I’m reading Rachel Held Evans‘ book (by the way, if you don’t follow her, you need to!) Evolving In Monkey Town: How A Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned To Ask The Questions (Zondervan, 2010), and I just came to a great story she tells that illustrates well what James is talking about in 4:4-10. Before I share the story, let me set it up. In the passage we’re going to study on Sunday, James is talking about how pride can turn us into enemies of God. But pride is so hard to grab a hold of. Look at the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, and you’d never find them admitting to struggling with pride. And yet it is pretty obvious to us, isn’t it? Could the same be said of us? Is it possible that we have pride and hardly know it. Like Jesus was an outsider who critiqued the religious elite of his day, sometimes we need people from a different viewpoint to tell us how we come across. On page 201, Evans gives a response from a coworker she had invited to church:
Listen, I respect you and your commitment to your faith. Really, you’re one of the nicest Christians I know. It’s just that I’ve had some pretty nasty run-ins with your conservative evangelical cohorts and I don’t think I’m cut out for that lifestyle. I’m not into hellfire and damnation stuff, and I’m definitely not into this submit-to-your-husband stuff. I can’t imagine telling my gay friends that they’ve got to force themselves to be straight, and I can’t imagine voting for a guy like Bush just because he’s pro-life. Now, I’ve got no problem with Jesus. But it seems to me that if evangelical Christians were the only ones to have God all figured out, then they would be the kindest, most generous people around. No offense to you, but in my twenty-plus years in this business, I haven’t found that to be true. Most Christians I know are only interested in winning arguments, converts, and elections.
Let discuss! Are we more like the Pharisees than we’d care to admit?