ITLOTC 10-16-15


(In The Life Of The Church) 

Ordinary Time

Top Five (movies that formed me)

Over the next few weeks the staff will use the main part of the newsletter to share lists of top fives.  The topics of these lists can range from books, to music, to thinkers.  

A few things seem worth mentioning.  This section of the newsletter is (loosely) given to thoughts that are about formation.  As such it is worth pointing out that you will consistently see material that is sometimes labeled secular and material that is considered explicitly Christian.  This is a not a bad place to remind ourselves and everyone else what we believe about truth and culture ... the sacred and the secular which can be read here.  

UBC celebrates a diversity of voices and opinions.  These are our opinions.  As with any list there will be disagreement.  Please use the comments section on Facebook and/or the comments feature on the website to provide your own feedback and lists.


These probably aren’t the five best movies of all time.  That’s why I’m not calling them that.  They are the five that have formed me the most.  That probably means something like this.  I watched them and then after they were finished I laid in my couch for an additional half hour thinking about them.  Then slowly, days later, sometimes weeks later, the meaning and suggestion in the film grew even stronger in my thought pattern, occupying a surprising amount of my thought space.  Because I am a Christian, and take in my experience with that worldview and those suppositions, the film inevitably makes for a conversation partner with the Christian tradition.  I try on new ideas.  I square those things with what Jesus taught me is true about myself and the world and something new is born in that tension.  I subsequently believe something different and if my faith is what I hope it is, behave differently because of my new conviction.

1.     The Tree of Life- Directed by Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life (hereafter TOL) has been called Malick’s magnum opus.  He spent several decades working on the film in one way or another.  Malick was studying Heidegger at Oxford when, allegedly, he suddenly quit claiming he wanted to show people phenomonlogy instead of write about.  Hence, he became a filmmaker.  I share that for two reasons.  One to establish his credibility and two to warn you of the movie’s reputation for being esoteric.  I would guess that 70% of people who see the film either quit watching it or finish and disdain it.  When people ask me about it, I don’t recommend it. 

Now I’ll say this.  I’ve thought about this statement and I mean it.  It is for me, the greatest piece of art that I’ve ever had an experience with.   I’m usually with the 70% on these sorts of things, but after I finished TOL I had a sense that I had never been so successfully explored and understood by an artist.  In a loose sense TOL is rough sketch of Job, dealing with grief, pain, loss, discovery and ultimately freedom.   A criticism might be that Malick tries to take on too many large themes in one movie, but the bottom line is he probably care what your criticism is.  He makes the movies he likes. 

2.     To End All Wars – Directed by David Cunningham

To End All Wars came out in 2001.  I didn’t hear about it … then or for another 12 years.  My friend Matthew told me about it and so I decided to watch it only because it was streaming for free on Netflix.  It stars Kiefer Sutherland and a few other people I’ve never heard of.  I was blown away.  It wasn’t until seminary that I discovered how pervasive suffering and non-violence are in the gospel.  I had read Jesus’ comments about loving your enemy and turning the other cheek, but I ignored them in favor of the God who commanded Israel to slaughter her enemies.  I want to claim that I’m a pacifist, but the truth is I don’t know if I am.  I imagine there are too many situations in which I would discover my own limitations in following Jesus’ on this command and consequently respond with violence.  But there are also a million moments in which I could respond non-violently and this movie shows me what that power looks like.  It showed me what it means to have power from below instead of power from above.  Watch it, I dare you.

3.     The Mission- Directed by Roland Joffe

This movie confronted me in much the same way To End All Wars did.  It too, asks questions about the Christian commitment to nonviolence.  But equally compelling is the theme of forgiveness.  Robert De Niro plays Rodrigo Mendoza, a slave hunter who adducts South Americans to be sent back to Spain as a slave.  Later, Mendoza finds himself in a conflict, which ends in murder.  His penance earns him a trip back to the community from which he took lives.  This time not as a slave hunter, but as an assistant to Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons). This scene remains one of the most powerful I’ve ever scene in cinematic history. 

4.     Interstellar – Directed by Christopher Nolan

I never thought I’d like a space movie after Star Wars.  With HD cameras, Hubble telescopes, and screen savers, I was convinced there wasn’t much and wonder left to be depicted.   When I first saw the trailer for Interstellar I was mildly interested.  Then I saw it was directed by Christopher Nolan and it became a must see.  One of my friends who is much smarter than I am said that he didn’t like the movie.  When he explained why I didn’t understand all the words he was using so I probably didn’t quite get it.  I think the summary was that, in the final scene in which an extra-dimensional Matthew McConaughey communicates with his daughter, the movie jumped the theological shark.  Meaning that its attempt to be trans-human was an insult in the Christian doctrine of incarnation.   Touché, but the bible doesn’t address the scope of physical universe and I like movies that play with the idea of what human interaction with that universe might look like.  For example listen to the dialogue in this clip in which a robot complains about being built too much like humans. 

            I’m not sure what the makeup of resurrected-glorified bodies is.  In all likelyhood we are probably injected with the divine.  A substance that physicist will never be able to measure in lab.  But NT Wright tells me in his 800 page green monster that our resurrected bodies will have continuity and discontinuity with the present ones.  I’ll be interested to see how that comes out. 

5.     Inside Out – Directed by Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen

I’ll be honest, I wanted to put this at number 3, but I thought that might be an overreaction.  We all know Pixar makes kids movies that appeal to adults, but I think this might be Pixar's first adult movie that also appeals to kids.  Holy smokes!  It’s embarrassing to get misty-eyed Timmy’s birthday party, but let’s be honest, we all did.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a kid with emotions and how those emotions develop.  ******spoiler alert ahead, quit reading if you don’t want to hear about the ending*****.  There are five major emotions that all humans have according to IO: joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear.  Joy runs the show.  Joy likes to have a plethora of joy feelings hanging around.  Sadness threatens to taint those memories.   Joy keeps sadness out.  Child becomes dysfunctional.  Joy discovers child needs sadness.  Memories get mixed with joy and sadness AT THE SAME TIME.   Hebrews 12:2 is exegeted.  Mic drop!

Kyle Lake Celebration Service

We will be remembering and celebrating our friend and pastor Kyle Lake on Homecoming Sunday, October 25th.  Please come and invite friends who you think might want to join us. 

UBC Kids Service

Hello Parents!  It is that time again!  The UBCKids Service will be Sunday, November 15th!  This year, we will be presenting The Beatitudes and we couldn’t be more excited!  In the classroom, we have already begun our preparation with the kids and will continue to dive deeper into God’s keys to happiness over the next few weeks!  Look for a parent letter with more detailed information and a CD of our music to be coming home soon!  If you have any questions, email Emily at

Finance Update From Tom

UBC Financial Status
as of: October 7, 2015

THE PLAN:  Our fiscal year runs from the first of July through the end of June.  This year’s budget is $309,412.  Fixed expenses (staff salaries, building and office expenses) accounts for $253,373, or 81.9% of the total, and ministry expenses (the many things our church does for our community and for those who attend) accounts for $56,039 or 18.1%.

OUR EXPENSES AND INCOME:  Between July 1st and October 7th, we have spent $83,722, or about 27% of our budget.  Those items considered fixed accounted for 87.6% of this spending.  Our income from tithes and offerings during this period totaled $86,173.  Tithe income from online methods (PayPal and EasyTithe) is consistently between 42% and 45% of the total, with the remainder coming from Sunday morning collections.

OUR STATUS:  UBC’s cash (checking account) balance is currently about $30,518, with another $86,289 in savings.  We continue to carry no debt.

As you can see, our expenses and income are very close and our cash balance covers a little less than two months of expenses.  So we rely heavily on weekly tithes and offerings.

If you’d like to be a financial partner with UBC, you can sign up for monthly giving through EasyTithe.

SWCC Halloween Extravaganza

Champions!  Toph is still looking for volunteers.  But if you are unable to volunteer you can still help.  We are in need of bags of candy to give the children of our neighborhood.  So if you are debating about whether to buy that $5 Starbucks coffee or a bag of candy, do what you want, but remember that Jesus is watching.  

Satan Slayers Recap

After the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament we look for a few teams whom we can aptly call Cinderella. Their appearance into the final sixteen is, in our best estimation, a kind of fairy tale.  That is, those teams whose story seems so improbable, so unlikely, that the odds overcome make for a feeling of euphoria.  

It is in those moments that we realize despite the efforts of scientist to calculate a win, athletic competition is a best understood in the heart of the artist.  There was Jason Mcelwain's off the bench performance that hit us directly in the feels.  There was the Texas Longhorn band's halftime tribute to the fallen students killed the bonfire collapse of '99.   There was Jonathan Montanez's inbound pass that many have found more impressive than Michael Jordan's best slam dunk.  There was Mallory Holtmann's gutsy performance in which her team lost, but everybody won.  

And then there was last Thursday evening when that sort of magic descended on River Bend Stadium to bring us a Halloween miracle.  The Satan Slayers won their last game.  

At some point in the evening, after my nails had been bitten down to nothing and I was through my third pack of big league chew I began to allow myself to believe.  Back up three and half hours.  I'm on the field doing pregame interviews looking for something positive to report, which let's all be honest, has been like trying to find a needle in the haystack this season, when as I was chatting with coach Roldan-- both of us trying to ignore the strain my reporting has put on the relationship-- in mid sentence his iPhone 3 dings.  He's got message from David Wilhite, spouse of 4 time AL MVP catcher Amber Wilhite. 

"Amber's mom is here all the way from Georgia tonight.  The last time she saw Amber play they won a state championship.  No pressure, No Diamonds.  Bob Griffin said that.  - Dr. D." 

That text was just one of many moments of premonition that signaled something was different.  It's now easy to retrospectively look at the facts and see how the stars aligned.  Dani Miller was 100%.  Her friend Allie (can't remember her last name), was picked up off waivers the week before.  Roldan threw the most complete seven innings in Slayer history (surrendering just two runs).  Brad Rettler created a black  hole in the outfield having been moved there from short stop.  Emmy Edwards lit up not just 7th spot in the batting order, but our hearts with her won't-quit-enthusiasm.  Chris Kim homered.  That Allie girl homered.  But if I had to pick an MVP it would be Wilhite. 

St. Louis Cardinal fans know that sometimes the most important defensively player is in fact not the pitcher.  It is the game's captain, catcher Yadier Molina.  If Roldan looked like Kuechel, it was because Amber called a perfect game.  The ten runs scored by the Slayers were icing on the cake, but this game was won in the first inning when Wilhite started calling for breaking balls on southpaws.  

It was first inning homer, followed by a Joy Winemann single in the second which scored two more runs and then a series of runs earned over the next few innings off of opposite feild hits and smart base running.  The game started to float by me like bubbles in my 1 year old's back yard.  I had forgotten what happens to time when your team wins.  Soon the Gatorade was soaking Roldan's shoulders, Instagram picture's were getting posted, and the postgame party had suddenly been upgraded from Smirnoff to Grey Goose.  

I for one was reminded of why I do this.  Why, back in the Christmas of '88 when I received my first pen, I began to write.  I tell stories about the game because in telling them, I find the best parts of humanity.  I'm reminded that even in the glummest of seasons, hope springs forth.   Lent brings Easter, Advent yields Christmas and the night is darkest before dawn.  




Work is Worship

Greeters: Ryan, Joel, and Marygayle

Coffee Makers:  michael & kayla 

Mug Cleaners: cooleys 


  •  Sunday Sermon Text: Matthew 14:22-33 "Favorite Stories from my Favorite Story Part 2:" 

  • Please be in prayer for our next leadership team meeting which is Sunday, October 25th.  

  • Girls Night, November 6th. 

  • Guys Night, November 13th. 

  • Thanksgiving Love Feast, November 22nd. 

  • Advent Workshop, November 29th. 


Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:

254 498 2261

Leadership Team

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- Kristin Dodson:

Joy Wineman:

Stan Denman:

David Wilhite:

Byron Roldan: 

Sharyl Loeung:

Jon Davis:

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:

Josh McCormick:

Chris Kim:

Hannah Kuhl:  

Justin Pond:

Lacy Crocker:


If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.

Maxcey Blaylock:

Mathew Crawford:

Callie Schrank:

Jeff Walter:

Rob Engblom: