James 1:17-27

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1. Book - Evolution of God – hunter-gatherer religions

• Examples of rudimentary . religions (5 types of gods)

• Difference from the 3 monotheistic faiths – morality


2. Evolution of Christianity

• Earliest forms of Judaism had some interesting rituals

o Sacrifice an animal

o Circumcision

o Eating habits

o Some more strange

• Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk

• Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material

• Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear

• A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing


3. Scripture from Mark

• Focuses on eating rituals, clear that not written to Jews but to gentiles

• Won’t find reference in the Old Testament to this rule

• See commentary by Thomas Long on story in Matthew’s gospel

• Emphasis is on not doing evil things (12 things listed)

• .

• .

o fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly

• sexual sins: fornication, adultery, avarice, licentiousness

• sins against others: theft, murder, deceit, wickedness, slander

• sins against self: pride, folly, envy

o None of these is against God – religion had evolved from trying not to displease God to trying not to hurt ourselves or each other


4. Scripture from James

• Accept the Word with meekness

• Usually meekness interpreted as “humility”

• But literal translation is “mildness”

• Look at what comes next – be “doers of the word, not hearers”

• If they are religious but do not and instead deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless

• Religion that is pure to God is this – care for the orphans and widows in distress, and keep oneself unstained by the world


5. New commercial from UMC

• What if church was a verb instead of a noun

• What if church wasn’t just some place we go, but something we do?

• What if a church wasn’t just a building, but thousands of doors?

• What if Sunday was a day we came to celebrate all we’ve done Monday through Saturday?


6. “religion” in hunter-gatherer societies

• No such word, no such concept

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