(In The Life Of The Church)
Ebola and Christians
Like some of you I'm paying close attention to Dallas and its diseases. On the mornings after I drop my children off at school I tune in to hear the latest on the ebola case being addressed in Dallas. As of now 100 people have allegedly been exposed to this man and about 15 or so of them in a manner in which they could have possibly contracted the disease. A family of four is now being quarantined in an apartment.
At first I was angry. My lack of empathy and irrationality immediately asked why they let anyone fly from West Africa back to the States. And then I reasoned that if anyone wanted to do that, that was fine as long as they were willing to live in an isolated warehouse for 30 days until they had been cleared.
I do think making smart decisions for the common good is important and I'm glad we have government officials dedicated to the caring of this issue. But after things became clearer in my head I thought about my response. Two things seem to be a failure in my own discipleship.
1. My first instinct was not to pray for this man and the people who had been in contact with him. I think one of the hardest parts of the gospel is the consistent and pervasive demand to love the other ... even at the expense of yourself. Surely this individual is scared and feels the magnitude of his circumstances. Instead of being concerned about him, I chose to be concerned about myself.
2. The other thing that came to my mind was something I read in Rodney Starks book The Triumph of Christianity. In chapter titled "Misery and Mercy" Stark answers the question, "how did Christianity grow so fast in the first few centuries?" Stark's answer is essentially that Christianity loved those who no one else would. In the year 165 AD a devastating epidemic swept through the Roman Empire. Historians suspect that this may have been the first appearance of smallpox. About a century later, the plague showed up again and this time people recognized early symptoms. As a precaution people threw their loved ones out on the streets with the already dead and dying. Can you imagine that? Tossing your child out the door to save the rest of your family. But there was nothing else to do.
The religious system failed. If people went to the temple to pray, they found that their pagan priests had fled. The philosophical systems were no better. They simply blamed the circumstances on fate. Even the medical professionals left town. Documents from antiquity record that the famous physician Galen fled Rome for his country estate where he stayed until the danger subsided.
The Christians, however, would care for the sick and dying ... at the risk of their life being exchanged for the sick. In a pastoral letter to his members in Alexandria Egypt the Bishop Dionysius wrote about the courage of his people:
"Most of our brothers showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead .... The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner, a number of presbyters, deacons, and laymen winning high commendation so that in death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way equal to martyrdom."
I'm reminded of Kent Brantley who was working in Liberia with Samaritan's Purse to fight the disease on Africa's turf without the comfort of America's medical infrastructure at his disposal. I reminded that at it's best, Christ following produces some of the most remarkable people. And I reminded that this is not a safe calling, but it is a good calling.
Some of you have asked about the podcast this summer. We have recently gone to a new format and sermons can now be found on iTunes by searching "ubc waco."
We are having our first ever (or first in a very long time) nUBCer’s luncheon on October 12th, after church in the Backside. If you have started coming to UBC sometime within the last year, we would love for you to join us for lunch. We would love the opportunity to get to know you better, make sure you are connected in the life of the church, and share with you a bit about our history. After church, go grab your lunch and bring it to the backside, and we will plan on starting around 12:15. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
This Sunday UBC is hosting our ministry partner Jesus Said Love. Brett and Emily Mills will do an interview as part of the service and there will be a Q & A with them after church as well. Please be in prayer for Brett & Emily and the JSL/UBC partnership. They are awesome and their ministry is God glorifying. We are so excited to have them. You can learn more about the ministry here.
As Toph point out Sunday, there are a lot of UBCers on mission in their own lives doing wonderful things. I'd like to share one particular story with you. Kaley Eggers recently became a foster parent. She has been blogging through her journey and it is beautiful. Do yourself a favor and read this.
In their last two games of the season the Slayers dropped both. The slayers end their season 2-6. The one stat that doesn't show up in the books is heart ... and the Slayers had a ton of it. The one-two punch of Byron Roldan and Jacob Robinson booked the losses, but the formation of character and the fun had were both chalked up in the win column.
The Slayers were a team of vibrancy and fun. They found a way to play this great American game of softball and make it a transcendent encounter. We'll always remember watching the wheels turn in coach Millers head as she strategized about signals to call. We'll never forget Byron Roldan's change up "the stinky cheese." Not soon will we forget the play by play commentary of Arna Hemmenway and Jacob Robinson. The Slayers gave us to something to believe in. Something to strive for ... and for that we are grateful.
Coach Miller has this to say after the game: "it didn't end the way we wanted, but in another sense it did. What I got from these kids [choking back tears] ... you can't put a price on that. I tell every senior class that they've built a foundation, but some foundations are stronger than others."
Work is Worship: 10-5-14
Mug Cleaners: Haines Family
Coffee Makers: Emmy Edwards & Stephen Adkinson
Greeters: Ryan Graf & Joel Berner
Shutdown Team: Blue Flames
- Sermon Text: Philippians 4:8 Friday, October 10th, Guys Night at Michael Heins’ lease on the Brazos River (men of all ages including dads and little boys are welcome/encouraged to come)
- UBCYP (University Baptist Church Young Professionals) October 17th - Epic Game Night Extravaganza - 7pm - more details to come in the next few weeks
- Fall Break Weekend (October 16-19) UBC will be taking an Embrace Beauty trip to West Texas. Those interested should contact Tye@ubcwaco.org. More information to come.
- UBC Girl's Day, Saturday, October 25th @ 11am: Meeting at Farmer's Market, getting pumpkins, then heading back to UBC for pumpkin carving and fellowship
- Wednesday, October 29th, UBC partners with South Waco Community Center for Halloween Festival. Those interested in volunteering should contact toph@ubcwaco.
- Friday, October 31st Jesus Said Love Outreach … more information to come.
- MADE in Waco will be Saturday, November 15th more information to come.
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: Teri Walter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jana Parker email@example.com
Kristin Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaley Eggers: email@example.com
David Wilhite: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie McGregor: email@example.com
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
Tom Haines: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Taft: email@example.com
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom McCarty: 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.
Lacy McNamee: Lacy_McNamee@baylor.edu
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Heins: email@example.com