(In The Life Of The Church)
There's Room in my Theology for Fireworks
In our worship planning meetings we've been talking about communion for the last few weeks. Consequently I've been forced to revisit, yet again, what I believe is happening in that moment. We are University Baptist Church. That word Baptist necessitates that we are a particular theological something.
... a brief interlude occurs as I search through mothballs in the credenza of my bookshelf to find this book from my Baptist Identity class ...
In the book that I've just taken a picture of, you will find the Baptist distinctives. The set of ecclesiological supposition that make us who we are. Baptist celebrate two of the Catholic Church's seven sacraments. We don't usually call them sacraments we call them ordinances, but we do take communion and baptize believers. I am told by my book that we have a symbolic understanding of baptism and the Lord's supper.
Confession, I agree that these are symbols and I agree with those that would tell me these are more than symbols. Right around the time of the Reformation everyone was revisiting what it meant to participate in the Lord's Supper. Two five dollar words worth learning are transubstantiation and consubstantiation. I don't want to seem flippant, but I really don't care what truth is about about the ontological nature of the bread and
wine juice we ingest. I care about, in God's grace, how He uses that moment in our worship to form us despite our imperfect understanding.
My "what Baptists believe book" I was reminded that Baptist also believe in the autonomy of the local congregation. Perhaps this is a bit licentious, but I take that to mean a bit of theological autonomy. I give that qualifier, to suggest I don't feel bad about believing that our communion moment is symbol AND more than symbol. One of my baptist professors reminded our class that the word "ordinance" means "means of grace." That language was forged by Cathlolics and hung unto by Protestant during the reformation even though they narrowed the scope of sacraments and nuanced the definition. I'm glad they kept the language, I think it is helpful and theologically true.
My journey in understanding what happens when we take communion evolved over the years in conversing with friends and professors. I'd like to share a few of those moments.
Moment 1: Lembas Bread
In college I took a class on JRR Tolkien (imagine that). I had the privilege of taking the class with a thoughtful friend who was Catholic. If you don't know the story of the Lord of the Rings, Frodo, one of the main characters, is gifted with Lembas Bread, given to him by the elves of Lothlorien. Frodo sets out on a perilous journey. Very often Frodo is sustained and refreshed by eating small bits of the Lembas bread. It seems obvious now, but my friend pointed out that was Tolkein's obvious nod to Tolkein's Catholic understanding of the eucharist.
Moment 2: The Community
A couple of years ago UBC celebrated an evening service in which we took communion. Might have been Maunday Thursday. After the service was over and we were in the cleaning up phase my then 5 year old son snatched some of the excess communion bread and ate it. On the way home was talking to his little sister and asked her if "she got some of the community?" Confused, my wife and I talked him through what he meant. Through conversation we discerned he was talking about the communion bread. After we established that was what was being addressed he replied, "yes the community." Later I posted that conversation on Facebook with the suggestion, "that'll preach."
Moment 3: The Fireworks
Sometime in these last few years I was eating lunch with my mentor. On this particular day we were chatting about communion and how it functions in our Baptist life. He essentially affirmed the standard line about baptist communion and then said, "but i've got room in my theology for there to be fireworks in that moment."
It seems to me that the Spirit has subtly and graciously invited me to understand that God does something special when we take communion. I think about all the critical moments in my journey ... in our journey ... when the act of taking communion together preached a louder and better sermon than ever could have. That communion seems to aid us as we journey together. It gives life in way that eating a sandwich at home by myself doesn't. It's a means of grace, inching me along closer to Jesus. I think about what I'm ingesting, namely the body of Christ, and that we are his body and somehow as we drown in the mysteries of God we really take the community further within ourselves. And I think about how the fireworks just might go off. God used a donkey to talk, a post-menopausal grandma to start a nation, and a few fish sandwiches to feed 9,000 people. He can certainly use communion to set the fireworks off.
This Sunday we will celebrate communion together. I'd like to ask that you use these 48 hours to prepare for that moment.
Meet Our Newest UBCer
Name: Zaid Xavier Ganaway
Weight: 7 lbs 7 oz
Height: 20 in
Enneagram Number: 3
UBC 2014-2015 Community Ministry Partners
(This Sunday Toph will be making an announcement about our 2014-15 community ministry partnerships, but here some additional information for your refrigerator)
Cesar Chavez Middle School
Cesar Chavez Middle School (CCMS) is our oldest community partner, in fact, back in 2008-2009 we won the “Golden Apple Award.” Through the years we have provided mentors, helped with tutoring, held soccer camps, and led in teacher in encouragement. Currently the school has asked us to focus on reading comprehension and mentoring, and we will also continue teacher encouragement. If you would like to be involved with our with CCMS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . South Waco Community Center The South Waco Community Center is a newly renovated facility that offers recreation opportunities and community activities for all ages. Throughout the year the SWCC offers a variety of programs: GED and ESL classes, tax help, after school tutoring, Parent’s Night Out, SAT prep, etc… The community center also hosts big events for our neighborhood. UBC is committed to support the center in whatever ways are needed, and we have become a key partner in helping with community events. The Halloween Festival in 2013 had close to 1500 people from the community, and over 50 UBC volunteers. If you are interested in helping our neighbors, or just playing ball during open gym and building relationships, contact email@example.com for more information.
Jesus Said Love
Jesus Said Love is our newest partner and they exists to share the revolutionary love of Christ with women in the commercial sex industry to awaken hope and empower change. In the Fall of 2014, UBC will become one of their church partners. We will be a part of the LOVE team, and we will sponsor at least one outreach a year. The LOVE Team is a group of men and women who are the hands and feet of Jesus Said Love. Within the LOVE Team there are teams of people who help put gift bags together for club outreaches, gather for times of prayer on outreach nights, assist with JSL events such as dancer baby showers, and help accomplish many other opportunities that may arise. If you would like to be on the LOVE team at UBC, or you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
UBCKids Volunteer Training
Volunteer training time has arrived! On September 21st, we will be talking about The Nurture Room (0-Walkers) and the Sprout Room (Walkers-Young 2's). These rooms don't have curriculum, but there are still sign-in, play-time, diapering and general-care procedures that we need to cover! On September 28th, we will be training those who want to work in either the Bloom Room (Older 2's-Young 4's), the Branch Room (Older 4's-Kindergarten) or the Root Room (1st Grade-4th Grade). These rooms have curriculum, so we will be talking about their formats, helpful hints for each age group and other procedures. In each of these trainings we will be putting teams together. Each room has four teams of 2 or 3 people who rotate on a 4 week cycle. If you have someone you'd like to work with, make sure that they are at the training, too! Afterwards, I will send out the new dates and a calendar link for reminders! We will be holding the trainings RIGHT AFTER CHURCH and I'm hoping to keep them under 30 minutes so that we can all enjoy lunch with our friends, so please make your way to the BACKSIDE quickly so that we can get started!
The UBC Satan Slayers snagged a pair of victories on Monday night. Highlights include three time Waco Church League Softball Cy Young Winner Byron Roldon who threw 4 frames giving up just three hits. On the other side of the plate the offensive efforts were led Kelsey "lay down the" Lawson who hit for a cycle. In the post game press conference coach Dani Miller said, "this was a great start. these kids left it all on the field tonight." When asked about Roldon performance she replied, "that's the sort of thing we expect from Byron. He just keeps getting better." After hearing chatter about a possible championship trophy Miller was quick to reply stating, "we're not worried about championships ... we're worried about tomorrow. Right now it's our job to get mentally prepared for a really great 7th and James squad and that's what were going to do." You can catch the Satan Slayers in action again this next Monday night as they take the field for another double header.
** there was a misunderstanding between me and toph this last week. I listed this in the newsletter last week, but the correct date for this, is this coming Sunday the 14th. Our apologies. **
We are going to start a new tradition this semester as way to get to know more people at UBC and make friends that are friends forever. If you are new to UBC, or if you have been here a while and just want to meet some new folks, we would love for you to join us for lunch. After church this Sunday, we will have several UBC’ers (Kaley Eggers, Byron Roldan, and Teri Walter) in the coffee room who have a crew they eat lunch with after church, and they would love for you to join. If you would like to go to lunch, just make your way to the coffee room and find out where everyone is going. We will plan on doing these informal lunches a couple of times a semester. If you have any questions, please email or ask Toph (email@example.com).
Work is Worship 9-14-14
Coffee Makers: Chad & Joel
Mug Cleaners: Sara Joyave & Vince Cooley
Greeters: Paul & Linda Taft
Shut Down Team: Blue Flames
- Sermon Text: Matthew 16:19 & 18:18
- Fall Sunday School options and other opportunities found here
- Sunday, September 21st Family Breakfast in the backside of UBC at 9:30 AM
- Sunday, October 5th, Jesus Said Love with join UBC for an announcement and a Q/A lunch after church
- Friday, October 10th, Guys Night at Michael Heins' lease on the Brazos River (men of all ages including dads and little boys are welcome/encouraged to come)
- Wednesday, October 29th, UBC partners with South Waco Community Center for Halloween Festival. Those interested in volunteering should contact toph@ubcwaco
- Friday, October 31st Jesus Said Love Outreach ... more information to come
- MADE in Waco will be Saturday, November 15th more information to come!
If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
Chair: Teri Walter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jana Parker email@example.com
Kristin Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaley Eggers: email@example.com
David Wilhite: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie McGregor: email@example.com
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
Tom Haines: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Taft: email@example.com
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom McCarty: email@example.com
UBC HR Team
If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.
Lacy McNamee: Lacy_McNamee@baylor.edu
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Heins: email@example.com