In which James the Just is discovered …

by Craig on November 15, 2010

James, brother of Jesus, Can you imagine how often Mary said, "James, why can't you be more like your brother?"

James was the brother of God.


He was  called  “James the Just”. If he failed to live up to the reputation, we would have heard about it.


The Book of James is jarring, dangerous, brimming with bombshells. But it’s a skimpy five chapters long. Some blog posts are longer. 


 But my mom always said, “Quality is better than quantity”

And can you imagine how many times he heard his mother say,

 “James, why can’t you be more like your brother?” ツ

What else is there?
He’s the brother of Jesus, we should know a bunch about him, right?

He presided over the very first Jerusalem church.
The first century Christians  revered him – with a capitol ‘R’.

He was called “teacher of righteousness”.
Nobody else gets that kind of first century respect, not Peter, not John, not Paul.

He was not big into bathing, no cutting of the hair, no drinking…
no animal food (not certain about sushi. ツ  wait, pretty sure no sushi)

And he prayed – and prayed – and prayed. It’s said that his knees were like a camel because he prayed so much. Camels are the 4 by 4’s of the animal kingdom – spindly legs, ginormous knees. They navigate shifting sands, support huge camel bodies, and all the stuff people love heaping upon them. Kneeling, for a camel – not an easy thing.


He was given extra teaching, with Peter and John.
Together, these three were called, “the pillars”.

He stood always at odds with Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. Just like his brother.
He was so respected that his following increased and he became a threat. Just like his brother.
He had a revolutionary emphasis  on rich people NOT lording it over the poor. Just like his brother.
The Jewish leadership in Jerusalem wanted him gone. He was killed at their hands.

Just like his brother.

I see him accepting Grace, all the way, and as The Jewish Christian of Jewish Christians, desperately needing to live out that acceptance, by, dare I say the word…works.

I can hear Mary now, “Craig, why can’t you be more like James the Just?”

I have followed Our Lord without once turning back, and yet failed him mightily in the following. There is Grace. But I am bereft of merit. To keep trying, keep a heart towards God, that’s all this sinner can do.

I show only my best self when others are looking. Where’s the deservedness in that?

James stood for Truth, in a holy city that had ferociously rejected Truth. A target was drawn on his back. Me? I’ve mostly created my own targets, inspired by the lovely triplets: ego, conceit, and vanity, and then brandished it about, daring people to shoot.

I push against boundaries. God draws me home.

I doubt. God sees to it that there are answers.

I rebel, and he is patient.

But he chastens, and sometimes crushes those he loves,

to save them,

to save me.

and he forgives.

I have his Scripture. We all do. I have his Holy Spirit, and have walked with him and talked with him. I’m not alone. But still Mary would scold me,

“Why can’t you be more like God’s brother?”

Like a trickle of water eventually breaks through stone, his Grace has broken my stone heart, and created a new one. There is hope for this stubborn, wayward, and perennial prodigal.

More conformed into the image of the Son of God than ever,

yet more achingly aware of how little like him I am,

much less his brother

James the Just.

There you go. My very first post.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie November 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Yippee! I get to be the first to leave a comment! ha! Oh no . . .now what will I say without someone else to go off of? :)
Beautifully written and a beautiful point. I’ve been thinking about crushing lately, as I gather leaves and stuff them in the lawn waste bags. The more that I crush them and press them, the more I can fit in. The more we are crushed and pressed, the more He Himself can fit in and fill our lives.
Thank you so much Craig, for sharing what you know and have experienced with us! :)


Craig November 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

and someday – in homage to you – maybe a simple poem… you are a blessing Deb :)


bill (cycleguy) November 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I left a comment on the other one as well Craig. Congrats on joining us nut cases who think that blogging still has worth. Hope all goes well for you. I stated over on my blog that my internet is out at the office so my time on the computer is short. will comment more another time. Blessings.


Debbie November 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Craig, how do I get to the other site? :) Oh and please do some simple poems . . .or intricate ones! I’ll try to get you blog rolled too, as soon as I get a chance! :)


Craig November 15, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Deb – the other site is the more the “poety” one I think. This one is the boy twin, that one is the girl. It’s Just like – but love instead. I’ll figure out soon how to do links and such – right now I’ll just keep writing. And try to look as if I know what I’m doing :)

And when I said I’d write a “simple poem” or two – that was just kidding – that’s your gig – I’m no poet! :) It was just a little inside compliment to someone whose poems I heart.


Danielle Smith November 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Craig! WELCOME!! you did it! So excited you finally threw the doors wide open and started to blog. You are off to a wonderful start!

(to get videos IN your post: go to YouTube – underneath the video, you will see a button that says, ’embed’ – click it – a box will appear with ‘code’ – copy the code. Return to your wordpress post. On the top right of your post, you will see a button for HTML (right next to ‘visual’), click it, scroll down into the post where you would like to see the video appear, ‘paste’ the ’embed’ code, and then click ‘visual’ again – this will allow you to go right back to ‘writing’ your post. Hope that helps…. if you have any other questions, let me know!)



Craig November 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Danielle, I am really so truly blessed that you would visit. Words never escape me – but err…

Ok – catch the breath – ok…exhale…

And the compliment – and the encouragement – and the help offered without even a request made – that’s all like diamonds sprinkled on emeralds. I am so grateful. And speaking of gems, Mr. Smith has one. I’m thinkin’ Mrs. Smith has one too.

I have a gazillion technical questions – words I can do – Wordpress currently has the upper hand in the fight :) But you’ve already helped me turn the battle.

God Bless you, and your hubs, and your two little humans.


Danielle Smith November 16, 2010 at 1:18 am

Craig – happy to help whenever I can. (Promise I’m not smart enough to answer them all – but I’ll do my best) And I’m grateful for the blessings on the small people – as they are currently driving me crazy and can use the extra love :) Wishing you everything good as you join us in this crazy blogging world!


Melissa Brotherton November 15, 2010 at 11:45 pm

And you’re off! Welcome to the world of blogging, Craig! It’s great to have a place to come to and hear what God is speaking to you. Great post. I’ve always admired James and wondered why people didn’t talk more about him than they do. Thanks for highlighting his merits. :)


Craig November 16, 2010 at 12:10 am

And it’s only the beginning – this book that never gets studied enough is more like the teachings of Our Lord than maybe anything else in the NT outside of the Gospels. From a man who knew Our Lord in a way nobody else did. I am such a James fan – and he’s about to open up with a bang – the whole can’t get wisdom without trials thing – it’s big stuff.

Melissa – you already know I heart your words – and I’m really blessed that you visited.

Now we’ll have no more of this France talk (the French are snotty – I know – I’ve been there – left a broken heart there – and brought one back to the States inside my chest too – long story). The point – I like you just where you are. You are right where you belong :)

Oh – and considering your whispers in church to your husband – well go read # 75 and 76 in my 100’s list in the about me page – kindred souls methinks.

Thank you for coming by. Remember there’s the sister site to this one – – it’s different – it’s the girl of the twin sites.

God Bless


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