(in the life of the church)
Happy All Hallows Eve
Christians don't say goodbye, they say see you later.
Very early in my life I learned that I did not like cliches. I also learned that cliches become cliche because they are, for the most part, experientially verifiable.
At the conclusion of my senior year at Bethel University I planned a series of strategic goodbyes. On the top of that list was one my resident directors Michelle. Michelle had been extremely formative in my emotional and spiritual development. When I found Michelle we exchanged hugs, meaningful words, and then she punctuated our conversation with "Christians don't say goodbye, we say see you later."
Have you ever known someone who oozed so much character and goodness that everything they said, no matter what they said, dripped with meaning? Michelle is like that. Her words are grace, not so much because of their content, but because of the authentic nature with which her character encases them. I took Michelle's words seriously ... which sent me reflecting.
Christians don't ever say goodbye. Why? Because as the movie Wit so eloquently pointed out, in the tradition of John Donne, death is a comma, not a period. It's the reason Paul has swagger in his letter in 1 Corinthians 15, and why the martyrs marched to their deaths with such a cavalier joy.
If you weren't at church this last weekend you missed a rather large announcement. Our Worship and Arts Pastor Tye and our Children's Pastor Emily are both turning the pages in their story. Tye has taken a call as the Worship Pastor of Oakwood Church in New Braunfels, and Emily is celebrating a professional opportunity that came for her husband Jeremy that will take them to a different town.
I don't want to be overly dramatic. In all likelihood we will see Tye and Emily on multiple occasions after December 31st. But that is not the goodbye we are saying. We are saying goodbye to these relationships as they exist now. We are saying goodbye and thank you to Tye for the gifts he shared with through his music and Emily with our children through her creativity.
And yet ... the truth is even these relationships remain intact because the work our friends have done belongs to the eternal. And that is all of our destinations. Right after Paul gives a rousing resurrection speech in 1 Corinthians 15, he points out that for this reason our labor is never in vain. And neither are our relationships. The reality of eschatological truth works backwards in the Christian life shaping every present moment with what the church has called faith.
So over the next few months as Tye and Emily's time with us winds down, we rehearse all the meaningful emotions that come with saying goodbye and letting go.
Idolatry teaches us what we cling too tightly to. What is improperly ordered in the catalogue of the affections of our hearts. Saying goodbye can often be a form of deliverance and renewal. It reminds all of us that all of us ultimately belong to God before we belong to each other. So with courage, glad and sincere hearts we give these gifts in form of our friends back to God. And we say thanks be to God--we'll see you later.
In a previous newsletter I've written how important I think it is for pastors to apologize when needed. Because I'm given the microphone for 30 or so minutes every week and conduct a monologue, I think it's especially important that I be conscious of what I say.
This past week I put a picture of a blue whale on the screen as part of a sermon illustration. The picture of the blue whale also included a 747, a few dinosaurs and a human. It's purpose was to compare and contrast the enormous size of the blue whale. Most of what I say in a sermon is scripted, but I went off script for a second and said, "this picture is about 6,000 years old."
It was subtle, but it was a jab. No one has said a word about that comment. I suspect given what I know about our congregation, most people didn't care and probably even the majority agree with the sentiment that the world is very old. But as Sunday wore on I was bothered by my comment. I would like to apologize for making that comment and this is why.
As I've grown in my Christian faith for the last 33 years, I can look back and recognize critical developmental moments. More often than not, large and potentially painful changes in my own theology happened by someone who graciously and carefully walked me through those changes. They were patient to field my questions and never gave me the impression that my objections were naive and/or stupid.
I think it's important that people know what their pastor believes. So I don't want to hide my beliefs on the age of the earth or my perspective on creation, but I do apologize for not being gentle.
I was talking to a friend this fall who gave me a really helpful quote, "we need to be kind to every previous version of ourselves." That has been meaningful and liberating for me. So to an old version of myself, I say thank you for your passion and care for this issue. You are a critical part of who I am and belong to the kingdom every bit as much as present me does. Thank you for your generosity in listening.
Don't forget to turn your clocks back an hour on saturday night.
At the conclusion of this fall quarter two valuable UBCers are stepping down from the finance and HR teams.
Tom McCarty has served on the finance team for the last 5 years and for a 3 year stint prior to that. One thing that I'll miss the most about Tom is his fervent optimism. Very often when I would be tempted to get down about the financial state affairs, but Tom's peace and trust would invade the atmosphere. In those moments I would be reminded of the God's faithfulness to our community. I'm grateful for his service.
Lacy McNamee has served on the HR team for the last several years. Lacy led passionately through some major changes at UBC. One thing I've learned from Lacy is the value of integrity. She has been insistent on doing things the right way and made the culture of UBC better for it. I'm grateful for the time she has served our community.
On that note ... I'd like to introduce one of our newest HR team members!!!
Meet Maxcey Blaylock
Vocation: (could be your job or something you love doing/believe you were made for): Marketing Communications Specialist at Baylor University
favorite movie: A Knight's Tale and Beauty and the Beast
best restaurant in Waco: Hmmm... Baris? Maybe? So many good choices!
Bible verse/chapter/book that has been meaningful for you: Romans 5:3-5. It has offered encouragement to me many times.
best television show: Castle
favorite holiday: Christmas
something you might not know about me: Well... I kind of can't ride a bicycle. I'm sure I could if someone's life was in danger and the only way to save them was to ride a bike. But otherwise... It's just hard because if you try to go slow then you fall over :(
Work is Worship 11-2-14
Mug Cleaners: Haines Family
Coffee Makers: Emmy Edwards & Stephen Adkinson
Greeters: Maxcey & Gerhard
Shutdown Team: Golden Glitter Girls
Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:
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UBC Finance Team
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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.
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