Tongues of Fire… The Other Kind

Draughting Theology

As I’ve said before, I love the book of James, but it can, at times, be a real Debbie Downer.  In this Sunday’s lesson from the third chapter, he takes an image that is well known and much beloved, tongues of fire, and turns it into something fairly lamentable.  Most people, when they think of tongues of fire, picture the Pentecost story as the Holy Spirit arrives with power and might to change the whole world.  Through that powerful in-breaking, God undoes the Babel story and makes many tongues speak one language.

In contrast to God’s amazing use of the tongues of men and women to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ far and wide, James sees the tongue as nothing more than a necessary evil.  He goes so far as to say that “the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of…

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