(In The Life Of The Church)
Keeping Your Voice
"I am the way the truth and the life." - Jesus
I'm on a summer schedule, which means that instead of taking off Thursdays, I now take off Fridays. As such, my work week comes to an end of Thursdays. In that regard you should know that both the newsletter and sermon I wrote last week were complete before Friday. Before the SCOTUS decision was finalized.
However, I'm not sure the timing would have made a difference for me. The older I get the more wisdom has taught me to temper my response with time and reflection. I owe it to all of you to be honest. UBC has feigned agnosticism on this issue. That is not because I/we do not have convictions, it is because we all have convictions that are, from my vantage point, so different. I suppose even that confession will make some of you uncomfortable (on both sides of the issue). But it is nonetheless the truth. I anticipate that not being intentional about addressing the issue is a disposition with an expiration date.
I do want to say something though, and that is to speak to what it means to exist in a community of ambivalence; either at UBC or in the wider church full of diverse believers.
I have probably clicked on more articles to read this week than I have at any other point. At one point I was taken by an interesting title without knowing who the author was. It turns out that the author was Matt Walsh. I will say some kind things about Matt first. Matt is smart and he is a good writer. He had a personal blog that was so successful he was picked up the The Blaze. I almost never agree with Matt Walsh and not even because of his content, but more because of his inflammatory language, which though I'm sure aptly depicts his position, I'm convinced is used to create drama and sustain his popularity and readership. Matt uses language that hurts people and promotes degenerate discussion. Sometimes when I read Matt I feel myself getting angry. My former self would have expressed my anger by engaging in spirited discussion and likely commenting in a way aimed to hurt back.
I now have the belief that the most effective thing I can do is not click on, or in anyway promote his writing, so I simply steer clear. But alas, I was not carefull in my curiosity and found myself reading an article he had written. Matt was responding to responses from an article he wrote in light of the SCOTUS decision.
Brief Interlude to discuss poignant discoveries
I remember the first time I watched Schindler's List. My just now google search reminded me it was released in 1993. I was 12. I wasn't usually allowed to watch "R" movies, but I was allowed to watch this. Probably because my parents weren't opposed to exposing me to truth. Good for them.
As the film started I remember being annoyed that it was in black and white. Other than subtitles that demand I read a whole movie, filming in black and white when color was clearly an option, was just about the largest cinematic mistake you could have made in my 12-year-old-film-critic mind. But I was soon taken with the method. Why? There are two scenes in the whole movie that feature color. Both scenes feature the overcoat worn by a young Jewish girl that I would describe as red (you can disagree on the color, but you should know I don't care what color it really is). In the first scene, depicted in the picture below, she is alive and walking.
The second time we see this coat, it is still on the girl, but now she's being wheeled on a cart with another dead child.
I've read up on this, but my guess is that Spielberg did this to remind us, who were watching thousands of Jews be slaughtered, that this really happened and each and everyone of these deaths was personal and infinitely tragic.
When I saw the coat the second time, I couldn't breathe. Even at the confused young age of 12, the use of color was so powerful, that I forgot I was watching a movie. It was poignant.
Back to Matt Walsh
So the article I accidentally clicked. Matt Walsh began writing about the responses that showed up on his feed. They were terrible. They lacked humanity. They were distinctively not Christian. And then after about 20 or so of these comments that used language not appropriate for a church newsletter and that called for Matt to take his own life, Matt simply wrote "#lovewins."
Hashtag "lovewins" has been the victory cry of the LGBT advocates. Matt's placement of this phrase, after a plethora of comments that were clearly showing that in this particular case, love was not winning, was poignant. I thought about all of those folks who had made those comments out of hurt, frustration and a feeling of being demeaned. I felt empathy, but Matt's critique was nonetheless biting. If you lose control of your emotions you'll often lose your voice.
Lest it seem like I am writing this from a vantage point of my high horse, let me iterate and reiterate a few things.
1. Matt Walsh consistently writes hurtful mean things.
2. I do not condone Matt Walsh's writing. I've felt strong anger and wanted to say mean things back to Matt Walsh.
3. I don't believe that those who wrote those comments represent the way that all or even most LGBT people and advocates engage conversation.
4. I'm sure if I looked long enough I could find an example where everything about this situation is reversed. An inflammatory LBGT advocate writer who wrote an article in response to the SCOTUS decision, which then received horrible comments in a thread by a mean spirited group of opposition that do not reflect the conversation style of most of its contingency.
All of that acknowledged, I will admit that Matt stopped me in my tracks. I imagine myself as David, who when confronted by the story of the prophet Nathaniel, shares in the outrage, until he realizes that he's the source of the outrage in the parable.
My dad told me it takes a lifetime to develop character and one moment to lose it. Earning the right to be heard takes so much work. Losing the right to be heard takes almost no effort at all.
I believe that the gift that UBC has always had to give is that she is a place that uniquely brings together and holds people of drastically diverse opinion. I'm probably uniquely aware of how poignantly true this is because I have the great privilege of listening to most of you. On some Sunday mornings as we worship in our confession, giving, listening, singing and laughing together I think to myself, "now here is something special. I really can sense the glory of God in the unity of His people."
I wrote all of this to tell you what I really want to tell you. If I had a list of the top five things I've learned in my eight years of ministry, very near the top would be something I learned from Eugene Peterson. That is this. Jesus truth, without the Jesus way, will never produce Jesus life.
Don't lose your right to speak. Keep your voice. Love people with your convictions, don't hurt them.
School Supplies Needed
Every year, Waco ISD partners with local organizations to fill and pass out over a 1,000 backpacks to kids in the area who need it. This is the last week we are collecting school supplies for Waco ISD students, as the box should be picked up sometime next week. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org When you bring the supplies Sunday, please place them in the box in the foyer.
A few years ago, with the blessings of LT, Craig put together a committee to pursue the idea/possibility of membership at UBC. After some great work by the committee, the LT felt there were still some questions of how this idea of membership would be implemented at UBC, and the conversation was given back to the staff to continue to guide the process. Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with members of the original committee, and we have decided to pick up the conversation again. Here are some of the reasons we are pursuing this conversation now: how do we create a greater sense of ownership at UBC; how do we foster a greater sense of accountability and discipleship; and how do we discern whose voices should be heard in matters of committee selection? If you are interested in serving on this committee, or want to recommend someone to serve, please email email@example.com . The goal of this committee will be to answer some of the questions above, and to help create a system of belonging at UBC that is true to historical tradition within the Church and true to UBC’s unique identity within this historical tradition. If you have any questions, please contact Toph. The committee will begin meeting in August.
Grillz and Chillz
The next grillz and chillz will be July 22nd, at 6pm, at the Monroe’s house. Sign-ups will be in the foyer on Sunday July 12 and 19th. UBC will provide the main dish, we ask you to bring your own drinks and side dish to share. If you have any questions, or you would like to sign-up through email, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Every summer, students who are involved in Young Life throughout the year have the opportunity to attend a week of camp during the summer, but they often need help raising the money to go. UBC has several students who are involved as leaders in West Waco Young Life and North Waco Young Life, and we have partnered with them to use our building for Club several times over the past few years. If you have any work projects HS students could do to earn money for a camp scholarship, we have some students who would love to connect with you. If you have any questions, or would like to help, please email email@example.com To learn more about Young Life’s ministry, please check out their website:
You would be hard pressed to find a better human being than Jana Parker. So you can imagine our sadness due to the fact that her time on the leadership team is coming to a conclusion. We are looking for a new leadership team member to begin serving in July. Please send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. The leadership team will select a new member at the July 6th meeting.
Here is some information from the bylaws about the leadership team:
Section 1. Leadership Team
(A) Purpose. The Leadership Team shall be the primary decision-making body of UBC. The Leadership Team will oversee all the business and property of the church, as well as make the final decisions regarding hiring and dismissal of staff and the acquisition and selling of assets that are beyond budgetary provisions.
(B) Composition. The Leadership Team shall consist of seven members of the UBC community that are not staff, finance team or human recourses and support team.
(C) Qualifications. Each member of Leadership Team shall have been a member of UBC for at least one year, exhibited an understanding and commitment to the mission and values of the church, and be willing to fulfill all responsibilities in the Leadership Team job description.
(D) Selection. When a vacancy arises on the Leadership Team the congregation shall be notified immediately at a regularly scheduled Sunday morning worship service, as well as through social media and electronic communication. At that point a call for nominations shall be made and any member of UBC will be allowed to make nominations. Not less than three weeks shall pass before the window for accepting nominations will close. All nominees shall then be vetted and selected by the current Leadership Team.
(E) Term. Members of Leadership Team may serve for a duration lasting up to three years. While they are encouraged to remain the full three years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time.
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Logan and Allyson
Mug Cleaners: Tim and Adrienne Lee
Sunday Sermon Text: Luke 10:25-36
Waco dives: We will meet at Kitoks, on Tuesday @ noon. Please email email@example.com if you have any questions.
July Grillz and Chillz will take place at the Monroe house on Wednesday July 22nd. More information to come.
Over the next few weeks after this Sunday July 5th, I (Josh) will be out of town. We will have three guest preachers. Dr. David Wilhite, Christina Gibson, and Dr. John White, July 12th, 19th, & 26th respectively. They will collectively be doing a series on speaking prophetically. Please be in prayer for them as they prepare.
Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:
254 498 2261
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jana Parker: email@example.com
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
David Wilhite: David_Wilhite@baylor.edu
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
Sharyl Loeung: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Davis: email@example.com
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
Justin Pond: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lacy Crocker: 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.
Maxcey Blaylock: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mathew Crawford: email@example.com
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: Jeff_Walter@ubcwaco.org
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu