(In The Life Of The Church)
The Conversion of?
I've been using the lectionary for 7 years now. I admit that sometimes I'm still puzzled by the texts that have been selected for certain seasons. On the other hand, sometimes those stories that have been selected make perfect sense. Take the last two weeks or the two weeks since Easter. The first gospel text was Jesus appearance to his disciples in John (doubting Thomas) and the other was his appearance to his disciples in Luke (just after Emmaus Road). I get it. In this season we are learning to identify the resurrected Jesus in our lives.
All through Easter, texts from Acts are making their way into the lectionary. I assume that's because Acts is about Christians discovering what it means to be Easter people. In two weeks the text is about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. I won't be preaching that day, but that's a text I'm enthralled with lately. A few times over this last year I've asked questions about the conversation of the imagination in my sermons. Why? Because it's critical to discipleship and growth and it's tough and scary. No one believes that what they believe right now is wrong, but if we look back at ourselves 10 years ago, almost all of us could identify amendments in our worldview. Philip and the Eunuch represent that kind of change.
I have one experience to fall back on. I came to college at Bethel in St. Paul, MN as a typical conservative (though open) Evangelical. As such I had a pretty standard view of women and ministry. I was a complementarian. If I look back on why, the answer was that I just wasn't thoughtful. By that I don't mean the complementarian position is not thoughtful, but rather I took that position by default. I hadn't really searched the scriptures and worked through the issue. My conversation of the imagination on this issue came, as it often does when there is a shift in us, through an experience.
Michelle was my boss my junior year of college. I was a resident assistant and she was a resident hall director. She was good at her job and she was an inspired and inspiring Christian. By the end of the year I discovered that I loved Jesus more and better because of how she led and taught me. I was discipled by her. That was it, I changed my mind, and soon after I found the scriptures glaring with support.
The story of Philip and the Eunuch is often referred to as the "the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch." This fall I read a book that tipped me off to something in the story I had not thought of. In her book Pastrix Nadia Bolz-Webber questions, "maybe the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch was really about the conversion-not of the eunuch, but of Philip."
I think it's easy to gloss over key moments of scripture because we are not present to everything at stake. Philip, like the rest of the disciples, had been given this precious gift: namely the good news of Jesus. Jesus never gave them instructions on exactly who this good news is for. Every time Jesus makes an inclusive statement "make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:19), there seems to be an exclusive one to consider along side of it "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt 15:24). Clearly Jesus' good news is for the whole world, but I'm not sure this was obvious to the early Christians who by the way didn't consider themselves Christians. They were simply Jews who had found Jesus. If Jesus wasn't ambiguous, the Hebrew Bible certainly was. Ezra tells the Jews to divorce their foreign wives. Jonah is commanded to preach mercy to Nineveh. Torah may be retrospectively gracious, but it is so with a robust identity of exclusion. And Eunuchs. Even Eunuchs are debated in the Hebrew Bible.
Isaiah 56:3 says,
Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
“I am just a dry tree.”
Deuteronomy 23:1 says,
No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD
So there you have it, clear as mud. Did the eunuch belong to the kingdom? Yes, but how did Philip know? When was his imagination converted?
These aren't easy questions to answer. In sharing her own analogous story Nadia concludes, "I realized in the coffee shop that I need the equivalent of the Ethiopian eunuch to show me faith. I continually need the stranger, the foreigner, the "other" to show me water in the desert." Yes we need exposure to the other and an openness to the Spirit to see the places God would take us.
May we be a people in constant conversation of the imagination.
Leadership Team Meeting Report
You may or may not remember that one of the changes we are making in effort to increase transparency is that we would include a summary of the leadership team meeting in the newsletter that follows that meeting.
Here is a summary:
David, Byron, Jana, Kristen & Byron were present. Kaley was unable to make due to extenuating circumstances. She had the agenda ahead of time and submitted her votes absentee.
Devotional: Wendell Berry and good work. 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Jeff Walter, on behalf of the HR team, gave a summary of the annual reviews.
The 2015/16 budget was approved. the budget total is $309,500. $6,000 of that is capital expenditures that have been approved but tabled until next May to make sure that we have the money.
Sharyl Loeung, Stan Denman, and Jon Davis were selected as new leadership team members.
Lacy Crocker and Justin Pond were selected as new finance team members.
Rob Engblom was selected as a new human resource team member.
The scholarship list which had been signed and approved by pastoral staff members in partnership with the BGCT, CBF and other scholarship entities was approved. (those names are listed in the minutes and available upon request).
Liz Andrasi had sent the leadership team a document with the most updated version of the pastoral associates. A few amendments were asked for. (if you have questions about or would like to see the document, please email email@example.com).
A general discussion about the future of discipleship and membership was had. Kristin Dodson is going to meet with me (Josh), Liz and Toph to talk about concerns and ideas.
Kristin Dodson was selected as the new leadership team chair.
The chair has 3 primary responsibilities. 1. if necessary work with human resources to fire the lead pastor 2. call for a vote in the absence of the lead pastor 3. craft responses to individuals and the congregation on behalf of the leadership team when needed.
A student submitted a request for ordination candidacy. That student was granted permission to begin that process.
Minutes from the meeting are available in the office of the church upon request.
As part of the process of putting pastoral associates in place at UBC, we wanted to get your feedback on how they might serve. We can't promise that we will use all of them, but we'd love to hear form you. If you have an idea for a way that the pastoral associate might serve in our community please email Liz Andrasi: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of our leadership team meeting this past Wednesday evening, Teri Walter and Kaley Eggers time serving on that team has come to a conclusion. In addition to this change, Michael Heins has completed his service on the HR team. On behalf of the community I'd like to thank them for their time and energy and for serving the church so diligently.
Senior Sunday - May 3rd
If you are graduating from HS, College, GradSchool, or PhD, we would love to recognize you during the service. This is for anyone graduating in May, August, or December 2015. We will also have a luncheon after church for graduates and staff only. If you would like to attend the lunch, please sign-up in the foyer on April 19th or April 26th, or you can email email@example.com . If you have any questions, please contact Toph.
In Family News ...
Meet our newest UBCer
Augustus "Gus" Zachary Tweedt
Birth Height: 21 1/4 inches
Birth Weight: 8 lbs. 4 oz.
Enneagram Number: 3
Liz Andrasi - Champion for the Lord and FASPE winner
Elizabeth Andrasi, a third-year Master of Divinity student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, has been selected by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to participate in a two-week program for future clergy taking place this summer in New York, Germany and Poland. You can read more here.
Do you have some family news you'd like to share with your fellow UBCers? We'd love to share. email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Graham & Kelsey
Coffee Makers: Jake & Byron
Mug Cleaners: Michael & Kayla
Shutdown Team: The Cavemen
Sunday Sermon Text: Joshua 24. Please be in prayer for our friend and champion 4 the Lord Dan Venzin who will be preaching on Sunday.
On May 8th our good friends from Lomelda will be playing their "Farewell Drewsky" show at UBC. Drewsky describes Andrew Hulett. Andrew is a long time UBCer, member of the UBC musical worship squad, Lomelda BGV's / guitar and film actor. You may remember him from films such as "Easy Tithe" and the "Toss: The Andrew Hulett Story (a mi case olympics promo)" video. Drewsky will be getting married and moving to Portland. There will be a $5 cover at the door, and advance copies of the upcoming critically acclaimed Lomelda album "Forever" are $10.
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- Kristin Dodson: email@example.com
Jana Parker: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
David Wilhite: David_Wilhite@baylor.edu
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
Sharyl Loeung: email@example.com
Jon Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: email@example.com
Lacy Crocker: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Mathew Crawford: firstname.lastname@example.org
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: Jeff_Walter@ubcwaco.org
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu