September 2017
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the book of James in gender-neutral language


James 1


1James, a servant of God/dess and of our Deity Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Greetings.

2Consider it pure joy, my Friends, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, ze should ask God/dess, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to zir. 6But when ze asks, ze must believe and not doubt, because ze who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not think ze will receive anything from our Deity; 8ze is a double-minded person, unstable in all ze does.

9The Friend in humble circumstances ought to take pride in zir high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in zir low position, because ze will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich person will fade away even while ze goes about zir business.

12Blessed is the person who perseveres under trial, because when ze has stood the test, ze will receive the crown of life that God/dess has promised to those who love zir.

13When tempted, no one should say, "God/dess is tempting me." For God/dess cannot be tempted by evil, nor does ze tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by zir own evil desire, ze is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16Don't be deceived, my dear Friends. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Parent of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18Ze chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all ze created.

19My dear Friends, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for human anger does not bring about the righteous life that God/dess desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a person who looks at zir face in a mirror 24and, after looking at zirself, goes away and immediately forgets what ze looks like. 25But the person who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom (love God, love self, love others), and continues to do this, not forgetting what ze has heard, but doing it—ze will be blessed in what ze does.

26If anyone considers zirself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on zir tongue, ze deceives zirself and zir religion is worthless. 27Religion that God/dess our Parent accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows (those who cannot care for themselves) in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


James 2


1My Friends, as believers in our glorious Deity Jesus Christ, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. 2Suppose a person comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the person wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor person, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

5Listen, my dear Friends: Has not God/dess chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom ze promised those who love zir? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of zir to whom you belong?

8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For ze who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12So speak and so act as people who are to be judged under the law of liberty, the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love, 13For to zir who has shown no mercy the judgment will be merciless, but mercy, full of glad confidence, exults victoriously over judgment.

14What good is it, my Friends, if a person claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save zir? 15Suppose a Friend is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to zir, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about zir physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God/dess. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what ze did when ze offered zir child Isaac on the altar? 22You see that zir faith and zir actions were working together, and zir faith was made complete by what ze did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God/dess, and it was credited to zir as righteousness," and ze was called God/dess's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what ze does and not by faith alone.

25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute shown to be justified (pronounced righteous before God/dess) for what ze did when ze gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


James 3


1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my Friends, because you know that we who teach will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what ze says, ze is a perfect person, able to keep zir whole body in check.

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of zir life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by humans, 8but no person can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Deity and Parent, and with it we curse humankind, who have been made in God/dess's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My Friends, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My Friends, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let zir show it by zir good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts (wanting what others have and wanting one's own benefit to the detriment of others), do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). It is willing to yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.


James 4


1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God/dess. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God/dess? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God/dess. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit ze caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But ze gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God/dess opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble."

7Submit yourselves, then, to God/dess. Resist the devil, and ze will flee from you. 8Come near to God/dess and ze will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before our Deity, and ze will lift you up.

11Friends, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against zir Friend or judges zir, speaks against the law of love and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is our Deity's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good ze ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.


James 5


1Now listen, you rich (powerful) people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of our Deity Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent people, who were not opposing you.

7Be patient, then, Friends, until our Deity's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient ze is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because our Deity's coming is near. 9Do not complain, Friends, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10Friends, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of our Deity. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what our Deity finally brought about. Our Deity is full of compassion and mercy.

12Above all, my Friends, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.

13Is any one of you in trouble? Ze should pray. Is anyone happy? Let zir sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? Ze should call the elders of the church to pray over zir and anoint zir with oil in the name of our Deity. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; our Deity will raise zir up. If ze has sinned, ze will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17Elijah was a person just like us. Ze prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again ze prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My Friends, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring zir back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of zir way will save zir from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
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spokenonlyonce ══╣xian / coexist╠══
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.