ITLOTC 7-1-16


(In The Life Of The Church) 


Who's Included?

Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman's wife.  2 Kings 5:2

This is a verse from a story about Naaman.  Naaman is the commander of the armies of Aram.  Naaman has leprosy.  His Israeli wife tells him about Elisha.  Drama ensues in which Namaan communicates with Elisha.  Eventually, Naaman finds Elisha and is healed.  

I wonder what the author had in mind while writing this story?  Is this about establishing Elisha's credibility?  One thought I've had is that it's about inclusion.  In this story, we have another example of God's chosen, in this case Elisha, extending grace to an outsider, Naaman.  This theme is found throughout the scriptures.  Rahab the prostitute welcomes the Hebrew spies and is consequently included in the people of God.  After Nehemiah and Ezra institute reforms of exclusion returning from exile like "divorce your foreign wives," someone jotted down the story of Jonah to serve as a counter-narrative.  God would give grace, even to the rascals in Nineveh.  Or the lectionary reading from July 10th, which is what we call "the good Samaritan."  The Bible does this all the time.  It takes the person the audience likes the least and makes him or her the hero.  

This time, when I read this story from 2nd Kings, I couldn't get very far past vv. 2.  A young girl was taken captive in a violent raid and made to be Naaman's wife.  I'm sure that when this story was written there was no cultural force at work to cause someone to care about this woman's agency.  But now, hopefully, we've become a people who can at least pause and cringe at what used to be normal.  

I wonder how old she was when she was taken?  Granted, it was common for young teenage girls to marry, but I'm not sure the terror of being forcefully ripped away from your family is made easier by that fact.  

I'm pretty sure the narratival function of the girl in the story is to give Naaman a link to Israel and, ultimately, to Elisha.  Somehow, that thought makes this worse for me.  She volunteers the information that Elisha might be able to help Naaman.  It was given freely. I think that does a little to help give her a sense of agency in the story, but, still, it's a detail that I can't get past.  She's an afterthought and not critical for the outcome.  After she makes the connection, she's done.  We might be tempted to think that her whole purpose in life was to be Naaman's wife so that she could point him to his healing.  

But then I had a thought: What if everything I've wondered about the young woman taken captive is true and the point of the story is still to show that God showed grace to Naaman?  There are other stories in the Bible where grace is given to the marginalized woman.  Hagar comes to mind as does Jesus's conversation with the woman at the well in John 4.  So as a whole, I can't conclude that this was just not a possible thought at the time.

I think what I'm avoiding is the piercing suggestion that God's grace might even extend to the kidnapper.  

Over a year ago, I read Nadia Bolz-Webber's book Pastrix.  She's a former comedian turned Lutheran Pastor who has started an untraditional church.  Her church is filled with LGBTQ folks.  What's interesting about her church, then, is who the potential outsider is.  Denver, where her church is located, had a city-wide celebration for Easter.  She preached there and shortly thereafter was featured in the Denver Post.  Soon after that, new people started coming to her church.  She describes these new people, these outsiders,  as soccer moms and a few other caricatures that I no longer recall.  What I learned from this part of the book and in the story of Naaman is that who we consider an outsider is different for all of us.  

There's this great quote of which the original attribution is unknown.  Someone said, "The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."  This reminds me of a Bible verse from 2 Corinthians.  In chapter three, Paul talks about moving from glory to glory.  This pattern of comfort and affliction is the engine of that glory moment.  Learning to grow comfortable with the outsider until they become the insider and then finding another outsider is what the gospel does in our life.  

The characters ripe for inclusion get more offensive the longer you stick around.  The gospel gets more offensive. 

Looking for a New L-Team Member

The time has come for the amazing Kristin Dodson to rotate off the leadership team.  We are grateful for the time energy and careful thought that Kristin has given our community.  If you would like to serve on the Leadership Team please discern by reading the following and sending an email to to let him know you are interested.  The new leadership team rep will be selected by leadership team at our August 7th meeting.  

(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. 

(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.

(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.

Looking for a New HR Team Member

The fearless Callie Schrank has served us well, but now her time is up.  We are grateful for Callie and her help in launching and refining the review process.  If you would like to serve on the HR Team please discern by reading the following and sending an email to to let him know you are interested.  The new HR rep will be selected by leadership team at our August 7th meeting.  

(A) Purpose.  The Human Resources/Staff Support Team shall exist for the following purposes:

a.     To establish procedures for the hiring of ministerial and non-ministerial staff, and to enact those procedures when advised by Leadership Team to do so.

b.    To advise Leadership and Finance teams on issues regarding long-term staff needs.

c.     To create and implement staff review procedures.

d.    To advise Leadership and Finance teams on matters regarding staff compensation, benefits, grievances and termination.

e.    To be a liaison between the congregation and staff during times of conflict after all attempts at personal, one-on-one resolution has been made. 

(C) Qualifications.  HR/Staff Support Team members shall have been an active participant in the life of UBC for no less than one year, have received a bachelor’s degree (or roughly an equivalent amount of experience in personnel management, ministry, or other related field,) and have a demonstrable understanding of organizational management. 

(E) Term. HR/Staff Support Team members shall serve for a duration lasting up to five years.  All efforts shall be made by the HR/Staff Support Team to ensure that no more than two members in a given year rotate off of the team due to duration requirements. While they are encouraged to remain the full five years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time.

Town Hall Agenda

Friends this Sunday after church, July 3rd we will have a town hall meeting in the sanctuary.  We have town halls quarterly so that we can communicate what will be on the working agenda for the leadership team meeting that corresponds.  Our meeting will begin 10 minutes after the conclusion of the church service.  

Here are the items that will be covered: 

Finance Update: I'll give you the May numbers for the financial status of the church.  

Youth Group Update:  I will explain what the committee has decided and what will be proposed to leadership in our August Meeting 

Scholarship Verification:  We will verify all the scholarships that were signed in this quarter so that they are in our minutes. 

Oar Team Update: Toph gave me an OAR update for the August meeting before he left for sabbatical. 

Discernment Team Update: I will give leadership team a real time update on the discernment team.  For information on what our first meeting was about, please see the previous weeks newsletter.  

Survey Help (Last Time)

Champions this is your last opportunity to help our friend Katie Lauve Moon.  If you don't help her, your favorite sports team will never win another game and the person you want to win the election won't win.  "So no pressure ... no diamonds" - (Bob Griffin 3).  Original message below. 

Friends, one of UBC's former employees and fearless warrior champions, Katie Lauve Moon (pictured below), is doing PhD work at Tulane.  As part of her research she is asking that people from our community take this survey.  I will include this survey 3 times over the next 6 weeks.  So if you are annoyed, you can help make it disappear by participating now.


Random Cool Picture to be used as thumbnail to generate more Traffic


A Place in Norway that looks like the Shire. 

Work is Worship

Greeters: Evie & the Walters 

Coffee Makers: Chad 

Mug Cleaners: Nelsons 

Money Counter: Doug McNamee 


  • Sunday Sermon Text: Luke 10:1-11
  • MD Chains Location: Panera Bread 
  • Next Leadership Team Meeting: August 7th 

Do you have an emergency and need to talk to a pastor? 

254 413 2611

Leadership Team

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:

Joy Wineman:

Stan Denman:

David Wilhite:

Bridget Heins:

Sharyl Loeung:

Jon Davis:

UBC Finance Team

Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.

Josh McCormick:

Hannah Kuhl:  

Justin Pond:

Anna Tilson:

Doug McNamee:


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:

Mathew Crawford:

Rob Engblom:

Ross Van Dyke: