Eight new verses for today… NO new verses tomorrow!
Make sure to keep listening to the audiobook… you can get it by clicking here.
If you prefer to listen to individual chapters, you can find the files at these links: James 1, James 2, James 3, James 4, James 5. (Right click to download the files.)
1. New verses (6 minutes)
Loeb is jumping over the ham on the balcony and showing his brothers, who are watching from below, how to do it. They all think they could teach better than he does, but he tells them they don’t want to became teachers; teachers are judged more strictly on the art of jumping.
This story has two parts.
First, as he goes into his bedroom, he bumps the ham and it starts rolling across the floor. He keeps trying to avoid it, but no matter which way he turns, he always seems to be stumbling over it.
Second, this irritates him so much that he almost starts swearing. But he decides, for some reason, that if he doesn’t swear, he won’t trip. He subscribes to the philosophy that “if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is perfect, able to keep control of his body too!” (Nevertheless, he continues tripping over the ham.)
The ham keeps rolling around, even into the bathroom. Loeb starts thinking about some way to control it while he prepares to brush his teeth. As he puts his toothbrush into his mouth while jumping over the ham, it reminds him of something: “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can guide their whole bodies as well.” Maybe there would be a way to tame this crazy thing rolling around the floor, or at least to control it.
The ham rolls against the magenta ladder and almost knocks it over. At the same time, large, strong winds from the window almost knock over the ladder in the other direction. Loeb compares the two forces: The big force of the wind and the small force of the little ham on the floor. Because of the wind, he thinks of the analogy of a ship: “Even though ships are large and are driven by strong winds, they are controlled by a very small rudder.” Then he realizes the analogy doesn’t really work: “In that case, it’s based on what the pilot directs; in this case, the ham is just rolling around wherever it wants to go.”
This long story has three parts.
First, the ham rolls through the toy room, smelling up all the toys, which absorb smells quickly. Now everything in the room smells like smoke (because it’s a smoked ham). Loeb grows angry at “the tongue” for making everything smell like a fire had gone through here. “It’s not just making me trip; it’s causing all sorts of mischief. It’s like it’s out to fill the whole world with its mischief and unrighteousness.” (Loeb has a strange way of choosing words.)
Second, where the ham ends up is at the teddy bear, which it has completely covered with its horrible smell. It tangles itself among the various members of the bear’s body. Loeb complains that now it has stained the whole thing.
Third, as Loeb tries to leave the room, he can’t get the smell out of his nose. “Great, now I’ll smell like fire throughout the whole course of my life.” As he sniffs, he catches some of the nuances of the smell that he’s never perceived before. This particular smell is roasted pig, but Loeb doesn’t know that; he just thinks it smells terrible and says, “I can’t think of anything that would smell like that except maybe the fire of hell itself.”
Loeb tries to jump over the ham as he goes down the slippery spiral staircase. Suddenly, for no reason at all, a bunch of animals start running down the stairs around him. Beasts, birds, reptiles, and even sea creatures (remember BBRS) are flowing down the stairs. Oddly enough, however, they don’t come too close to Loeb’s feet. They are all domesticated and know how to go around him nicely… whereas the ham is what is tripping him up! He remarks, “Look at that. Every kind of beast, bird, reptile, and sea creature can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind.”
When he lands in the library, Loeb sees a man sitting there and reading a book. Loeb says to the man, “This tongue thing keeps giving me all kinds of trouble. See how it won’t sit still? I’m just a clumsy pig, but I was wondering if a human being could tame this thing?”
The man, knowing that it’s a ham and looking at Loeb, a pig, says “…Well, I don’t know about taming it, but just a tip: You DON’T want to eat that thing if that’s what you’re thinking.”
Loeb, not understanding, says, “So it’s not just restless …it’s evil! Full of deadly poison! Thanks for the tip, I won’t eat it!”
Loeb jumps over the rolling ham in Libby’s room as he’s trying to get her up. When Libby wakes up, she is pleased to see Loeb but displeased to see the thing rolling on the ground; she blesses Loeb and curses the ham. She doesn’t realize how ironic this is… Without knowing it, she has blessed one pig and cursed another!
2. Recall the mnemonics for these verses (1 minute)