For richer, for poorer

This week’s passage focuses on people who have much – and people who have little. And it poses very interesting questions for us to ponder in our spiritual journey to living more humane lives.

James 2:1-10 calls out church goers who show preferences for the big donors over the people who are poor and have nothing to give. James goes to far as to ask the church, “Is it not the rich who oppress you?”

What do you do with a passage like this? I know there are people who would proclaim they are not oppressed. That the “makers” create jobs that lead to liberty. Yet I also know that those who have much, also tend to fear losing it. And those who have lost it already – or who never had it at all – can feel like a threat or a burden.

Like everything the Bible touches on, this passage delves into the complexities of our relationship to money: the people who have it, the people who don’t; the privileges it brings, and the fears it inspires. In a world with more billionaires than we’ve ever had before, these are timely questions for us. Are you oppressed by the rich when you are forced to upgrade your phone or computer? Forced to give away all your personal information to be involved at all in what’s being called surveillance capitalism?

I don’t know where this Scripture will lead, but I do know these questions have bothered me from time to time. Let’s seek the Word of God to lead us through complicated questions – not to easy answers, but to grace-filled actions.