ITLOTC 3-16-18


(In The Life Of The Church) 


Five Women I admire

It's women's month.  You knew that right?  So in this blog I'm going to tell you about 5 women that I admire.  

Rule: I can't be related to the people because of course I would say my wife, daughters, mom, sisters, etc.  

5. Michelle Obama: UBC is a wonderful church in many ways.  One of those ways is that it does not place job expectations on my family.  I'm acutely aware of how bad the job of pastor's spouse can be, because I saw my mom do it.  Lindsay always tells people she grew up Catholic so she doesn't have any model to work with anyway.  Ha.  There is a job that has to be worse than being the spouse of clergy though, and that is being the spouse of a politician.  I 100% agree that politicians are elected officials who should be held accountable for their decisions and even more accountable when they seem to ignore the voice of their constituents, and I think criticism comes with the job, but I often think criticism is turned to cruelty.  All that to say, I think the weight that every 1st lady carries is a remarkable thing.  There have been many good ones.  I happen to be a big Laura Bush fan as well.  That being said, because of the politics of race in this country, I think few if any, carried a load as heavy as Michelle Obama.  Never once did I see not respond without dignity and class.  She is a remarkable individual who I'm proud to point out to my children as an example of elegance and strength.  

4. Terri Gross: I love asking people hypothetical questions like, "if you could have any job in the world or you had to do another job than the one you have, what you pick?"  My answer that that question is always, "I would do Terri Gross's job."  If you don't know and didn't infer, she hosts the daily NPR talk show Fresh Air.  It is to me a show about humanity.  Her guests have no vocational, demographical, or national uniformity.  She interviews all kinds of people.  I've often noted about myself that one thing that never seems to tire within me is my curiosity.  I love discovering new ideas and people.  Terri Gross has a career of perfecting curiosity and asking intriguing questions to mine for meaning in people.  I have learned a good deal both from her guests, but also from her ability.  

3. Barbara Brown Taylor: I've read more of BBT's sermons than anyone else's.  There are few who can do so much with so little.  Sometimes when I'm writing sermons and I'm stuck I have to force myself not to read BBT.  That's right I said NOT read BBT, because as soon as I do I know that will be the end of the my creative instinct.  The problem is she's likely done it and done it better.  In that regard reading her can be deflating.  Kind of like playing PIG with Michael Jordan. I can't say something like, "BBT taught me how to preach."  1. That would be overstated, 2. My style is nothing like hers and 3. I'm not even nosebleed section of the same stadium, much less same ballpark.  But I do think BBT has taught me how to think.  I got a text today.  It asked, "who are some theologians you love."  I listed a few, but then confessed I don't read much theology anymore.  Then about a half minute later I decided I do read theology, just not the kind that academics care about.  BBT is not just a great preacher, she is a theologian and an ecclesiastical pioneer.  

2. J.K. Rowling:  Yes, this one is obvious because I'm a nerd.  You probably saw it coming as soon as you read the title of this post.  It may surprise you to know that for the first 5-6 years of Harry Potter's book and film life, I scoffed at the idea of children's book about wizards.  In the first year of our marriage when we were dirt poor and Netflix wasn't a thing, Lindsay and I rented a lot of movies form the library and went to what we called "the dollar theatre."  One semester they had a deal. If you bought there plastic cup, you could refill it as many time as you wanted.  So we'd buy two tickets and medium popcorn for $5.  We ended up going to the movies so often that sometimes we'd go without knowing what was playing and watch the movie that started the closest to the time we arrived.  Eventually Harry Potter part 3 made it's way to the dollar theatre. Desperate for a good movie, we decided to rent the first two from the library and watch the third at the dollar theater.   That was our Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights that weekend.  I remember when we walked out of the theater after the third movie.  I looked at Lindsay and said, "She is so unbelievably creative."  That was the hook.  I bought all the books and became a lifelong fan afterwards.  I think theology, our world views, are collected narratively.  No, I'm not claiming J.K. Rowling is a theologian, but I do think she teaches people about what matters.  

1. Lindsay Carney: OK, I lied, but I wanted to build the suspense.  In the good marriages I know one person usually remarks, "we love each other more now than ever."   Here's a different way to say that.  Stanley Hauerwas says that you can't possibly know what you mean when you say your vows.  I think that's right.  It's a commitment we make without knowing what's being committed.  For that reason marriage has the potential to be a marvelous adventure.  In most of my closest relationships I find that at some point I need distance.  What's remarkable to me about my wife is that I grow more fondly of her with time.  I don't need distance from her.  She is an extraordinary mother, wife, teacher, but she is also a good human.  I feel safe when I'm with her and I feel like she strengthens my belief in God because she makes God known through her presence in our home and lives.  She is strong and beautiful and she is everything that is beautiful about being a woman.   

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Parishoner of the Week

Kelly and Matthew Palmer for staffing the welcome station both weekends of spring break.  

Welcome Team

You may have noticed that we have a welcome station for first time visitors in the coffee room. We are looking for a team of people to be willing to serve in the role of welcoming new people. If you feel like you have great social skills and a passion for helping people connect to UBC, email  Time commitment is from 9:45-10:00 A.M. on Sunday mornings. 

College Spring Retreat

Are you freshman or sophomore who is looking for a great experience at an epic college retreat? Well then look no further than UBC.  Brother Toph will be leading a group of courageous champions like yourself on a two night/three day retreat on April 13/14 2K18.  You can sign up after church or email  

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Come out to our annual Easter Egg Hunt with the South Waco Community Center.  The fun will begin at 11am, and we will most certainly be finished by noon.  Please bring your own basket to place eggs in.  The Easter Egg Hunt is on March 24, at 11am.  The address for the SWCC is 2815 Speight Avenue.  If you have any questions, please email

Work is Worship

Greeters: Richardsons 

Coffee Makers:  Kailey Davis 

Mug Cleaners: Andrew & Carson 

Money Counter:  Anna Tilson


  • Sermon Text:  Taylor Post Preaching for Women's Month 
  • SWCC Easter Egg Hunt 
  • 3-25 Palm Sunday 
  • 3-29 Maundy Thursday Service 
  • 3-30 Good Friday Service 
  • 4-13&14 College Spring Retreat 
  • 4-15 Town Hall 
  • 4-22 Children's Sunday 

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- Emma Wood:

Byron Griffin:

Stan Denman:

Adam Winn:

Bridget Heins:

Sharyl Loeung:

Jon Davis:

Student Position: Samuel Moore:

Student Position: Leah Reed:

UBC Finance Team

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

JD Newman: 

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.

Rob Engblom:

Ross Van Dyke:

Jared Gould:

Rebekah Powell:

Kristen Richardson: