(In The Life Of The Church)
The Olympics, of course!
I had a season of faith when I believed the thing God wanted most was for souls to be saved. I had a season of faith when I believed that the thing God wanted most was social justice. I had a season of faith when I believed the thing God wanted most was the Kingdom to come. I’ve had enough seasons now to learn that God wants all those things and more. At some point, though, I began to notice (among other things) how badly God wanted us all to get along.
That same Paul who was used to systemize theologies of salvation, creation, restoration, and all other “tions” had an awful lot to say about reconciliation. Paul wants the church to get along. The epistles that I grew up reading in search of verses that made sense of my notions of how to get saved were couched in larger letters about answering the question, “What are we saved for?” It turns out that we are saved, in part, for each other. To be the body. Romans 1-8 with all of its brilliance sets up 12-16, which is about the church getting along. Ephesians 2 addresses Jew/Gentile strife. Galatians talks about Jesus who overcomes the us/them problem.
The more I began to pay attention to this theme of reconciliation, the more relevant Paul’s letters seemed to our contemporary situation. As has been made poignantly clear by the racial sin that has bubbled up these last few years, we still need to hear about loving the other. For some reason, one of the scariest things to a human being is another human being who is not like them. Perhaps it’s instinctual, or perhaps we’ve been conditioned by our cultures to be this way, but either way, we have a problem that we need help with.
I’ve been heavily influenced by theologian Stanley Hauerwas. Hauerwas puts an inordinate amount of importance on the church. He says that the job of the church is the tell the world what it is. Maybe there’s a less preachy/dogmatic way to put that. Bill Hybels says that the local church is the hope of the world. There’s something about that sentiment that rings true for me.
That being said, sometimes I think the world can be a mirror to the church. Not always, perhaps even rarely, but sometimes.
I have no doubt that I have a naive perception of the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics. Setting up for the Olympics. Poor cities incurring debt to provide the needed infrastructure for the Olympics. Deciding which athletes will compete in the Olympics. Surely there’s an ugly underside to this, just like there is with other major institution. Still, I can’t help but be taken in with the some of the images coming out of Rio.
In Revelation 7, we are given an image of a worship scene. People are dressed in white robes. The text includes lyrics. It’s an image of how things are going to be. In the middle of it, we are reminded that God will finish the work of reversing Babel that was started at Pentecost. Verse nine reports, “There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” When I watch the Olympics, I see glimpses of this.
I’d like to tell you about two of them.
In Hebrews 11, God’s people are described as strangers in a strange land. Homeless. Resident aliens. It’s an identity marked with meaning. We are those who belong to something more than what can marked with boundaries and GPS coordinates. So there’s this moment in the parade of nations where Team Refugee comes out, and they get a standing ovation from the world. Something about that was just right. Here as a symbol of what is to come, the world applauded the courage of the destitute. It’s a foreshadow of the truth of the great reversal. The least will be the greatest, and the kingdom will cheer humility, selflessness, and sacrifice.
The other powerful image for me was that of a female beach volleyball player from Egypt. She played in long sleeves, leggings and a hijab. For reasons that are obvious, the Olympics have strict rules for uniforms. But concessions were made for the sake of inclusion. And in a world full of strife and violence based on difference, here in the middle of sport was a demonstration of mutual acceptance and respect between cultures and religious suppositions. This kind of anthropological patience is striking, and it is a symbol of the grace to come.
So it’s rare, but I find myself confessing, “Go team world.”
New HR and Leadership Team Members
The leadership team met this last Sunday night and at that meeting they selected a new member for their squad and also someone to serve on the HR team. I'm excited to tell you that our new leadership team person is Emma Wood and that Jerad Gould has been selected to serve on HR. This week and next week I'd like to introduce them to you.
Name: Jared Gould. Family: Wife Kelly and two rescued German Shepherds (Gordon and Lady)
What brings you to Waco:
I moved here in 2009 to live closer to my friend's Hermann & Kristi Pereira and to work with Dr. Nancy Grayson at Rapoport Academy Public Schools. Where I worked for five years and was the a teacher, coach, Dean of Students/Campus Administrator for the high school in the early days. I stuck around for some reason (the plan was always to move back to Colorado Springs after a few years and teach in a mountain town or go back to school to become a counselor), stayed sane by running in Cameron Park (closest thing to Pike's Peak I could find) and eventually met my wife. I now work for the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor.
Movie and/or TV Show:
Movies: I only own a few, but lately it's a toss up between Back to the Future and Lonesome Dove.
TV: I don't like TV other than sports. Recently though, I really wanted to take a trip to Valles Caldera in New Mexico and had to cancel last minute due to work. So I settled for binge watching Longmire (filmed in part in the National Preserve) on Netflix the past two weeks. See photo:
Best Restaurant in Waco:
Favorite book/chapter/verse of the Bible:
BOOK: Recently completed Eugene Peterson's book, Run with Horses - I have a new appreciation and better understanding of Jeremiah which makes it what I am reflecting on most lately.
-Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. - James 1:12
-I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Phillipians 1:3-6
Something we might now know about you: I never thought I would do two things in life: 1) work in ministry proper 2)attend seminary. Prior to moving to Waco, I lived in Colorado Springs working for a spin-off of Young Life at a place called The Dale House Project, where I lived with homeless, transient, displaced and/or incarcerated youth prior to parole. The goal was to help them learn to live on their own prior to emancipation. As a part of the job, I also attended Fuller Seminary - Colorado.
Discernment Team Update
As you may or may not remember we formed a discernment team in June to help us figure out possible solutions to the space problems created by the growing number of children in the children's ministry. One step in that solution process is to create a survey to help us figure out what people know and think about the ministry. The survey is open to everyone and we want everyone's feedback, but we are especially hoping that volunteers and parents will fill it out. You can start the survey by clicking here.
Uniforms for CC Middle School
It's been our commitment over nearly the last decade to find ways to support and love the folks that fill this campus from August to May. The care we show these young neighbors is a reflection of our community's belief in the importance that all lives be lived "to the fullest."
To that end:
1) If you have some fashion sense, a child whose school clothes you'll be shopping for anyway, or a heart for youth, you can consider participating in our ongoing uniform drive.
2) If you want to spend an hour a week building a relationship with a student who would benefit from a kind and wise voice in their life, please consider being a mentor to a Cesar Chavez MS student in the coming year.
If you'd like more info about either of these opportunities to serve our young neighbors, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Team Blaylock
Coffee Makers: Fountains
Mug Cleaners: McNamees
Money Counter: Doug McNamee
- Sunday Sermon:
- UBC will be helping with student move in on campus the week of August 17th and 18th. If you'd like to help our team email Toph@ubcwaco.org
- Kindergarten Commission August 28th. If you have a child going into Kindergarten and would like to be part of our commissioning service, please email email@example.com
- We are gearing up for another school year which means we will resume our work with Ceasar Chavez middle school. If you would like to mentor a student or serve the middle school in another capacity email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have an emergency and need to talk to a pastor?
254 413 2611
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- Jon Davis: email@example.com
Joy Wineman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
David Wilhite: David_Wilhite@baylor.edu
Bridget Heins: email@example.com
Sharyl Loeung: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Wood: Emma Wood <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.
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Tilson: Anna_Tilson@jrbt.com
Doug McNamee: 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
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu
Ross Van Dyke: Ross_Vandyke@baylor.edu
Jared Gould: firstname.lastname@example.org