(In The Life Of The Church)
"A Word on Lament"
Sometimes I struggle in deciding what to acknowledge in the world around us. Be that the world within Waco or across the globe. The events of the last 24 hours seem inescapable. As you may know, we spent the Lenten season addressing sexual violence in worship. Jamie led that charge, but he was inspired and helped by the words of our friends, some of them within our community and some of them from beyond. Sharyl Loeung was one of the instrumental voices in crafting that moment and she's also a member of the leadership team. So I thought it best if I scraped what I wrote for the newsletter on Monday and asked her to write something instead. She graciously agreed to this on such a short notice.
I find myself a bit lost today. I believe it is safe to assume I’m not the only one in our community that feels the same. It has been quite a week for our little Wacotown. Here we are again, entrenched in scandal.
For many of us, employment at Baylor, association to Baylor by alumni status, as parent’s of Baylor students, as Baylor fans, this entire situation has brought about conflicting emotions. Some have taken to social media to vent our concerns, others have only been able to process in hushed tones and via text messages.
Personally, I find myself stuck somewhere between the protocol of an employee and bound as a minister who has already been vocal about the need to address rape culture in our midst. Yet in part, I wonder if my church experience has denied me of a language for days like yesterday.
If you grew up in a church like mine or even no church at all, you probably didn't hear much about lament. Churches in the U.S. prefer a model of celebration and praise. We live in a privileged society that rarely feels the need to lament, but without lament our theology is incomplete. Lament challenges our celebratory assumptions with the reality of suffering. Walter Brueggemann defines lament as the language of suffering. Lament is a cry for justice against oppressing injustice. It's an emphasis on telling the whole story, pretty or not. Any attempt to diffuse or minimize the emotional response of lament only adds to the suffering. Lament must run its course. The appropriate response to lament is to be present while expressing lament alongside the sufferer rather than trying to explain it away. We must practice holding a space for lament.
It’s in practicing lament I’ve come to realize, somewhere along the way, I had learned to ask, “how does this situation affect me?” with my reaction directly related to the latter question. There was little concern for community. Certainly little concern for someone’s who’s needs directly conflicted with my own. The communal practice of lament leads to corporate confession of corporate sin (something Jamie challenged us with during the Lenten season). Bell Hooks might describe this simply as identifying our place in the social order of things and what actions we might take to make things right.
As I think about how overwhelming the task before us is, I am encouraged that I am not alone. I am not called to every corner of the university, the city, the church to make things right. I am limited in my giftings, but there are so many of you with different gifting, called by the Spirit to hold your space and enact change. There will be hard work ahead, but too many have suffered horror at the expense of a blind eye here, a dismissive tone there, and outright denial of truth all around. We have much to lament, much to repent, and much to do. May the church be the light in the darkness. May we come together for the Kingdom in the same way we have come together for championship games.
Bruggemann, Walter. Peace. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2001.
Rah, Soong-Chan. Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2015.
Rohr, Richard. A Lever and a Place to Stand: The Contemplative Stance, the Active Prayer. Mahwah, NJ: HiddenSpring, 2011.
http://www.unsilent.org/ (Locally based. Caution: Content may require trigger warnings)
Meet Our Newest Pastoral Associate
This June marks the conclusion of our time with our first year of pastoral associates. We couldn't have been more thrilled with the work Liz Andrasi and Luke Stehr did for us. As we get ready to say goodbye to them we welcome two new pastoral associates. We'd like to introduce them to you this week and next week.
Name: Marshall Cook
Reason you are in Waco: G.W. Truett Theological Seminary & Deep, abiding personal affection.
Best restaurant in Waco: Taqueria El Crucero
Scripture that means something to you: The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. The KJV really nails that one even with beta spelling of "fullness" .
TV Show?: Scrubs; Hon. Mention: New Girl
Book?: Brother to a Dragonfly by Will D. Campbell
Summer Fun Activities
If you are in the process of filling up the summer fun calendar, let me interest you in a pair of opportunities. Our summer Sunday School Class, the Breakfast Club, will begin meeting at 9:30 A.M. in the backside, starting June 5th. This will be a breakfast potluck, hang out time, concluded by a small liturgy. Still haven't had enough UBC fun? Join us for Tuesday MD Chain lunches. As you may or may not remember, Toph has led a group to Tuesday dive lunches over the past few summers. As you also may or may not know, Toph is gone on sabbatical, which means I will take over lunches. And here is the great news. Instead of local dives we will are going to chains that serve Mountain Dew. It's going to be riveting. So mark your calendars and come with an appetite.
UBC Root Class Camp-In
We are SO excited to welcome the newest members of the UBCKids Root Class! To celebrate this big step, we would like to invite all incoming 1st graders and current Root Class members to our 4th Annual Root Class Camp-In! There will be food, games, camp-crafts and tons of fun in the "Great Indoors" of UBC! We hope your kiddo can join us! Contact Emily if you have questions or would like to help out!
Work is Worship
Greeters: Rick and Jeff
Coffee Makers: Chad
Mug Cleaners: Team Wood
Money Counter: Hannah Kuhl
- Sunday Sermon Text: Luke 7:1-10, "impressing Jesus"
- Please continue to be in prayer for our Thailand team, which travels home soon.
Do you have an emergency and need to talk to a pastor?
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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.
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UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
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Anna Tilson: Anna_Tilson@jrbt.com
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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.
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