(In The Life Of The Church)
Everyone quarter or so I get a Patagonia catalog in the mail. I almost feel bad having them send it to me because I never order anything. The paper catalog--which requires the death of a tree along with the fossil fuels burned in transportation so that I can get the catalog--feels counter to the company’s environmental mission. But I do wander over to the Bear Mountain about once a year to buy a new pair of shorts, so there’s that.
I digress. When I get my catalog I do the same thing every time. I stare at the pictures and convince myself I’m going to get into the kind of shape that is required to participate in the activities that Patagonia’s environmentally awesome clothes aid one in. So I make a small plan. I will only consume alcohol on weekends. Ice cream only on Tuesday nights. But the big one always lurks in the background. Without fail, every healthy person I know does not drink soda. I trust that you can deduce how this reality threatens my existence. God loves Mountain Dew and me and most of all, me drinking Mountain Dew. So I shelve the Patagonia catalog and drink merrily.
Recently I decided to give this a more serious try. When my mom was living with us this last winter she suggested I try tea as an alternative. So one night a few weeks ago, after playing some mad hoops with my brother-in-law, who was doubling as my chauffeur, we stopped at Chick-fil-A. Being the embodiment of self-control that I am, I decided to order unsweet tea while he munched on a chicken sandwich and fries. To my surprise, I enjoyed the tea. So the next day I got one at lunch. For about three weeks I drank soda intermittently, some days not at all, all the while chugging unsweet tea. Meanwhile, I worked on motivating myself. In my head, when I wasn’t reaching the top of Mt. McKinley, I was posing for the cover of People magazine and doing interviews for Men’s Fitness magazine. What a I success story I had become.
I have been preaching for almost 11 years now. At the beginning of year 10 something changed. Preaching become more effortless than it has ever been. In my first year of the job, I spent 10 hours reading commentaries, articles, and other items before writing my first word. Lately the whole process seems to take 5 hours, sometimes less. But then something crazy happened. A few weeks ago, it was like I ran into a brick wall. I couldn’t muster a creative or rhetorical thought from my whole body. It felt like I had never done this job before. Worse still, I began developing extreme bouts of anxiety. Having looked at the text on Monday, by that night I was convinced I had absolutely nothing to say and that by Sunday I would a laughingstock, having preached the worst sermon in the history of UBC. The anxiety was unusual for me, but the intensity of it was absurd. I would roll around restless for hours in bed at night. The pressure in my chest would widen. I had a constant fear living somewhere in my chest cavity.
I pride myself on being able to control my emotions, or rather on not having them at all. So I would converse with my objective self.
“Why are you worried?”
“Because my sermon is going to be bad.”
“People will love you even if the sermon is bad.”
“No they won’t. I’m going to fail.”
“You’ll be fine. You have resources and people to help.”
“It’s all over. I need to turn in the jersey.”
That kind of stuff. I knew something was up because this all seemed irrational to me. So I started naming my anxiety and telling a few people, among others, my wife. She helped me process, asked what had changed. The only thing I could identify was the tea. So I did some digging. Turns out that 12 ounces has roughly 2.5 the amount of caffeine that is in Mountain Dew. I would drink 3-4 glasses of tea in some settings. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I had wondered if the increase in caffeine coupled with a few natural small anxieties I was having was converging to create a storm in my physiological equilibrium.
Let me reiterate, I’m not a doctor. But since I’ve stopped drinking tea, my anxiety seems to have lessened. My theory about my anxiety could be wrong. But assuming I’m right, let me now make two observations: (1) In this scenario, let the record show that Mountain Dew turned out to be the healthier choice. (2) If I’m right, I look back on my anxiety and my sleepless nights--my panic--and I realize how fragile I am. How fragile my physiological makeup is. Something as simple as switching lunch beverages sent my body-heart-mind into chaos.
A few years ago after some unimaginable act of violence that happened here in the US, Anne Lamott took to Facebook to say this: “Life has always been this scary here, and we have always been as vulnerable as kittens. Plagues and Visigoths, snakes and schizophrenia; Cain is still killing Abel and nature means that everyone dies. I hate this. It's too horrible for words. When my son was seven and found out that he and I would not die at the exact same second, he said, crying, ‘If I had known this, I wouldn't have agreed to be born.’ Don't you feel like that sometimes?”
Sometimes life can feel that way. We come up close to finitude through fragility and stare it in the face. We then realize we don’t have control. I for one think, “Well that sucks.” But then I’m forced to reevaluate, and in my inventory I find my need for faith again. For now, I’ll take this gift.
Waco Dives - Thursday at noon
Please join us this Thursday for some big time fellowship in the Lord at Double R burgers. Double R can be found @ 1810 Herring Ave, Waco, TX 76708
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Parishioner of the Week
Will Knight for running the video and sound at the church picnic this last Sunday.
Summer Movie Day with South Waco Community Center
This summer we are showing three movies at UBC, and inviting the summer day camp folks from the SWCC. We would love for you to join us to watch the movie, as we are also inviting the families of the kids to join as well if they can. The first movie day is coming up on Monday, June 18th at 1pm. There will be a sign-up sheet in the lobby for a few people to help out after movie is over with cleaning and resetting the sanctuary. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Ricky and Rose
Coffee Makers: Dustin
Mug Cleaners: Latendresse
Money Counter: McNamee
Welcome Station: Broadduses
- Sermon Text: Mark 3 "water than blood"
- 6/10-25 Thailand Mission Team in Thailand
- 7-14 Trampoline Park Fun Day
- 8-5 Cameron Park Picnic
- SWCC Movie Days @ UBC: 6-18, 7-9, 7-23
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: email@example.com
Byron Griffin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
Adam Winn: email@example.com
Bridget Heins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharyl Loeung: email@example.com
Jon Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Position: Samuel Moore: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Tilson: Anna_Tilson@jrbt.com
Doug McNamee: 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.
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu
Ross Van Dyke: Ross_Vandyke@baylor.edu
Jared Gould: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebekah Powell: email@example.com
Kristen Richardson: firstname.lastname@example.org