Labels! What are they good for? Nothing! Well, at least not much. We need labels on items. The problem is when we label people and ideas.
I have to admit that nearly all the labels stuck on me have been merit badges of sorts. “Unsound” is now antiquated, but I have that one in my box of old labels.
“Liberal” is the longest lasting, and while I don’t display it, I don’t deny it either. It’s in my theological blood, though only via a transfusion. Or perhaps I should say a “transformation.”
I’m not sure exactly when it started, but it was before I entered Northeastern Institute for Christian Education (NICE). If you want to see for yourself, go to NICE the Early Years. It’s on Facebook. What you will find are pictures from the first Church of Christ educational institution from preschool through college that was fully integrated when it opened in 1959. By that standard it was liberal. There was Interracial dating. Also liberal by the standards of that day. I’ve mentioned NICE before, but it connects to what I’m saying now.
There, I witnessed the suspicion of the local and area CofC preachers to the “liberal” school. I have to admit it was a little exciting. I was seeing the Bible in ways I’d never been taught or thought about before. I couldn’t get enough. However, sadly, due to suspicion and jealousy, from the top down to the religion department, the administration resigned or was replaced.
So I started into the preaching world knowing there would be labels. I also knew I had to decide which of those labels I would accept while maintaining my integrity and honesty toward the teachings of the Bible. That decision lead me in several different directions. I found myself leaving concepts and methods of interpretation on which I thought I was to stand, according to what I had been taught in church. It was very often a scary place and I’m not that brave.
Throughout the years I have seen labels define Christianity. Liberal and Conservative being the general terms. I recently saw a detrimental comment about “liberal Christianity.” No definition was given. I’m sure it would not be the description of what I would call liberal.
Let’s see if we can decide liberal from conservative. Since this is in a Christian context, we will use that as a basis. Question: Was Jesus a liberal according to the scribes and the Pharisees?
When Jesus was accused of eating with tax collectors and sinners, was that viewed as liberal or conservative by the religious standards of the ruling body?
Was his take on Sabbath rules liberal or conservative?
Was the apostle Paul a liberal or a conservative according to the Jews?
In the early church were the Jewish Christians who wanted the law of circumcision ( which was supposed to be an eternal covenant) and the dietary laws of Judaism maintained, liberal or conservative?
Would the Gentile Christians who ate meat sacrificed at the pagan temples be seen as more liberal than the Jewish Christians who would not?
Were Martin Luther and the other reformers liberal or conservative according to those who stood against them?
Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who apposed the take over of the church in Germany by Hitler and spoke out against him, as well as being part of a plot to kill him, a liberal or conservative?
Was William Wilberforce, who worked against slavery in England liberal or conservative?
Were those Christians who apposed slavery in America, liberal or conservative?
Was Frederick Douglas a liberal or a conservative?
Were those Christians who worked for women’s suffrage liberal or conservative?
Was Martin Luther King Jr. a liberal or a conservative?
Were those who walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama liberal or conservative?
Was Nelson Mandela liberal or conservative?
I’ll leave the answers to you. My point is that while labels are used to define, they also divide. They put a narrow definition on the individual and groups. Are there conservative liberals and liberal conservatives? Of course.
I’m not sure how many “yes” and “no” answers the reader of these questions would give. I only know that I would be honored to be associated with any of them labeled “liberal.”
1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner
4-Garrett L. Williams 10-Brice Reid
14-Connie Crites 15-Mary Willa Foy
20-Lyn Jordan 20-Melisha Scruggs
24-Teryn Gaynor 4-Susan Phlegar
27-TJ Hall 31-Elliot Hogan
3-James & Megan Downing
8-Mike & Karen Crush Branch
9-Scott & Bonnie Blessing
19-Jeff & Sherry Bland
CONCERNS: Little Abby Keeting continues to be treated for leukemia. Martha Foy had hip replacement surgery in Charlotte NC. She is doing fine but will be with her aunt who lives there for a week or so. Judy McWhorter’s friend, Josh Thirston is having problems after a kidney transplant. Judy Hall is also having issues with her cornea transplant. Luke Beach, great-nephew of Alan and Joni is having treatment to shrink a benign brain tumor. Scott Blessing is having serious back pain. Del Bolin’s mother is doing better. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues cancer treatment. Steve Gaynor’s sister is improving. Ben Robertson is still job hunting. Continue in prayer for Melisha Scruggs friend, Jeanie, who has a child with health issues. Tolly Nicklas, Sheila Jansen and her Daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: OCT. 2-7
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
OUR DAILY BREAD: OCT. 9-14
Monday: Acts 17:16-34
Tuesday: Colossians 3:1-17
Wednesday: John 11:17-44
Thursday: Romans 4:1-8; 5:1-11
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:12-28
Saturday: Psalm 118:1-29
A total of $2,000.00 has ben sent to The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort to help those effected by recent Hurricanes.
PEANUT BUTTER DRIVE
Feeding America’s drive for peanut butter is ongoing. Just kept it on your mind when you shop. There is o deadline. Peanut butte supplies one of the best nutritional needs for helping families.
Judy McWhorter will be visiting family in Vermont this week.
The family needing furniture has found enough for now. However, in the future, if you are replacing something, call or check with Keith first. Such needs come and go.
PEAKS HIKE AND PICNIC
Changes in the congregation, as well as scheduling issues caused last year’s event to be canceled. If there is enough interest, we will do it this year. However, an alternative could be rather than rush up to the Peaks of Otter after the Super Sunday meal, a Saturday could be picked out on which to go. That could be just for the hike, or perhaps a picnic as well. Let’s talk about it.
Another option could be a picnic at a local park, such as Green Hill. This could be done on a Sunday afternoon because it is much closer and tends to offer more room for picnicking. Planing such an event would allow us to determine the right time to enjoy the fall colors, since the warming trend of recent years has backed off the fall display.
If you have changed your email address lately, give Keith a copy if you want to keep getting news and up dates.