James was the first person I knew who renounced meat and shunned wine and all spirits.
James spent most of his time in the VIP tent inside the First Christian Church of Jerusalem. I never saw him anoint with oil, perhaps because that tent was filled with incense lamps burning the chrism and you felt the Power of the Lord the instant you went inside the flaps, although few were invited. I was one of the lucky few.
He never used bad words nor raised his voice in anger.
The high priests of the big temple were appointed by Rome. We didn’t recognize their authority, but since they could toss you in jail and chop off your head after a speedy and carefully-rigged tribunal, we avoided speaking badly of them in public.
One day the high priest and his chief-of-secret-police priest came to visit James in his tent, and showered him with flattery, and insisted he speak at the next high holy ceremony at the big temple for the benefit of the multitudes, as he was now the most respected living prophet in Jerusalem, now that his brother Jesus was martyred.
But when James showed up at the next high holiday and was led up the parapet to address the multitudes from a great height, the chief-of-secret-police priest informs James he must renounce Jesus and declare himself the one true Christ.
“I can’t do that,” said James. And he starts to denounce the chief-of-secret-police priest, and explain what is going on, when he is pushed off the parapet. He survived the fall, despite the great distance, so the priests began stoning him.
“Forgive them Sophia, they know not what they do.” He said, same words as his brother on the cross.
(Sophia is the first thought of the One and encompasses the Father and the Son, and is also known by the name “love.”)
Afterwards, the priests told the story James had declared himself the one true Christ and denounced Jesus, which they considered such a great sin, they had to kill him instantly.