ITLOTC 7-13-18


(In The Life Of The Church) 


Attention Collection (by jamie)

David Dark recently introduced me to the phrase “attention collection.”  In essence, this phrase is self-descriptive: it refers to the body of ideas, media, etc., that have left a meaningful mark on oneself over the years.  We intuitively dip into and share from our attention collection every time we excitedly tell a friend about something we’ve read or seen, and in sharing this, we share something of ourselves.  

So I want to share a few recent additions to my attention collection: 

1. Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious by David Dark

I started my year by finally turning my attention toward David Dark.  I’ve known about his popular The Sacredness of Questioning Everything for many years, but never actually picked it up.  I decided to start my reading year with that, and it was great.  A few months later, Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious released, and I devoured it pretty quickly.  It feels cheap to summarize, as it was a joy to read, but I will say that it articulates and expounds upon much of what ubc claims to believe about the relationship between faith and culture, and you should read it.  We do, however, live in a time where publishers make trailers for books (what a time to be alive), and I think this one is decent:

2. May It Last (the Avett Brothers Documentary)


When this documentary released in theaters, Byron Griffin (who plays guitar at ubc) asked the ubc band if we wanted to go see it with him, and no one responded to his text.  We were foolish.  When I eventually sat down to watch it, I found that this documentary is excellent. Months later, I still I think about the scene where they are recording “No Hard Feelings” at least twice a week.  I think you need to watch the whole documentary to feel the strength of this moment (and especially the scene directly after), but it’s worth watching this clip anyway:

3. God of the Oppressed by James Cone


This book was challenging to read for so many reasons, not the least of which is its revealing of a host of blind spots in my own theological upbringing.  Cone’s vantage point is one to which I have literally no experiential access, and encountering his witness has reframed/is reframing my theological word. There's no one excerpt that I think captures the most important parts of this work (there are too many), but I return to this one often:

There is no place we can stand that will remove us from the limitations of history and thus enable us to tell the whole truth without the risk of ideological distortion.  As long as we live and have our being in time and space, absolute truth is impossible.  But this concession is not an affirmation of unrestricted relativity.  We can and must say something about the world that is not reducible to our own subjectivity.  That trans-subjective “something” is expressed in story, indeed is embodied in story.

Story is the history of individuals coming together in the struggle to shape life according to commonly held values.  The Jewish story is found in the Hebrew Bible and the Rabbinic traditions.  The early Christian story is told in the Old and New Testaments, with the emphasis on the latter as the fulfillment of the former.  The white American story is found in the history of European settlements struggling against dark forests and savage people to found a new nation.  The Black American story is recorded in the songs, tales, and narratives of African slaves and their descendants, as they attempted to survive with dignity in a land inimical to their existence.  Every people has a story to tell, something to say to themselves, their children, and to the world about how they think and live, as they determine and affirm their reason for being.  The story both expresses and participates in the miracle of moving from nothing to something, from nonbeing to being.

When people ask me, “How do you know that what you say is true?” my reply is: “Ultimately, I don’t know and neither does anybody else.”  We are creatures of history, not divine beings.  I cannot claim infinite knowledge.  What I can do is to bear witness to my story, to tell it and live it, as the story grips my life and pulls me out of nothingness into being.  However, I am not imprisoned within my story.  Indeed, when I understand truth as story, I am more likely to be open to other people’s truth stories.  As I listen to other stories, I am invited to move out of the subjectivity of my own story into another realm of thinking and acting.  The same is true for others when I tell my story.

It is only when stories are abstracted from a concrete situation and codified into Law or dogma that their life-blood is taken away and thus a people begins to think that its ways of thinking and living are the only real possibilities.  When people can no longer listen to other people’s stories, they become enclosed within their own social context, treating their distorted visions of reality as the whole truth.  And then they feel that they must destroy other stories, which bear witness that life can be lived in another way.  White people’s decimation of red people and enslavement of black people in North America are examples of attempts to deprive people of their stories, in order to establish the white story as the only truth in history.  That was why slaves were not permitted to communicate in their African languages and why red people were placed on reservations.  White people were saying that black and red stories were lies and superstitions that have no place in a “civilized” country.  From some perspectives, the white story of black enslavement may be a “valid” story, but from the perspective of the victims it is a tale of terror and bloodshed.  From the biblical view it is an epic of rebellion, the usurpation of God’s rule.  In other words, it is ideology.

Story can serve as a check against ideological thinking, especially from the biblical perspective.  If theologians wish to retain the dialectic of story as a crucial ingredient of the gospel message, then their language about that message must speak less of philosophical principles and more of concrete events in the lives of the people.  We must assume that the biblical story has its own integrity and truth independent of our subjective states.  We are not free to read just anything into the biblical story.  Whatever may be someone’s view about the Scripture from another faith standpoint, anyone who reads the Bible sympathetically can hardly overlook its central focal point: the proclamation that God in Christ has come to redeem humankind.  From this assumption, we must move through human history, Christian and non-Christian, asking what is the relation of God’s story in Christ to human stories, especially to our own.  By assuming that the biblical story exists independently of our stories and that it lays a claim upon us in our contemporary existence, we are forced to move out of our subjectivity and to hear the Word that we do not possess.  And if we accept the One to whom the Bible points, then we know that the validity of our stories in the world is dependent upon God’s affirmation of us as God’s own possession.  God’s story becomes our story through the faith made possible by the grace of God’s presence with us. (93-95)

As a bonus, here's a video interview with Cone about his work in general that hits on some the important themes in the book:

As always if you want to talk about any of this, feel free to email me at

Waco Dives - Tuesday at noon

Join us this week at Kim's diner on Waco Drive.  Kim's is a classic Waco spot, and a true dive.  See you there at noon.

Jump Jump Jump

Join us at Urban Air Trampoline Park on Saturday at 4pm.  Tickets will be $5.  If you have any questions, email Toph.

Parishioner of the Week

Marcell Steurnagel for being appointed the Director of the Master of Sacred Music program at SMU's Perkins School of Theology.


CASA Volunteers Needed

If you are interested in helping children in the foster care system, consider becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer).  You will be trained to represent the best interest of a foster child in court.  Alongside the child’s attorney and social worker, you will ensure that the child is protected during a critical turning point in their life.  Visit to learn more.

Cuba Trip Medicines

The pastoral staff are taking a quick trip to Cuba next week, and we have been asked to bring some medicines.  If you would like to donate, please bring any of the following on Sunday.  They must be new, and unopened.

- Ibuprofen

- Acetaminophen

- Excedrin Migrane

- Peptobismol

- Diphenydramine

- Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen for children

- Band-Aids 

- Analgesic ointments

- Simethicone for baby

- Triple antibiotic

- Vitamins for adults

- Vitamins C

- Vitamins for children

- Omega 3

- Hydrocortisone

- Meclizine

Random Image To Generate Clickbait Traffic


Looking for a Finance Team Member

We'd like to express our gratitude for the service of Anna Tilson.  Anna and her husband Adam have not heard from the Lord and are leaving us for Knoxville, TN.  As such we will be looking to replace the irreplaceable Anna on our finance team.  Anna you are champion for the Lord.  Thanks for leaving it on the field.

If you are interested in serving on the finance team, please read the information below from our bylaws.  Interested persons should email  A new member will be selected in the July quarterly leadership team meeting. 

(A) Purpose.  The Finance Team shall exist for the following purposes:

a.     To serve as the primary advisory group for the Leadership Team in all budgetary and financial aspects of the church.  

b.    To oversee, in coordination with the ministerial staff, yearly budgetary processes, working to create a financial ministry plan in alignment with the ethos, mission and values of UBC.

c.     To advise the staff and Leadership Team on any emergency financial matters that may arise with regards to the physical infrastructure of the church building, as well as those matters pertaining to compensation and benefits of personnel.

d.    To assess the current financial status of the church on a monthly basis and advise the staff and Leadership Team on matters concerning changes in planned ministry expenses.

e.    To advise the Human Resources/Staff Support team on all financial matters regarding new and existing personnel, including available resources concerning salaries, salary increases, insurance, taxes, etc.


(C) Qualifications.  Finance Team members shall have been an active participant in the life of UBC for at least a year, have received at least a bachelors degree level of education (or roughly an equivalent amount of experience in business or finance,) and have at least a basic understanding of financial reports and budgets.

Looking for a HR Team Member

The fearless Rob Engblom is hanging up the jersey after 3 seasons with our HR squad.  Rob was an 2 HR all american and first team star wars epic dual champion.  During Rob's tenure nobody quit out of frustration and no one was sued.  Dynamite effort Rob, we are grateful for your service to UBC. 

If you are interested in servicing on the HR team please read the information below that is taken from the UBC bylaws.  Interested persons should email  A new member will be selected in the July quarterly leadership team 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.  

Town Hall

There will be a town hall after church on Sunday July 15.  

Work is Worship

Greeters: richardsons

Coffee Makers: Pereiras 

Mug Cleaners: Wards 

Money Counter:  Tilson 

Welcome Station:   carillons 


  • Sermon Text: 
  • 7-14 Trampoline Park Fun Day
  • 7-15 Town Hall  
  • 8-5 Cameron Park Picnic 
  • SWCC Movie Days @ UBC: 6-18, 7-9, 7-23

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:

Kerri Fisher:

Adam Winn:

Bridget Heins:

Jeremy Nance: Jeremy Nance <>

Joanna Sowards:

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: