(In The Life Of The Church)
Top Five (Christian Songs with a Pagan Label) By Jameson
Over the next few weeks the staff will use the main part of the newsletter to share lists of top fives. The topics of these lists can range from books, to music, to thinkers.
A few things seem worth mentioning. This section of the newsletter is (loosely) given to thoughts that are about formation. As such it is worth mentioning that you will consistently see material that is sometimes labeled secular and material that is considered explicitly Christian. This is a not a bad place to remind ourselves and everyone else what we believe about truth and culture ... the sacred and the secular which can be read here.
UBC celebrates a diversity of voices and opinions. These are our opinions. As with any list there will be disagreement. Please use the comments section on Facebook and/or the comments feature on the website to provide your own feedback and lists.
Let's get one thing out of the way up front: the word "pagan" in the title of this list is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Chances are, you rightly replaced "pagan" for "secular" when you read this, and that's fine. This is a list of songs that I find significant as a Christian, that have not been traditionally labeled as such. I know it's supposed to be my "top five," but I don't play that game. These are five I like, and there are a ton more I like too--DON'T PIN ME DOWN. Also, I chose not to rank these 5 in any particular order for the sake of my own sanity--they're all great.
This is a song that we sing fairly often at ubc. If you were to go find Michael Nau, formerly of Page France, currently of Cotton Jones, and ask him if he intended to write a Christian worship song when he penned Chariot, the answer would undoubtably be some variation of "no." In an interview, Nau once said this of his songs being Christian, "The 'Christian band' inquiry wears me out, to be honest. As for the Christian symbols in my writing--sometimes I don't even realize that they exist until someone points them out to me. There's really no reason; it just rolled out that way." That's fine. As far as I'm concerned, that's true. But when I first heard Chariot in the mid-2000's, I found language that both made me think about God in new and challenging ways (the image of God being a wrecking ball, Jesus joining a musical celebration on tambourine, etc), and gave me new language for singing about hope (we will become a happy ending).
This is probably no surprise. The chorus of this song sounds well-enough like a worship song. It's the verses that blur the lines. Cohen weaves together (at the very least) isolation, failure, lust, and doubt to continually reframe the "Hallelujah" refrain. I don't know much about Cohen, though I've seen him identified both as an observant Jew and a Zen Buddhist priest. But, as with Chariot, I'm not concerned about the faith of the songwriter in this list. I'm concerned with the fact that when I first really listened to this song, the idea of a "cold and broken" hallelujah was new to me. And, while I can pretend to distance the parts of myself that resonate with Cohen's themes of isolation, failure, lust, and doubt, from who I am as a Christian, this is impossible, and there are many times I need this song in all of its flawed glory. [Side note: you've probably seen this song "Christianized" at some point over the years where well-meaning Christian artists try and smooth it out as a worship song. To these people, I say: Stop. It's fine like it is. You're ruining it.]
When Josh asked me to write this list, he didn't say that I couldn't have more than one song from the same artist, so guess what: we're not done with Cohen yet. This song is on the same album as Hallelujah, but I had never heard it until I decided to listen to everything the man ever recorded a couple of months ago. This song is fantastic. Rather than explain why, I'm going to quote the opening lines and the chorus. Ready? I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair//with a love so vast and shattered//it will reach you everywhere//and i sing this for the captain whose ship has not been built//for the mother in confusion, her cradle still unfilled//for the heart with no companion//for the soul without a king//for the prima ballerina who cannot dance to anything. I was listening to this in a hotel bed, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, thinking about Jesus and how many people need to hear this song that never will because it's not "Christian."
I appreciate the fact that this song embraces the weight of broken interpersonal relationships, owning the almost apocalyptic feeling when things go wrong with those we love. But, let's be real: the tag at the end makes the song: I don't know where to look//my words just break and melt//please just save me from this darkness. My Christian ears perk up at stuff like this. It's language I need to voice feelings that I can't get away from. Josh likes this song too, and he requested that we use this tag during Advent. Since this tag is absolutely perfect for Advent--the time where we look around and see that the world does in fact need a Light-- I'm taking his advice.
This song is a call to cast aside the baggage of our failures and to start anew, not allowing the joy of life and community to be overshadowed by regret. I've seen Rice frame this song as a call to forgive people who have wronged you so you don't have to carry the weight of your anger for the rest of your life. And this idea is met with the idea of joining others who have done the same, and who are looking to move forward together. Stop what you're doing, listen to this song, and tell me it doesn't make you think of the grace of God and the Church (or at least what the Church strives toward).
Thailand Mission Trip - May 15-29, 2016
If you are interested in learning more about UBC’s work in Thailand, there will be an interest meeting this Sunday after church, October 4th in the Rock n Roll Room. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Children's Workers Needed
Hey there all of you fun-loving, child-at-heart UBCers! You may have noticed that the message this week is on Matthew 18:1-9, in which Jesus EXPLICITLY (or metaphorically…) says that we must be child-like to enter God’s Kingdom! (I do realize that I’m paraphrasing, just a little bit…but we’re going to go with it for now!) Well, just consider this a message from above, because UBCKids needs YOU! We have multiple ways for you to help show a little Godly-love and drop a little Kingdom-knowledge on some tiny folk, while getting in touch with your own inner-child by serving in either our Nurture Room (infants- walkers), Sprout Room (walkers-2 yrs), Branch Room (4 yrs-Kindergarten) or Root Room (1st grade-4th grade)! If you are not one to choose favorites, we also have need for subs that would be willing to be on-call for any age group! If you are interested in securing your place in God’s Kingdom (again, I realize that I may be misusing this text…) and having a lot of fun along the way, contact Emily at email@example.com for more information!
SWCC Halloween Festival - October 20th
This will be our third year to help with the largest Halloween Festival in South Waco! This year the festival will be held on Tuesday night, October 20th, and we need your help. This year we are needing almost 100 volunteers, there will be a sign-up sheet in the foyer starting this Sunday. Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Satan Slayers (An Op-Ed)
This might have been as good as it gets. Did the Slayers lose again? Yes. Could we blame the pitching? Maybe. Could we blame the coaching? Yes. But chew on this. Rob McNeil's WAR is 10.7. If that stat doesn't boggle your mind then think about the fact that the Slayers have produced at least 5 runs after practicing their secret handshake.
Usually stories are told by statistics when it comes to city league amateur softball. Not so with the Slayers. This team has left more runners stranded than the '82 Pigdogs did. And that team finished well over .500. So what's happening in Waco? Could be lack execution and bad play calling. Or it could be that Coach Roldan has had power hitters in the middle of the order bunt on at least seven occasions with runners on third. It seems that he's stuck in a early 90's dreaming of suicide squeezes with Otis Nixon heading for home. The pundits have spoken Byrondo, it's not going to work.
And what of his use of utility players? Roldan had Joy Winemann back up 3 time all star Emmy Edwards in RIGHT FIELD. Are you opening flower store Roldan? Are you using the payroll to pick daisies? Come on!
The story in the front office is just as dicey. Just two games back from injury Dani Miller wants to talk contract extensions and Evie Swanson already has a plane ticket for Minnesota. Rob McNeil has preformed well but hates Waco. It seems the Alico building and McLain stadium can't compete with the south shores he left behind in Miami. And what can we be said of River Bend Stadium. After this season it is unlikely that Waco will offer the Slayers the industrial and financial support they need to stay here. Mark Cuban has already expressed interest in buying and moving the team to Fargo. Is this the last season we'll be able to watch the slayers locally? Management has a lot to figure out.
Things can't get worse. The Slayers draw Fred's Roll Shop and Al's Tune Up center in the coming weeks. Both those squads have collective ERA's above 7. That and the Slayers hit lefties well, which both of those teams feature. It may be too late to talk about October baseball, but not to make an impression on AP. All star voting begins next week and I for one would like to see the season redeemed with at least 3 Slayers on that squad. Slivers of hope.
We Have A Need (By Amy)
We are excited to announce a new method for helping the needy both in our church community and in our neighboring communities. It’s difficult for us to meet the great demand for very basic necessities, like food and clothing for kids.
This past week I spoke with a weeping woman who had to keep her kids home from school because their clothes were so dirty the school sent two of her children home. She has no money to go to the laundromat. She can’t even afford enough food for her three children (let alone herself. She often has to forgo meals so her kids can eat). Two people were kind enough to help her with her laundromat bill, but she and at least two others (and I suspect many more!) struggle to put food on the table each day.
To try and help meet some of the needs of our community we have begun a “Benevolence Board” on our living missionary board in the hallway across from the staff offices. Each week we will put requests up; if you are able to meet a need, please tear off a request and return it to Toph on Sunday or drop it by the office during the week. Some examples we have right now are gift cards to HEB and gently used uniforms for 6th to 8th graders. If you would like to make a monetary donation, we would be more than happy to purchase a gift card on your behalf. Thank you for your love and your commitment to living missionary in our community.
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Joy & Ryan (Dream Team)
Mug Cleaners: Team Haines
Sunday Sermon Text: Matthew 18:1-9 Please be in prayer for Brian Gamel who will be bringing the word to the heard this Sunday
Please be in prayer for our next leadership team meeting which is Sunday, October 25th.
College Retreat -October 9-10. $50 cJoin us for a great weekend away learning more about the core values that shape UBC. Your cost includes 3 meals, lodging, and a UBC shirt. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com
we will be partnering with the South Waco Community Center on October 20th to put on a Halloween Festival for the community. We need 80 volunteers. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Our next UBCYP event will be Friday October 16th. Contact email@example.com for more information
Date Night will be Friday October 16th. More information to come.
We will be celebrating the life of Kyle Lake during our worship service on Sunday October 25th. Please invite friends that you think might be interested in joining us that day.
Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:
254 498 2261
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- Kristin Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joy Wineman: email@example.com
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
David Wilhite: David_Wilhite@baylor.edu
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
Sharyl Loeung: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Davis: 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.
Tom Haines: firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: email@example.com
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lacy Crocker: 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
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: Jeff_Walter@ubcwaco.org
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu