(In The Life Of The Church)
Over the next six weeks of lent, the main article of the newsletter will be a lenten reflection written by someone from our community. This week I'm honored to have John White write for us. John is the Harold and Dottie Riley Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and director of the sports chaplaincy program at Truett.
Over the last couple of weeks the news junkies and pundits have excessively watched and debated the whys, whats and hows concerning the tragic fall of NBC’s Brian Williams. David Brooks, NY Times Op-Ed columnist, comments, in his imperturbable manner, that it is certainly sad whenever we go to such lengths to secure others’ admiration, which in Williams’s case it appears that (on a few important occasions) he did not let the truth get in the way of telling his stories. And, yet, Brooks also puts us uncomfortably in the dock when he points the finger at how barbaric our response can be to scandal. He writes, “When somebody violates a public trust, we try to purge and ostracize him. A sort of coliseum culture takes over, leaving no place for mercy.” I believe his final point about mercy steps into Lenten territory, in that, our journey during this season of our Christian calendar reminds us that God’s good news calls us to change our perspective and posture on how we respond to our and others’ failures.
One particular enemy that Lent can have us examine and turn from is the temptation to allow our coliseum culture to referee our exercise of mercy. This culture’s haughty spirit relishes the power that comes with standing in judgment to declare which public performances verifiably meet its bar of approval. If thumbs are up, your spectacle is praiseworthy, but if down, blameworthy. This is exponentially true when people fail morally and spiritually; this is David Brooks’s point.
From the first week of Lent readings, Psalm 25:4-5 prayerfully orients whether our Lenten focus will faithfully keep in step with God’s way or not. The psalmist humbly petitions God for direction: “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.” God’s will and ours confront us at every turn, especially in our coliseum culture. When our will is done, we enter into the vicious cycle of death, withholding the life-giving teaching of the God of our salvation. This bent of the will sees failure first and foremost and seeks to make people pay for their wrongdoings. How do you respond to failure? When we trust and wait on God’s instruction, however, we un-learn those life-denying strategies that can easily separate us from one another, bringing kindness rather than smugness and self-righteousness. Kyrie, Eleison (Lord, have mercy).
The psalmist continues with a direct appeal to God’s character (vv.6-7), his mercy and steadfast love, as the basis for what he wants his God of salvation to remember or be mindful of when attending to him. With the psalmist as our voice, we confess to a past strewn with sins, and thus, we recite and embrace Kyrie, Eleison (Lord, have mercy).
The Genesis 9:8-17 reading adds a little twist to God’s mercy, for it not only portrays God’s promise after the flood as him graciously and freely entering into a relationship with all humankind, but it also shows God extending this covenant to include every living creature. The wideness of God’s mercy gives us pause to marvel how mercy triumphs over judgment. This reminds us that God makes the first move in light of our sinful predicament. This is the God we observe in Jesus, for his salvation rescues us, and it was this good news he came preaching (Mk. 1:15), calling us to repent from our ways, the coliseum’s way, of evaluating others’ successes and failures as the true measure of who we are.
My father is a recovering alcoholic. He regularly tells me how AA’s protocol at their meetings is for members to introduce themselves before talking by saying, “I am John. I am an alcoholic.” My dad has boldly leaned into confessing this reality along with his life reflecting compassion toward others’ past sins and brokenness. His example in AA echoes these Lenten readings’ underlying assumption that we are all sinners. Furthermore, when we appropriate God in Christ’s grace and mercy, it follows that we should show mercy and forgiveness toward others. I am thankful for my dad’s life, because he sacramentally witnesses to God’s way of mercy.
David Brooks describes this aspect of forgiving others as pre-emptive mercy. He explains, “In this view, the forgiving person makes the first move, even before the offender has asked. She resists the natural urge for vengeance. Instead, she creates a welcoming context in which the offender can confess.” This kind of mercy is gospel logic, since it initiates (because God in Christ first moved) by hospitably opening space for others to learn and trust in God’s way over against the coliseum’s way.
Although I do not completely understand how justice and mercy meet, I do trust that Easter satisfies and sums it up. UBC, as we make our Lenten trek together, let us receive one another on Sundays with God’s “yes” of mercy, so that we are prepared to turn from and resist the coliseum’s temptation to say “no.” Now that’s a true thumbs up! Kyrie, Eleison.
Lenten Services ... No Wednesday Communion
Over the next few weeks of Lent, UBC is partnering with some local Waco churches to participate in a series of ecumenical Lenten services. These services will be on Wednesday over the noon hour. As such we will not be having communion services at UBC over the Wednesday lunch hour during this time. Please note that we will not have a service or a communion service at UBC on the week of spring break. The schedule is listed below.
Lost & Found Items:
Our lost and found is overflowing with items. Please take a look at this and reclaim what is yours.
- Small, white toy cat that moves it's legs
- Tiara w/ pink gems
- Brown & Blue scarf
- Navy Blue umbrella
- Blue jacket
- Celtics beanie
- Female, grey mossimo short sleeve shrug
- Furry brown neck warmer
- Toddler play phone
- Women's short sleeve, blue shrug
- Size 6, white, abercrombie & fitch shorts
- Pink hairbrush
- Black Sparkly headband
- Orange/White striped tank top
- Gold Mardi Gra beads
- Laura Geller Lip Gloss
- Brown Hair Claw
- Green pacifier with clip
- Nissan Car Key Fab
- X Sports Sunglasses
- Micro USB chord
- Curling Iron
- NASB Brown Bible with cross on front
- Reusable Baylor Bag
- Kids Red Jacket - size 18-24 month
- Tan Message Bible
- NRSV Black Bible with Apocrypha
- Size 3-6 month baby black hoodie with skeleton outline
Trying to figure out how to get more involved at UBC? Consider joining the clean team! It is a once a month commitment to clean a specific area of the church. Just sign up with your name and email on the Work is Worship Board outside of Josh's office and Michelle will contact you to explain the details!
BU Basketball Faith & Family Night
Interested in going to the last home basketball game this season? On March 6th it's Faith & Family Night and tickets are $10/piece if we get 20 or more people to go and rep UBC at the Ferrell Center! If your Mi Casa/Small Group, group of friends, etc. are interested please contact Michelle@ubcwaco.org to let her know. Please send an email by February 28th so that we can see if enough interest has been generated in order to get the $10 tickets. Michelle will let you know if enough people expressed interest by 2/28 so that you can make plans!
Sunday School Update
1. The "Life Together" class will be meeting this Sunday at Rudy's BBQ for breakfast at 9:30. 2. This Sunday will also kick off a Lenten Sunday School class taught by Craig.
UBC is looking for a new finance team member. If you would like to nominate someone for the finance team you can do so by emailing the name of that nominee to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is some information about the role from the bylaws:
(A) Purpose. The Finance Team shall exist for the following purposes:
a. To serve as the primary advisory group for the Leadership Team in all budgetary and financial aspects of the church.
b. To oversee, in coordination with the ministerial staff, yearly budgetary processes, working to create a financial ministry plan in alignment with the ethos, mission and values of UBC.
c. To advise the staff and Leadership Team on any emergency financial matters that may arise with regards to the physical infrastructure of the church building, as well as those matters pertaining to compensation and benefits of personnel.
d. To assess the current financial status of the church on a monthly basis and advise the staff and Leadership Team on matters concerning changes in planned ministry expenses.
e. To advise the Human Resources/Staff Support team on all financial matters regarding new and existing personnel, including available resources concerning salaries, salary increases, insurance, taxes, etc.
f. To advise the church body on all matters relating to stewardship, financial integrity, etc.
(A) Qualifications. Finance Team members shall have been an active participant in the life of UBC for at least a year, have received at least a bachelors degree level of education (or roughly an equivalent amount of experience in business or finance,) and have at least a basic understanding of financial reports and budgets.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Graham & Joy
Coffee Makers: Allyson & Logan
Mug Cleaners: Team Kuhl
Shutdown Team: The Cavemen
Sunday Sermon Text: Psalm 25:1-10. Please be in prayer for our guest preacher Sharyl who will be preaching this Sunday as we celebrate Martha Stearns Marshall Women in Ministry month.
Our next town hall is March 22nd after church.
Q is coming to Waco, check out this video.
Emerging Parents, Wednesday March 4th @ 5:30. Email email@example.com for more information.
UBC families at the Soccer Field, Sunday March 29th @ 12:00 PM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:
254 366 9779
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: email@example.com
Jana Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Dodson: email@example.com
Kaley Eggers: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Wilhite: 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
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: email@example.com
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.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.
Maxcey Blaylock: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mathew Crawford: email@example.com
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Heins: email@example.com