1 Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh in hell. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every whim. Now your hearts are nice and fat, ready for the slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed good people who had no power to defend themselves against you. [New Living Translation]
This is bracing scripture and a kind of antidote for the orgy of consumerism we're commanded into starting this Friday ... go forth and buy buy buy! No less than our president has told us that our patriotism shall be measured by our conspicuous consumption.
Can you read these admonitions of James without conflating his "rich people" with our rich, acquisitive nation? And does it salve your conscience to think, "That has nothing to do with us"?