of hope and a credible witness of a more promising and truly human way of life. This is what the friends of the world have a right to expect from the friends of God and, perhaps, even long to see in them.
Bert Montgomery
James’s Amazing Grace Gumbo
A reckless reading sees only legalism. But if we take time to savor its flavor like a Cajun making gumbo, because James stirs in a heaping amount of Abraham, a good sprinkling of Elijah, and just a pinch of Rahab, we will taste rich grace through and through.
Jeremy Colliver
Following James’s Map
James provides a map to a continuing life of transformation and conversion. Along its two roads – a responsible and redeeming relationship with others and a personal struggle against sin – that Jesus laid out and James takes up, we are to walk ourselves and to lead others.
David M. Moffitt
Finding a Central Thread in James
The three studies of James reviewed here bring together in refreshing ways what many scholars hold asunder – substantive historical analysis, exegetical work, and constructive theological engagement. This holistic approach helps us to become doers of the word, not only better hearers of it.

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