(In The Life Of The Church)
Embrace Beauty. Why?
Every week we conclude our service with this benediction. "love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest."
the first and the third are pretty easy sells. every once in a while i talk to someone who is suspicious of the second. "what do you mean embrace beauty?"
The fast answer is that God created world and said it was good. Genesis 1.
But the world is fallen!!!
Yes and it is being redeemed. Let us have eyes to see what Christ is doing.
See? Get it?
What's the point? Plato said that what we experience in this world are shadows. We are the people sitting looking at the cave wall. The more real things are the forms. The forms are stuff of heaven or the eternal. This world of shadows we are living in is fleeting.
There was a group of religious folk who thought themselves Christians but espoused what is tagged heresy. They were called the gnostics. What did they believe?
a lot of things, but for the sake of this discussion:
1. that the world was created by a lesser being ... a demiurge
2. christ was the emissary of a remote divine supreme being
3. salvation came through a special knowledge (gnosis)
In summary. the world is bad. our bodies are bad. they trap our souls which are trying to escape.
One of our lectionary texts this week is 1 John 1. This is what he says, "We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life." My guess is John was dealing with some gnostics. People who didn't want to believe that Jesus' Easter body was actually a resurrected one.
I think i'm an evangelical. When I hear David Bebbington talk about them, i want to be one. But sometimes I'm flabbergasted by evangelical theology. Let me give you two examples.
In 1970, Hal Lindsey wrote a book called the Late Grate Planet Earth. In the 1990s and 2000s Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins wrote The Left Behind series. What these works of literature have in common is that they put forth a version of dispensational eschatology. Those two big words needs about 45 minutes of explanation. I'll just admit i'm being unfair my brevity and cut to the chase. I think they give you a theology that is gnostic.
It's a theology that longs for God to save our souls from this world which is going to hell in a hand basket. It promotes bad ethics, environmentalism and discipleship. Worst of all, it renders Easter needless.
Jesus rose in the body. Bodies need a world to live on. Jesus saved the whole world.
Revelation talks about a new heaven and a new earth. I'm not sure exactly what that means, and neither are theologians with PhD's. But I can tell you that we are getting resurrected bodies and those bodies will need a 4 dimensional planet to live on.
remember him? he wrote a book that made people mad.
John Piper tweeted, "farewell rob bell." One time i heard John Piper talk about his deep affection for CS Lewis. CS Lewis wrote the Great Divorce. I've the Great Divorce three times. I've read Love Wins twice. I can't tell the difference. But i digress.
Oprah-Rob Bell has made me a little bit suspicious. Sometimes he says stuff and I think he's lost crucial identity markers that making Christian faith about Christ. And then sometimes he says stuff that would preach at a fundamentalists church. For example, in his first Oprah show he talked about the reconciliation of all things. All of the sudden Colossians 1:20 shows up on the screen behind him, "and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
"though his blood, shed on the cross" it doesn't get much more John Piper than that.
Why mention Rob?
This week I was perusing Instagram. On Sunday, Rob wrote a bunch of statements about the resurrection. I'll post one for you below.
Let me translate that for you, it says, "embrace beauty." Why? because Jesus is making everything beautiful with his recreation-resurrection project.
It turns out that this is not obvious. Against my better judgement in joined a discussion about this post. Someone posted "Where is Jesus in this?" That comment was the tip of the iceberg. I replied, "that's the thing ... everywhere!!!" People were furious over this. I was flabbergasted. The early church dealt with this very thing that people are worried about and they called it heresy. The rejection of the material world is Gnosticism.
Easter is a rescue project. In Jesus God righted our relationship with Him, our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with each other and our relationship with the world around us. In Him all things are being renewed.
Why should we embrace beauty? Because it's an act of worship celebrating the truth of God's recreation project in Jesus.
CCMS Teacher Encouragement
For the next two weeks (April 12th and 19th), you will have the opportunity to take a card to encourage the faculty/staff at Caesar Chavez Middle School. The students are in the middle of the STARS testing season, which can be stressful on teachers as well. Please take a moment to write an encouraging note to a faculty/staff member at CCMS. We would also encourage you to put a $5 gift card to Starbucks or another location in the envelope. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Cards need to be turned in by Monday, April 20th.
Leadership Team Meeting (4-6-15) Notes
Concerning Pastoral Associates:
Leadership team approved moving forward with this idea but asked that these two concerns be addressed:
1. A full time staff member will provide oversight and still be accountable for the areas that the PA is working on.
2. A job description that can be tailored to the needs of the church/desires of the PA each year be created. In addition, the PA would go through a formal mid-year review. This is to help shape expectations and protect both parties.
Concerning Voting on Leadership Team Members:
The following note was crafted by leadership team for the newsletter.
Concerning Voting for New Leadership Team Members:
The following was composed by the leadership team for this newsletter:
The 4/6/15 leadership team was dedicated to discussing the implementation of a voting process for selecting future LT members. Before the meeting, many UBC’ers shared their thoughts and ideas with current LT members, and we are very grateful for that feedback. Our responsibility and goal is to represent the congregation as a whole, so we want to hear your thoughts, ideas and opinions- and we take them very seriously. In an effort to improve our communication we started publishing our agenda, hosting town halls before leadership team meetings, emailing a summary of our decisions as well continuing to make meeting minutes accessible to anyone who wants to view them at the office. In the weeks before our meeting we heard a lot of different ideas about this particular issue, but the majority of the feedback we received supported a voting system only after the implementation of a complete membership policy for UBC. Please know that we want to address concerns while making changes thoughtfully and carefully, honoring UBC’s traditions and beliefs throughout the processes. As a first step, we are asking the membership committee to continue the task of designing a membership policy.
If you have any questions or concerns about our discussion or decision, please do not hesitate to ask any of us. We want to be transparent throughout all of our decisions and discussions, and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Joel & Ryan
Coffee Makers: Chad & Joel
Mug Cleaners: Sarah & Vince
Shutdown Team: The Blue Flames
Sunday Sermon Text: John 20:19-31
Marriage Seminar: Our good friends over at DaySpring Baptist Church are hosting a free marriage seminar on April 19th from 3:00-6:00 P.M. Childcare will be provided. The seminar will be run by Dr. Don Arterburn.
Lovefeast Picnic - April 19th: Bring your favorite picnic food to share with the community. We will head to Ms. Nellie’s Pretty Place after church to enjoy good food, good company, and hopefully good weather!
Senior Sunday - May 3rd: If you are graduating from HS, College, GradSchool, or PhD, we would love to recognize you during the service. 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.
Study Hall - May 4th and 5th
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: 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
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: email@example.com
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Mathew Crawford: firstname.lastname@example.org
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Michael Heins: email@example.com
Jeff Walter: Jeff_Walter@ubcwaco.org