(In The Life Of The Church)
An Interview With Peter
UBC the Magazine recently got to interview St. Peter. We talked with him about Paul, Easter traditions, and other odd facts.
UBCtM: Hey, Peter, thanks for your time.
Peter: You bet, thanks for having me.
UBCtM: You’ve been head of the church for almost 2,000 years now. Does that ever get tiring, and what advice do you have for pastors, priests, and other spiritual leaders concerned about longevity?
Peter: The job itself doesn’t get tiring, but the I-met-St.-Peter-at-the-pearly-gates jokes get old. I also think I’m depicted a little bit unfairly in a lot of Western art. The advice I would give is this: make sure you have good people around you that you can be honest with about how life is going. Mary-Mag, James, and I have a weekly meeting at Drink of This Cup. That’s a safe space for me to share the ways I feel fragile.
UBCtM: Are those your best friends?
Peter: Well, Jesus is everyone’s best friend in heaven, but that goes without saying. So if you are interested to know if those are are my second best friends? Yes. I like Job, but he can be a downer sometimes. John is fun to be around too. He’s imaginative, but sometimes he’ll slip back into apocalyptic language when he talks about current events. People get confused by that, but I love the Christian Halloween costumes that come out of his writings.
UBCtM: “Christian Halloween Costumes.” Did you mean harvest festival costumes?
Peter: My bad. Yes.
UBCtM: Let’s talk about Paul for a second. The last I read about you two in Galatians, things seemed to be on thin ice. Is stuff better now?
Peter: Paul and I get along great now. He was right to confront me on my stuff back then. I think sometimes people forget the magnitude of the shift that was happening in the first century. We were all Jews who were able to see Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures, but we still considered ourselves Jewish. That in and of itself was a radical shift and a leap of faith, but as Paul and others developed an inclusive vision of gentiles, it felt like essential elements of Jewish faith were being negotiated in the name of inclusion and relevance. Like, imagine if there was a second incarnation of Jesus and this Jesus claimed to be the person the New Testament Scriptures were always talking about. And then this Jesus proceeded to reinterpret the meaning of eschatological texts that predicted his return. That’d be trippy, right?
UBCtM: Gosh-darn-tootin‘ right it would.
Peter: So you are part of this revolution, but then this guy who, BTW, was murdering Christians last week says we can throw out baptism and justification by faith through grace alone so the new converts don’t feel excluded. So, yeah, I was a little apprehensive. And when my Jewish brothers came around, I left the gentile table. We all have our Robert the Bruce moments.
UBCtM: Robert the Bruce?
Peter: Yeah, man, Braveheart. I love that movie.
UBCtM: Paul has been a darling of the church in the West since the Reformation, and before, but especially since then. Now he seems to have fallen out of favor with pockets of the church. How is that processed in heaven?
Peter: Interestingly, I think Paul has been misunderstood both then and now.
UBCtM: How so?
Peter: To the Reformers, I say that the New Perspective on Paul has some valid criticisms. Luther’s interpretation didn’t account first-century Judaism for what it was. As a result, I think Luther over- (or under-, depending on how you look at it) interpreted “works of righteousness.” Consequently, we’ve made a mess of it and pitted James against Paul. A careful reading finds consonance between grace and work.. To modern detractors I say, yes, it’s true that Paul didn’t cast a theological vision for slavery and women that seemed to match the hermeneutical trajectory of the Jesus movement, but keep in mind the guy was doing theology for a massive theological movement that was understaffed and decentralized--without Facebook and Twitter. Do you know how many letters he wrote that got lost by carrier pigeons and wizard owls? You’re lucky we got seven undisputed letters in the Bible. That’s to say nothing about the fact that Paul thought the apocalyptic era of his day was going to wrap up at any moment.
UBCtM: Speaking of undisputed letters, who wrote Hebrews?
Peter: Jason the Gentile.
UBCtM: Shut up!
Peter: I’m just messing with you, man. No one knows but the Father . . . and the author, which I happen to know because she told me.
UBCtM: She! You serious?
Peter: Yeah, why else wouldn’t someone take credit for that book? It’s a masterpiece.
UBCtM: So people in heaven don’t know?
Peter: Tough to say, but there are rumors.
UBCtM: Why doesn’t God set the record straight?
Petere: People don’t realize God has a playful side. Once you’re delivered and saved and aren’t causing problems, you are able to experience a whole new side of God. God loves keeping us guessing. It’s like the whole heretic Easter egg hunt.
UBCtM: Do say more.
Peter: Every year on Easter, God sets up an Easter egg hunt. Most of the eggs are filled with the fruits of the Spirit, but God alway hides one golden egg. That golden egg has a heretic in it. So every year we get to see one more heretic here and learn how wide, deep, and long the love of Christ is. People go crazy for it. The banquet table is off the hook that day.
UBCtM: Don’t people see the heretic before the reveal?
Peter: It’s too hard to explain. In heaven there’s logical sequence but no time. So it’s an all-at-once thing. Also, remember that God gives everyone a new name when they get here. Between that and glorified bodies, they are unrecognizable. God just tells the heretics to keep quiet about who they were until the big reveal.
UBCtM: Who are some of your favorite people in heaven?
Peter: Aside from Jesus?
Peter: Oscar Romero, Intan, and St. Perpetua.
UBCtM: Okay, I know Romero and Perpetua, but I don’t recall Intan from church history.
Peter: You wouldn’t. He’s a little boy that died in the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.
UBCtM: Obviously I’m intrigued. Say more.
Peter: Yeah, so when stuff like that happens, it feels chaotic around here. Not because God’s not in control, but because even here in heaven we retain a sense of agency. God still lets us serve by giving us jobs. So as you can imagine, the welcome center is immediately overloaded and the party planning committee has way more than they can handle. So I volunteer in the welcome center. I met Intan that day. Intan is a sweet boy, which feels odd to speak about now because he’s being perfect and transcending age like the rest of us here in heaven, but his presence is helpful for my formation, so I like being around him.
Peter: Well, the only one of us who can be perfectly and appropriately present to every emotion at once is Trinity. So God can always respond to prayer perfectly. For the rest of us, it’s just so hard not to get overwhelmed by joy all the time. My memories of pain are in constant danger of being extinguished by the presence of Christ. Of all the shoddy attempts at understanding heaven by human authors, I think I like C.S. Lewis’s “further up, further in” chapter best. It at least rightly alludes to the fact that heaven is ever expanding our capacity for joy in the life of God. Sometimes when I’m with Jesus, I’ll ask to stare at his scars as a meditation practice. It helps me mourn for the world. Otherwise I feel phony doing it because it’s perfect here. Intan is a gift in the same way. He reminds me of the anguish of those who are still waiting for all of this. But even then I just get so excited for them when I think about the moment heaven will come to them in death.
UBCtM: Interesting stuff. You’ve given us a lot to think about. Thanks for your time, Pete. We hope you’ll do this again.
Peter: Sure thing.
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Pastoral Associate Applications
Each academic year UBC employees two pastoral associates. While a modest stipend is offered to these individuals, the main goal is for interested persons to gain pastoral experience and be able to list this experience on a resume or other items. Pastoral associates begin work in July and finish the following May. Weekly responsibilities include attending staff meeting, helping with worship on Sunday mornings and other events as needed. Pastoral associates are also given one ministry to oversee such as Sunday School, community partner relationships, mi casa's etc.
Interested persons can apply here.
Backside - April 20
If you are a musician, poet, storyteller, visual artist, baker, or otherwise creative type, we are having an open mic/open wall/open table event at 7pm on Friday, April 20. If you are interested in participating, sign up in the lobby on Sunday, or email email@example.com!
Graduate Luncheon - April 22
If you are graduating (hs, college, masters, or phd), we would love to have you stay for lunch after church Sunday, April 22nd. The service that day will be our annual graduate commissioning service, and we would like to invited those are graduating to stay for lunch with the staff. There will be a sign-up sheet in the foyer the next two Sundays. If you have any questions, please shoot firstname.lastname@example.org an email.
On April 29 - just over three weeks from now! - our kids are going to be leading us in worship at UBC! We are so excited for them to have the opportunity to lead us in worship because we think that it will be a formative moment for them as well as a formative moment for our entire congregation and we are very excited about it! If you have any questions feel free to email email@example.com to ask!
Town Hall Agenda
Our quarterly town hall will take place after church this Sunday. These are the items that will be addressed there and at the leadership team meeting on Sunday, April 29th.
- Finance update
- Land Update
- Deacon Update- I really needed a better word to describe this, but as a result of some conversations staff and leadership have been in about connectedness we are investigating a way to offer more connectedness and care at UBC.
- Leadership Team Members
- Cuba Partnership
- HR Reviews
- Scholarship Renewals
Leadership Team Nominations
First we'd like to applaud the fearless Stan Denman, Sharyl Loeung, and Jon Davis for their leadership these last three years. Their stints are coming to an end this April. In addition to their departure, one of our student positions are being vacated as well. Leah Reed is graduating and moving onto bigger, but not necessarily better things. As a reminder, the student positions are on year commitments that can be renewed up to three years.
So that means we are looking for new folks to serve on the leadership team. Here is some information for you to consider from the bylaws.
Section 1. Leadership Team
(A) Purpose. The Leadership Team shall be the primary decision-making body of UBC. The Leadership Team will oversee all the business and property of the church, as well as make the final decisions regarding hiring and dismissal of staff and the acquisition and selling of assets that are beyond budgetary provisions.
(C) Qualifications. Each member of Leadership Team shall have been a member of UBC for at least one year, exhibited an understanding and commitment to the mission and values of the church, and be willing to fulfill all responsibilities in the Leadership Team job description.
(E) Term. Members of Leadership Team may serve for a duration lasting up to three years. While they are encouraged to remain the full three years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time. Members serving as student member commit to a year with the chance to renew up to three years.
Nominations begin now. So if you'd like to nominate yourself or anyone else, please use this link.
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Jacob and KT
Mug Cleaners: Andrew & Carson
Money Counter: Doug M.
Welcome Station: Kerri & Melissa
- Sermon Text: Luke 24:36-48 "Easter Embodied"
- 4-22 Mr. Rogers Sunday
- 4-29 Chidren's Sunday
- 4-29 Leadership Team Meeting
- Study Hall Days 4-30/5-1
- 5-14 Finance Team Meeting
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Byron Griffin: email@example.com
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
Adam Winn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget Heins: email@example.com
Sharyl Loeung: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Davis: email@example.com
Student Position: Samuel Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Position: Leah Reed: Leah_Reed@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.
JD Newman: JD_Newman@baylor.edu
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: email@example.com
Anna Tilson: Anna_Tilson@jrbt.com
Doug McNamee: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu
Ross Van Dyke: Ross_Vandyke@baylor.edu
Jared Gould: email@example.com
Rebekah Powell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristen Richardson: email@example.com