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Tutor profile: Harleigh G.

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Harleigh G.
Teaching Assistant at Biola University
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Questions

Subject: Religious Studies

TutorMe
Question:

Throughout the letter of James, the author communicates his message by using the rhetorical strategy of contrast. Describe the pervasive contrasts in the letter (section by section) and how they bear resemblance to the traditional “Two Ways” motif in Jewish wisdom literature.

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Harleigh G.
Answer:

The nature of Jewish Wisdom literature is to include written commands, instructions, and examples of juxtaposed virtues and vices (such as humility and pride), which are intended to guide a believer in the process of sanctification. As was explained by Dr. Lockett in his textbook, “Letters for the Church,” the letter of James closely resembles the book of Proverbs, in that it serves as a sort of manual for our conduct in navigating life with spiritual discernment. It is understood from the study of the letter of James that the letter is thematically and structurally consistent with Jewish Wisdom literature, but was written as a letter. The rhetorical strategy of contrast is a writing style that was typically used by writers of the Old Testament, which explains why many theologians would compare the letter of James to Jewish Wisdom literature. This brief essay will discuss the various contrasts in the letter of James by its three sections (the letter opening, the introduction to the letter’s themes, and the development of its themes) and how they closely resemble the “Two Ways” motif commonly found in Jewish Wisdom literature. Beginning with the first section of James, the letter opening (James 1:1), begins with a greeting addressed to the “twelve tribes dispersed abroad.” Although the letter is addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel, the time at which the letter was written was after the time period of the twelve tribes. Therefore, another underlying meaning is implied by this address, specifically to greet a “diaspora” of individuals. This is one of three times in the New Testament that the word, “diaspora” is mentioned. In this case, the “Two Ways” motif is applied to the text to address Christian people living in exile from their homes in Heaven. The inclusion of this greeting out of its time period serves as an acknowledgment of the redemption which Jesus had begun by discipling 12 apostles. Therefore, the readers of this letter include both God’s people and Gentiles, under the reconstitution of the coming of Jesus. With the second section, the introduction to the letter’s themes (James 1:2-27), comes the main resemblances to the Old Testament book of Proverbs. This is due to the introduction of various themes in the letter of James which reads similarly to the book of Proverbs. Within this section, there are six major themes: 1) wholeness versus double-mindedness, 2) the poor versus the rich brother, 3) the path of desire versus the path of life, 4) human’s anger versus God’s righteousness, 5) doing versus hearing the Word, and 6) true versus false religion. While I do not have all of the passages memorized for these themes, the themes will be discussed holistically rather than through a specific exegesis. Wholeness versus Double-Mindedness. Within this theme, there is a contrast of virtue and vice, specifically a person who is mature and a person who lacks wisdom, described by the Hebrew word, “teleios,” meaning mature or perfect. In this case, “perfection” is the result of serving the Lord wholeheartedly. For James, continuing to serve God despite trials leads to spiritual maturity, perfection, and wholeness. On the other hand, one who lacks wisdom serves God half-heartedly, and prays with doubt in their heart. Poor versus Rich Brother. Within this theme, there is a surprising contrast in that the poor brother boasts gladly of his “high status,” while the rich brother boasts in his humiliation. In this case, however, “poor” does not only imply materialistically poor, but also humble in spirit. Therefore, according to James, it is better to be wholly dependent on the Lord and humble in spirit than to be proud in arrogance. Path of Desire versus Path of Life. Similar to the wholeness versus double-mindedness contrast, the path of desire versus the path of life theme expresses the blessings on the person who endures in faith despite their trials. Maturity is a fruit that is born from enduring in hardship, and is worthy of crowns. Instead of following the path of the flesh or desire, James exhorts his readers to endure trials for the sake of the Lord who hears our cries, and our pain will be redeemed by Christ himself. Human’s Anger versus God’s Righteousness. Our human emotions are our own way of relating to one another. While it is not a sin to be angry, James explains to his readers that anger does not reflect the Lord’s righteousness, so we should do our best to rid ourselves of it. Instead, we should be slow to speak and slow to anger. The “Two Way” motif here is explained through our contrasting natures. Like God’s righteousness is good, we should be quick to listen. Unlike our anger, we should be slow to speak. Doing versus Hearing the Word. James explains that a hearer of the Word doesn’t examine the depths of their soul in their service to God. The person who does the Word of the Lord, however, is constantly self-reflecting and asking God what about themselves needs to change so they may become more like Him. Here is where the “perfect law of freedom” is evaluated. With our adherence to the “perfect law of freedom” comes a new person in Christ Jesus, and a new opportunity to surrender the power of sin and flesh at the foot of the cross. True versus False Religion. Finally, we have the true versus false religion theme. James warns his readers of being deceptive to their own minds. It is wrong for a person to call themselves a believer while continuing to live in the flesh. This is equivalent to self-deception in the eyes of the Lord. Instead, we should be motivated to serve God for the mercy He has on us rather than out of fear of punishment. Finally, the last section, the development of the themes (James 2-5), discusses 12 applications of these above themes in 1) partiality and the love of the law, 2) faith and works, 3) the tongue, 4) truth and false wisdom, 5) a call to repent of double-mindedness, 6) judgment against one another, 7) denunciation of merchants, 8) denunciation of landowners, 9) waiting for the coming of Christ, 10) speaking the truth, 11) prayer, and 12) reclaiming those who err. The exposition of the above themes within these applications is essential in terms of coherence and purpose of the letter of James. The purpose of these applications is to tell the diaspora of Christians in the world that, once they come into a new relationship with Jesus, they need to also become new people. This new person has the effect of a new way of life and worldview. Therefore, the development of these themes within the 12 examples listed is, in summary, an application of the “Two Ways” motif which can be utilized as a strategy to help new believers adopt the expectations (in terms of the conduct of life, behavior, and social interactions), by making clear contrasts between the old ways of life in the flesh, and the expected way of life in Jesus. This is James’ way of exhorting his readers of the new way of life in Christ.

Subject: Early Childhood Education

TutorMe
Question:

At what age should a child be expected to have their first words?

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Harleigh G.
Answer:

According to Brown's Stages of Language Development, a child produces an average mean length of utterance depending on their age (assuming that they are developing typically). This means that at 1 year of age, a child is expected to have their first word. Their first word is typically an approximation of an adult word, for example "na" for "banana," which may later develop into a more complex version, such as "nana." There is more to be said about types of morphemes and what can influence greater language growth.

Subject: College Admissions

TutorMe
Question:

What is the most important thing to mention in a college interview?

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Harleigh G.
Answer:

These days it is very competitive to interview for college programs. I have found that one of the best ways to stand out in a college interview is to discuss something that you are passionate about that sets you apart from your peers, but that is also relevant to your course of study. For example, many students studying business management will be in the top tier for their grades, have great letters of recommendation, and meet the standardized testing requirements. Not all of them, however, have had an internship working at The Boeing Company for 6 weeks. Or even if this was not possible, say you wrote an outstanding research report on The Boeing Company and you would like for that knowledge you gained to be an emphasis in your interview because you are passionate about it. Interviewers love to hear why you are different, and especially why you are passionate about your choice of study. Your main goal should be to express your unique passion alongside many great candidates.

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