The other day, Kathy described the conversations I have with her about my studies sounding something like, "blah, blah, blah, septuagint, blah, blah doctrine of God, blah, blah." I try to tell her the things I'm working on are very practical. She doesn't always agree.
But what I'm working on right now is practical. I'm writing a paper (that I will hopefully finish on Wednesday or Thursday) on James 4:4-10.
I don't know how many people can relate, but I remember growing up in church and Christian school, being bored in services where someone told us about I can't remember what because I let my mind wander and drift off, grasping for anything more compelling than what was being said at the moment. And believe it or not, I often turned to the Bible to deliver me from boredom.
Now don't go thinking I was a holy little boy or anything. The Bible is not a very tame book. If you grow up in Christian school, you learn early on how to use the concordance in the back of the pew Bible and when you learn that, then you learn how to look for all the dirty words to be found in our holy book. And what could possibly be more tantalizing than finding words you aren't allowed to say written in the same place where all life's rules come from? The Bible is full of examples for little boys to follow, right?
Sometimes I think it's those days of thumbing through the Bible in a church pew before my feet could reach the floor that draw me to passages like this one in James. The passage opens with James yelling at Christians: "You adulterous people!" What's great about being able to read Greek now is that I know that those three words in English are really one word in the original and the way to translate it best and carry the full weight of what James is saying would probably be to say something like, "You whores!" I mean it may not be biblical incest (see Gen. 42, 2 Samuel 13), but come on, a pastor calling his congregation a bunch of hookers (ok, now I'm getting colorful) is downright interesting. I mean, when was the last time your preacher called you out for turning a trick?
But that's how James starts this part of the Bible off. And his reasons for doing so are practical. And maybe if I get around to it, I'll tell you why I think so.