Roanoke Church of Christ



As I look back, I’m not sure how I got here. I started out to become a Church of Christ preacher. I knew what Church of Christ preachers said and how they said it. Even before college I gained a reputation as a preacher, which convinced me even more that I should be one.
Then came collage. It was there, with the influence of men (and women) I began to be more and more interested in What the Bible taught, rather than what I had heard preachers preach.
It had it’s scary moments, especially when I realized there were parts of Bible I never heard taught or preached. Paul’s view of ethics was captivating. All I had heard was that we should never do anything that would cause someone to “stumble.” Which meant when someone complained about some issue with which they disagreed, like eating in the same building where worship took place, you yielded to their demands Where to eat was never an issue in the church I attended in Cincinnati as a child.
I soon learned as a young preacher, that the Bible had regional interpretations. When the folks in Cincinnati decided to go bowling after church, or scheduled a bowling party with any deacons and elders who wanted to go, all bowling alleys in Cincinnati served alcohol. There was usually a cocktail lounge nearby. No big deal. We went. We also played rummy, canasta and other “face card” games. No big deal. However, when I started to preach, I found regional, or should I say, sectional areas where bowling where any alcohol was sold, was off-limits to Christians, as was playing any face-card game. Rook was fine, it didn’t have the Devil’s face on the cards.
Tobacco was not preached against in areas where church members made much of their living from growing it. However, women wearing too much makeup, too much jewelry, and short hair. (Determined by inspiration to mean any hair shorter than the shoulders) was fair game. The hair applied to men as well. By the way, this was not just the CofC preachers who took the Bible to say things like that, lots of others did as well. This would indicate that such an understanding of scripture was not only regional, but cultural as well. What I mean by cultural ( a word not liked by a sizable number of preachers) is that upon examination we discover that the cultural period of history in which we live determines how we interpret scripture. I need not list examples to prove this. The way we used the Bible to support slavery, segregation and women is argument enough.
One verse branded on the brains of Christians, was and is, 1 Thess. 5:22 (KJV) “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”As I remember, most preachers said, “Abstain from the very appearance of evil.”
Again, there is no need for me to explain that verse, except to say it simply says, in modern English, “Stay away from all kinds of evil.” But even that is subject to interpretation. What appears to be evil to one person may not appear evil to another. Please keep in mind that Paul thinks Christians have enough sense to know what he is talking about. We are the ones who have to make the lists. He is not telling Christians to decide what has the appearance of evil and then hold everyone to it. I’ve mentioned before a man who would not drink root beer out of a brown bottle any place where he might be assumed to be drinking real beer. Did he want others to do he same? It was pretty evident that he though they should, for fear of the appearance of evil. Need I even need to mention how many times Jesus failed the “appearance” test.
The above are just some of the issues which have caused me to keep digging to understand the Bible in its own time and place in history. That is not to say that the moral and ethical teachings are limited by time and culture. The fundamental teachings in the Sermon on the Mount in both Matthew and Luke call us to a standard far beyond a general world view.
That being said, I think the Bible should be examined and studied from every angle. We should consider that the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) belonged to the Jews, and was interpreted by them, long before Jesus was born. Therefore, in the last few years I have been looking at how the Jewish teachers understood and understand the Hebrew Bible.
In some ways I think Christians have “Christianized” the “Old Testament”. I’m not talking about hunting down all the possible prophesies about Jesus. I’m talking about making the OT fit a more accepted understanding.
An easy example is when Christians talk about “biblical marriage” in defense of a one woman and one man union. If we want to use Adam and Eve, let’s face it, Adam didn’t have a choice. But Adam’s son Cain has a grandson who “takes” two wives. Abraham ‘s wife Sara is childless, so she tells him to take her Egyptian servant as a “wife”. (Gen. 16:3 NIV) We know how that worked out!
Later, Jacob married two sisters, and we know about the kings of Israel and their concubines and wives. There is no condemnation of polygamy. That’s hardly new news. However, there is a law in Deuteronomy 25:5 which instructs the brother of a deceased man who has no heirs, to marry the dead brother’s wife. No exception is provided if the surviving brother happens to already be married. “Christainizing” the text insists that the Levirate marriage be done only if the surviving brother is not married. In fact, little is said about the marital status of the Levirite. There was even a way to avoid doing it. (See the book of Ruth) But Levirate marriage was a very serious issue. Since polygamy was common, and Jacob had married two sisters, it would not be beyond the surviving brother to have two wives. That being said, the law Levirate marriage soon disappears in Judaism, which should mean even scripture is subject to time and culture. Keeping that in mind can help us find the real meaning of the Bible.

CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell is home but still not well. Martha Flora, Wayne’s mother is also having health problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David is still being treated for brain cancer. Deanna McRoy. Linda Alsup, Debbie McRoy’s cousin and her husband,Prentice have health issues. Keep the parents of Joni and Alan Beach in prayer, as well as Carrie Bolin, Del’s mother. Also a friend of Leena Bolin who has stress issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber. Ray and Darnell Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder. Remember those who are recovering from the storms .
On this third Sunday we are pleased to have Del Bolin’s brother, Doug, bring the sermon for today.

This is Super Sunday. If you stay for the fellowship meal you will be able to see some of the change we have made in the lighting. The old lights were getting dangerous due to some issue which kept them overheating and burning out. Since they were at the very top of the ceiling they required a longer ladder than we had.
More lighting will be installed, probably on the fans down the middle and along the sides to give more light for reading. Plan to stay and enjoy the room and the meal.

THANKSThanks to those who came out last Saturday to spruce up the place. Also to those who cooked at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday evening.

We will be sending money to the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville, TN to aid in relief for those suffering from the two recent hurricanes which damaged Florida as well as Georgia and the Carolina’s.

This being the third Sunday, we will have two contributions. One for Health Talents ABC and the regular one for the work here.

We had visitors from Ohio with us last Sunday, which was good because several of our group was away.


My sister, Betty and her husband Kenneth, along with their three year old son, Timothy, left Cincinnati in 1957 for a new start in Mobile, Alabama. Why Alabama? They had become good friends with the minister of our church, Glenn Martin, and his wife, Dee. When Glenn took a church in Mobile, they decided that would be a place to relocate where they already knew someone.
They bought a little house on Ralston Rd, a street where it seemed each house outdid the others with beautiful crape myrtles in their yards.
In the early seventies they moved across the Mobile Bay to Fairhope, a beautiful little town on the bay, which over the years had served as a summer respite for those from Mobile and the surrounding area.
My parents moved to Mobile in 1965, and when we visited them after Betty moved to Fairhope, the Fairhope Pier became a favorite place to fish. Betty’s cottage was about three blocks from the bay park and pier. It was also an easy drive to Gulf Shores.
They became active with the Fairhope Church of Christ until discord took them to Spanish Fort, about 17 miles away. Betty would work at several jobs, among the as a LPN, though she had to stop when they found she was a carrier of TB, even though she had never had it. She and Tim went to work at Engels Shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, a 75 mile one way trip each day. She was trained and worked as a pipe fitter. Her husband took several jobs, among them an insurance salesman.
After the shipyard became too difficult, and nearing retirement, she and Kenneth went to Newton, NC and worked in the textile industry as well as security guards. Upon reaching retirement age they returned to Fairhope. Kenneth would die a few years later from a heart attack.
In the mid eighties she took our mother to live with her after our father died. My parents had moved to where our brother lived in Greenville, SC. The storms and hurricanes began to bother them. Afer our mother died, Betty busied herself caring for an aged neighbor, as well as picking up older women who needed a ride to church. Her years with the Spanish Fort church were among her happiest.
As she aged and her health began to fail, she ended up in a nursing home a block or so from her house where our mother had died. It was not a good place for her, and at Christmas 2014 she came to live with us in Roanoke.
It was a hard adjustment, but she soon fit in and sent everyone a colored picture on their birthday, as well as any other special day she saw in the church directory. She colored to improve the shaking of her hands.
In late July, at 90, she started to fail and lingered until September 8.
As our daughter, Hope (who did the driving) and I arrived in Fairhope I was reminded again why she loved it so much. If you ever get a chance, visit it. The live oaks reach across the streets as if to be touching hands, with Spanish moss as the gift to be received. Crape myrtles, azaleas and other flowers compete for your attention. Quaint shops line the streets and the lights of Mobile can be seen at night from the pier.
As we left the cemetery, both Hope and I commented that we felt good that we could bring Miss Betty home. Keith

The Sunday morning after I had arrived home from Alabama on Saturday, the call came that Bill(y) Branch had died. Bill had entered the hospital only a few weeks before to be treated for a mass in his shoulder. At 90, like Betty, he was getting tired. Soon it became evident that he was slipping away and after a few days in Friendship Manor South, he went home and passed away, surrounded by his family, on September 16th.
The name Bill Branch and the Roanoke Church of Christ are bound together like the strands of a rope. Bill was a foundational part of this congregation before this building was built. It was his place, his spiritual home, even though his spirituality was far and beyond the walls of this building. There is hardly a benevolent work in Roanoke that does not have something of him in it, as his obituary stated.
As far as his personality, I never saw him as anything but enjoyable to be with and his wonderful chuckle. No Super Sunday will be the same without seeing him leave as soon as possible and return with almost enough chicken to feed all of us.
He loved being with people, and the celebration of his life held at the annex was exactly what he planned. Food, music, good friends and good memories shared by the people Billy touched.

(It is with great sadness that the following developed this past weekend)
While Judy and TJ were visiting with their son Perry and family in NC, Judy choked on some food and went into cardiac arrest. She was revived and taken to a hospital, but was not able to recover. With her family with her, as TJ said, “She is at Home with her Father.”
She was cremated and will be placed beside their stillborn child in Louisville, KY at Christmas, which was her favorite holiday.
A celebration of Judy’s life was held in the church annex on September 6.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, Judy was remembered by the congregation during the worship period as we shared memories of her.

All of this has hit us hard. Three deaths in about three weeks. However, as we have done in the past, we will lean on our faith in God, the resurrection and each other as those who have passed would want us to do. As Paul wrote, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell is very seriously ill after surgery. Martha Flora, Wayne’s mother is having health issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (cancer issues) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David, is being treated for brain cancer. Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin, Linda Alsup, is having health issues, and her husband, Prentice is recovering from cancer surgery. Keep both Joni and Alan Beach’s parents in prayer, as well as Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie. Also a friend of Leena’s who is having stress related issues. Remember Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and family, Ray and Darnell Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Til Elder.

1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner 3-James and Megan Downing
4-Garrett Williams 14-Connie Crites 8-Mike and Karen Branch
15-Mary Willa Foy 20-Lyn Jordan 9-Scott and Bonnie Blessing
24-Teryn Gaynor 24-Susan Phlegar 19-Jeff and Sherry Bland
27-TJ Hall

For those of you receiving hard copies of the bulletin, you will notice a little “crowding” in this issue.
There was no “mid-month” issue printed due to the death of my sister, and my travels to Alabama to bury her, which took place during that week.
As you will read inside, as a congregation we have had recent moments of sorrow, from Betty’s death and then the following week, the death of Bill Branch, and then the sudden death of Judy Hall the week following.
It was good to see Ben Robertson with us last Sunday. He is still in Manassas, but would like to be back in this area. Say a prayer about that.
The annex lighting and air circulation is coming along well. The fans will be installed later, due to a size issue with the originals.
Several weeks before Betty Billings became ill, she asked if there was something she could do for the church. The new chandeliers in the annex was her gift.
Jonathan Edward Elder and Cara Lee Hoopes were married on October 4, in a ceremony at Fincastle. We wish them many years of happiness.
We will resume our Wednesday evening service on October 10. WE will continue with the study of John’s Gospel.
The tree that fell during Florence has been cut up and the wood given away. However, there are some limbs etc. which need to be cleaned up.


In the last bulletin article I stumbled upon something that caused me to ask some questions about how the Law of Moses was delivered and applied. That question had to do with the daughters of Zelophehad coming to Moses with the request that their father’s inheritance be given to them since their father died having no sons.
What I noticed was that since the question had to be asked, the apparent answer up to that point was that daughters did not directly inherit, but that it was given to some other male relative. This seems to be a new situation brought up by five independent women.
By the time this happens in Numbers 27, the Law had been signed, sealed and delivered and Joshua had been anointed the new leader of Israel. The question has to do with how flexible the Law was when it came to new situations? If God gave it in full content, why was there a need for Moses to, as it says in v.5 “So Moses brought their case before the Lord”? I also find it rather delightful that the Lord says the women are right, they deserved the inheritance.
Now, I could ask if God forgot that law when the Law was being given, but it seems to me to say something more important. It seems to say the Law was not beyond being understood in a broader way than it might seem. That the law was flexible in that each new situation could be “taken before the Lord” for a resolution. Something similar happens in Leviticus 24: 11,12. The son of an Egyptian father and an Israelite mother blasphemed”the Name” during a fight and they inquired about the will of the Lord. He was stoned. In Numbers 9:8 the question came up concerning the Passover and some who were unclean because they came in contact with a dead body: Could they observe Passover? It says the Lord told Moses they could. Again in Numbers 15:34 it is about a man gathering wood on the Sabbath. Even though the Sabbath law had been given on Sinai it says in v. 34 the man was taken into “custody because it was not clear what should be done to him.” The Lord, through Moses condemned him to death.
Note that the Sabbath law had been given long before this. It said in the nutshell that no work could be done by any person or animal on the Sabbath. However, what “work” meant was not clearly defined. Therefore, as situations would arise, decisions about possible violations would have to be brought “before the Lord” for resolution. What that means seems to be, Moses praying for guidance.
As we know, those who would interpret the Sabbath (the Talmud) would eventually come up with 39 categories with 39 detailed instructions for each category. We’re not told how God felt about that.
We also know that view of the Sabbath was a problem for Jesus. Since the Law didn’t specify in detail what “work” was, it became a burden that the religious rulers imposed and the Jews twisted to suit their needs.
Let me add one other consideration. The second Commandment said there could be no “images” of any living thing. The NIV does a good job here by using “idol” instead of image.
How was “idol” or “craven image”defined? On the mercy seat there were several images of animal-like creatures. Were these “craven” images? No. Why? Because they were understood to represent the power and majesty of God, not God, or a (false) god. If we add to that the bronze snake Moses held up in the wilderness (which seems a little borderline), we see the reason the Jews would shy away from any craven image. The snake later became an object of worship way up in the time of Hezekiah. That resistence to “images” would carry over to Jesus’ day and even today.
What’s my point? All through their history the Jewish rabbis have read the Law and the prophets and then did their best to interpret and apply those commandments. Did they come to a unanimous agreement? No. And we need to keep in mind the Hebrew scriptures belonged to them and they were serious about getting it right. So if they don’t interpret it they way we would, we need to respect that they were (are) as sincere as we are.
So just as they took scripture and applied and interpreted it according to situations as they arose, so should we. Of course, we might say Moses had some kind of direct line to God, but we would have to say the same thing about the prophets who often wrote, “And the word of the Lord said to…”
Perhaps this flexibility is what Paul was thinking about when he said, “He (God) has made us confident as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” II Cor. 3:6. I would suggest reading that in context, or all of chapter 3.

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS: 13-Joanne Elder 25- Mark McRoy 25-Judy McWhorter 29: AC Fuller

CONCERNS: Betty Billings is in hospice care in room 106, Raleigh Court HRC. BillBranch remains in RMH while they prepare him for rehab at Friendship Manner on Starkey Road. Gary Overstreet is now at home. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell; Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law is still waiting on a biopsy of his remaining brain cancer. Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie, is dealing with aging issues. Deanna McRoy; Joni and Alan Beach’s parents; Teryn Gaynor’s mother has resumed cancer treatment. Remember Leena Bolin’s friend who is dealing with family stress. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver; Marjorie Weaver; Melanie Gentry and family; Wayne Phlegar; Ray and Darnel Barns; Gil Richardson; Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

At the time of this writing, the weather and everything else looks good for the Labor Day Weekend Bar-B-Que. Thanks to everyone who helped.

We have an estimate for redoing the lighting in the annex and as soon as possible, the work will start.

Please remember to lock all doors in the building and annex when you leave. They have been found unlocked recently.

Feeding America is once again having a peanut butter drive. Peanut butter is a good source of nutrition and tastes good too. Place the jars on the table across from
back staircase or on the table in the foyer. The drive is through August, but they say they can use peanut butter all the time.

The Dale Ridge congregation is having Ladies Day on Saturday, September 15. The guest speaker is Angela Tanksley from Knoxville, TN. More information can be found on the table in the foyer.

VISITORS While the Bolin’s others may be away this weekend, we had Alan Beach’s brother and sister-law with us last Sunday.

The Wednesday evening Bible study is in the Gospel of John. On Sunday mornings the study is from the book of Acts.


While looking for something in what was once Wilma Cullum’s desk, I saw a folder flat on the bottom of the large middle drawer. In it I found a bulletin article by Mike Brown from 1995 and what seems to be part of a bulletin introducing the Elders. As to the date, Jenni Cullum was 8, Alan Hawkins was 7, and Melanie Brown was 3. Any other Elders were on the missing pages.
What caught my eye was part of an article which concluded with this: “Nowhere does the Bible teach that women are to be kept in a subservient role and treated like second-class citizens of the Kingdom of God. Certainly stereotyping and dehumanization of women, and treating them as mere sex objects are attributes that must be rejected. Male and female are one in Christ (Gal.3:28). Both are of equal worth and dignity to the Creator in whose image they were made. And the man-woman relationship will begin to be what God wants it to be only when each can recognize the others’ worth, live in mutual love and submission being aware of their mutual dependence, and grant to each other full personhood. “ Roger Coffman
In 1987 the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood said, the proper role of a woman in marriage is “willing submission” to her husband. Men and women are supposed to be different; and one difference is that the men should lead and the women follow much in the same way that Jesus led his flock and his flock followed. “Sin inclines women to resist limitations on their roles.” So let’s talk about Biblical women
It is often stated that the Bible was written about men for men. All the big names are men, Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, etc.. But there is also Ruth and Esther. Stand alone books. The Ten Commandments put mothers and fathers on equal footing. Lev. 19:3 says, “Mothers and fathers are to be revered”
In Numbers 27 there is a refutation of a common idea about Jewish women and inheritance. Five daughter’s of Zelophehad (he had no sons) came to Moses and the priest and said, “Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”
Before we get to the answer, the question implies that up until that time the answer to that question was clearly: No. Why else would Moses have to bring it “before the Lord”? Verse 8-11 sets a new precedent. Granted it is not complete equality with men, but neither is it an exclusion of women.
In the story of Samson his mother’s name is never mentioned. His father is Manoah, and his wife is childless. An angel appears to the wife and tells her she will have a son and instructs her how to raise him. She tells her husband and he prays to God to give him the information firsthand. So much for trusting your wife!
The man (angel) appears again to the wife while she is in the field. (Take that Manoah!) She runs to get Manoah and he follows her back to the field. He asks the angel if he’s really the one who talked to his wife. When he gets his assurance he asks how to raise the boy. (The wife has already told him!) Notice how it says (vs. 13) “Your wife must do all I have told her.”
Manoah invites he angel to stay for supper but he refuses and tells him to offer a sacrifice instead. The angel ascended in the flame of the sacrifice. Manoah now recognizes he has been in the presence of an angel of the Lord. “We are doomed to die! We have seen God!” His wife said, (“Dummy) if the Lord was going to kill us why would he have accepted the burnt offering and told us all he did!” In the story Manoah is a numbskull. The wife is the hero. She is entrusted with the upbringing of Samson. And while she has no name, the meaning may be that a name had nothing to do with ones worth.
Regardless of assumptions concerning the value and mental agility of women, the Bible has several places where the women is smarter and wiser than a man. Deborah, a married woman, leads Israel. (Judges 4:4) In her story is Jael, who kills an enemy commander named Sisera while he hides in her tent.
In David’s story, Abigail gets her foot-in-mouth husband, Nabal out of trouble as much as she can, until he is killed.
In contrast to that, Lev 27 seems to place less value on females than males. Men twenty to sixty are valued at 50 shekels, women 10. Boys younger than five but older than one month are valued at 5 shekels, girls 3. After age sixty, men are worth 15 shekels and women 10. Er’s a question” Why aren’t children under one month worth anything? In fact, they are not counted in the census in Num. 3:14-15.
As to the different values of men and women may be based on the fact that men can do heavier physical work than a woman. A twenty-to-sixty-year-old woman was worth 30 shekels, twice the value of a sixty year old man.
On the other hand, the length of purification rituals between men and women are sexist. Also, in Num. 30:1-5 a man must keep his vow. However, if a daughter makes a vow the father doesn’t like, he can appose it and she will be released. And one would assume that if the father did not hear of the vow, she would have to keep it.
So, what about the NT? Is the CBMW right? They have scripture to back up their claims. Or do they? On the surface it seems so. But those who have studied and dug deeply into the background of the Greco-Roman world to which most of the NT epistles were written, say such scriptures must be understood within the social and cultural environment of that time. A good example would be the NT view of slavery. That is not a view that the insightful Christian holds today. Therefore, why the need to hold views on marriage from the same time frame different than ours? After all, Biblical marriage allowed polygamy.
CONCERNS: Betty Billings is in Raleigh Court HRC, room 106. She is receiving hospice care. Gary Overstreet is in Springtree HRC, but hopes to be home soon. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell is having serious health issues Keep the following in your prayers: Deanna McRoy, Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father. Leena Bolin’s friend who is struggling with stress. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law. The parents of Joni and Alan Beach, Del Bolin’s mother, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder

We were saddened to learn of the death of Susan Phlegar’s sister-in law. Susan went to Texas for her funeral.

Today is Super Sunday. The fellowship meal will be served in the annex following the morning service. Please stay.

If there is a need the steering committee will meet in the library after the meal.

The Dale Ridge congregation is having a Ladies Day on Saturday, September 15 which includes breakfast and
lunch. Among the speakers is Angela Tanksley from Knoxville, TN.
A flyer is on the table in the foyer.

A sign-up sheet for the Bar-B-Que is on the foyer table. It will be on Saturday, September 1. Moore details later.

Today’s service has been arraigned by Wayne Flora with Alan Beach leading the singing.

Thanks to those who cooked at the Ronald McDonald House and those who picked up the Panera bread.

The Sunday morning class is studying the book of Acts. On Wednesday evening the study is from the gospel of John.


The mind isn’t changed by someone else. The mind is changed by a willingness to be changed. A changed mind receives, sorts and sifts by using the wisdom, facts and knowledge at hand and then retains and discards that which does not fall into those (and perhaps even instinctual ) categories.
If I sound like I’m an expert on the subject, I’m not. However, as someone who deals with both the Old Testament (Hebrew) and the New Testament (Christian) Bible, I’m always struck by how the Bible is understood by those who read it.
I don’t know why I never encased the Bible in a steel vault, never to be taken apart and examined. I was, and am, always curious to examine a new idea about the Bible. Do I swallow everything which comes down the track? No. I see way too much of that from those who listen to and watch preachers as if everything they say is right from the mouth of God. (As if God had a mouth.)
I remember in a religion class, the teacher, Pat Harrell, said the passage in Matt. 19:24 (also in Mark and Luke) about the camel going through the eye of a needle could also mean a rope going through the eye of a needle. All I’d ever heard was about a (fictional) gate used to sneak into the city which was so small a camel could barely get through. Wow, I was impressed! It seems the two Greek words are very close in spelling and in being copied over and over it was possible a scribe may not have been able to tell what the scribe before him had written and did the best he could with it. Or, as some people, who rather insist it was “camel” say, it was hyperbole. The reason given is that if it isn’t camel, the inspiration (truth) of the scripture becomes suspect. My mind doesn’t work that way. Rope makes more sense to me, but camel is equally a hard thing to thread a needle with.
What I’ve noticed is that when such “changes” in long-held understandings are offered, there is an instant closed-mindedness expressed by a good number who refuse to accept any possible change.
Here’s another example. When Paul preached at Troas a young man named Eutychus, fell asleep and fell from a third floor window. He survived. Now, what I found interesting, as told by someone who also liked to look beyond the surface, that “Eutychus” means “fortunate.” Now, was that his name, or was that what he was called? It could be both, but to some the very thought that it may be more of a definition, rather than his name, is offensive. Remember, there are no upper case letters in Greek.
How about the story of young David killing the giant Goliath? Was David at a disadvantage when he went out to fight with only a slingshot? It makes a great story. Would learning something about “slingers” be too offensive? Joel Baden, Old Testament teacher at Yale, and writer Malcomb Gladwell, looking at the story of David and Goliath, says David was not at the disadvantage in the fight with Goliath that is traditionally depicted. David, as young as he was, was a “slinger.” A “slinger” was a person expert in using the sling as a weapon. Such people throughout history have been known to be able to hit a target at over a hundred yards. At 38 yards a stone could hit traveling at about 37 yards per second.
In a battle with a lumbering nine- foot tall man weighed down with armor, with a sword, which to use, he would have to get within striking distance, a slinger would have about as much advantage as a 45 caliber bullet against a knife. Slingers, like archers, could kill from a distance. However, an archer would be seen as an archer, and defended as such. The element of a bag of rocks and a sling gives an advantage of surprise.
Does that destroy the story of David and Goliath? I’m sure there are some people who will not entertain the possibility that the “slinger” idea can be true, even though it has historical president. Why? Because when it comes to the Bible and not just the Bible, the mind refuses to accept anything new.
Why are such examples worth thinking about? Because resistance to such changes in thinking also penetrate deeper issues.
Slavery was justified for centuries based on Biblical reading. Rev. Ebenezer W. Warren in a 1864 pro-slavery book, said it was against scripture to oppose slavery because the Bible said slaves should obey their masters just as children should obey their parents.
The same has been true when it comes to gender equality. This is still an ongoing issue. Those who used scripture to subjugate women have had to yield, even though they are not open about it. In my younger days a woman’s place was in the home, as it seemed to be for all time. However, in war-time things changed. Women worked outside the home. Again as inflation hit. One blue-collar salary was not enough. Preachers who had held the stay-at home-mom view found that their income from preaching did not meet the family needs, especially in formal education. So they eased up on that.
The view of divorce and remarriage changed because of a deeper investigation of scripture, at least for some. Adultery, is recognized as not just sexual, but also a breaking of the covenant vows of marriage, just as Israel was adulteress when it broke the covenant with God. Much of that was with another “love” idols.
It was inevitable that this would lead to a second look at the Bible and the recognition of the equality of women in all aspects of the church as have we and others, but still a minority in our churches.
There are other hard issues where scripture, along with current science, medicine and culture need to be examined.
When I’m gone I don’t want to be remembered as someone who shut the doors of the kingdom of God against those Jesus would welcome. I’d rather God tell me I opened them too wide, than not enough.

CONCERNS: Former members Debbie and Ray Reiss’s son-in-law has had a portion of a large tumor removed from his brain. Tests are being done to determine a course of action. Deanna McRoy, her type of cancer is prone to return. Richard Foy is doing better. Keep the parents of the Beach’s and Del Bolin’s mother and Teryn Gaynor’s parents in prayer. Leena Bolin’s friend is still dealing with stress related issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Amber is totally paralyzed. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and family. Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Today is Super Sunday. After the morning service we will enjoy our monthly fellowship dinner in the annex. Please stay and enjoy this time together.

Since this is the third Sunday of the month, the service will be conducted by Susan Jordan. Thank you Susan for sharing with us today. Her theme is “Then Sings My Soul.”

The steering committee will meet in the library following the Super Sunday meal to continue talking about the plan to upgrade the annex lighting and acoustics.

While we have had some of our folks away, we have been blessed to have visitors from Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Washington DC with us this month

In 1977, the governor of West Virginia, Jay Rockefeller, was warned of an impending blizzard coming from the west. He canceled businesses, government and schools and told everyone to go home and be prepared.
That day the sky was a strange beautiful blue. An eerie calm ensued. Everyone got ready for the “big one.” As I remember, not one flake of snow fell in most of the state. You can read about it on the internet.
Wednesday, a severe storm was pounding Smith Mt. Lake. Martha Albert was not able to get out. Storms were in most counties around us and we were told we’d all get some rain. Over half of the Wednesday crowd was not coming. So the service was canceled. Guess what? Not a drop of rain fell in Roanoke! O well.


Whenever I hear a politician quote scripture I cringe. They are out of their element. I would say there should be a law against it, but that would eliminate the fault revealed in such use of scripture. I would add to that list a good number of preachers.
Why? Because there two main reasons to quote scripture.
One is that the person has arrived at a conclusion (about just about anything) and wants to make it beyond being challenged. Just throw in a scripture and it’s untouchable.
The other use of scripture is to lay it out for examination, discussion and reflection. I have to admit Jesus did both, well, at least once. In Matt. 15:7 (also Mk.7) Jesus called some Pharisees and teachers of the law “hypocrites” and quoted from Isaiah to back it up.
My research tells me that Jesus quoted the OT (scripture) about 77-84 times. Only one time (maybe a couple more) did he use scripture to prove he was right. Of course, there are the “you shall not” passages spoken when he was tempted after his baptism. As far as I can tell by reading the list, the other times he used the OT (scripture) to cause people to examine who and what they thought about him or God, and what God had said for them to do. Splitting hairs? Maybe, but here’s my point.
If we get anything from the temptation story of Jesus in the wilderness, we get that any devil can quote scripture.
However, that doesn’t stop people from believing that quoting scripture or to site scripture somehow proves their point of view. I was once highly criticized by a guy who said I didn’t site any scripture in an article I’d written. Well, I couldn’t find any scripture about making snowmen and women. Just kidding. I don’t feel the need to use scripture to prove what I say is infallible. When I speak or write about the Bible, I want to express what I think I understand about it based on other teachings in scripture or other comments and explanations I believe are in harmony with scripture. I am well aware that there are varied opinions and views about the meaning of scriptures. The debate over the meaning of scripture is as old as scripture itself. Rabbi’s debated the meaning and the interpretation of the Law of Moses. Their conclusions are found in such works as the Mishnah and the Talmud. In them you will find varied explanations of Scripture.
Opposing views can make for good dialog and deeper understanding. In many cases it is about as significant as how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. However, in other cases it deals with issues which determine how people are to be viewed and treated. Does Romans 13 say that all government is ordained by God and the laws of such government must be obeyed by everyone? Or does it say the government is “God’s servant to do you good.” One view says blind obedience to all government is what is required. The other says when the government does what is “good” (v.4) for all its citizens it is of God.
How do we decide such dilemmas in scripture and even where scripture is not clear, or silent?
I’m going to quote some scripture for your consideration. I don’t have room for all of it, but I would encourage you to read I Cor. 2:10-16. Here’s a sampling: v.11″For who among men knows the thoughts who a man except the man’s spirit within him” V.12. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” V. 14. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” You will note that Paul never talks about the interpretation of scripture here. It is about understanding the Spirit of God as it guides our decisions.
Add to that one of my favorite passages for consideration, found first in Jeremiah 31:33 and in the New Testament in Hebrews 10:16. It is the promise of the new covenant. “This is the covenant that I will make with them after that time says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts and will write them on their minds.”
As I understand those passages, spiritual understanding comes from the Spirit of God, written on the mind and hearts of the believer. It is the Spirit in the person’s mind and heart that applies scripture. It is also that Spirit which applies God’s Spirit in situations where there is no scripture or clear agreement of scripture.
That means I have to do my best to know God through the Spirit of Christ and to understand enough to show that Spirit in all that I say and do.

7-Kathy Sirgy 8-Larry Foy 9-Nathan Flora 13-Samuel Blessing 16-Zona Fisher 19- Jim Hunter 21-Brock McRoy 25-Oliver Hogan 26-John Bolin
2-Jake & AC Fuller 4-Wayne & Susan Phlegar 13-Jim & Mary Smith

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is recovering from her illness and has been able to travel a little, as well as being at church. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in-law’s tests have come back negative for cancer. Debbie also has a cousin with health problems. Debbie’s daughter-in-law, Deanna, is in recovery from cancer. Del Bolin’s mother is at home, but dealing with aging problems. Leena Bolin’s friend’s father, diagnosed with cancer, has died, which adds to her other stress
related problems. Lilly, the young CF patient who had a double lung transplant is now in rehab at UVA Med. Center. Richard Foy (Chrone’s disease). Joni and Alan Beach’s parents; Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father; Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver; Melanie Gentry and family; Wayne Phlegar; Ray and Darnel Barns; Gil Richardson (ALS) Jamie Cole; Jim and Mary Smith; Tim Elder and Steve Fox, who is making wonderful progress.

Among the things discussed in the steering committee was the improved lighting and acoustics in the annex. A few ideas were explored and when they can be laid out, the congregation will help decide which lighting plan is most desirable.

There was a little scare last Wednesday evening. One of the ceiling tiles fell onto the floor due to the weight of some water which had collected in the insulation on top of it. At first it was thought the heavy rains had caused it and that the roof would have to be replaced. However, the problem was the drain for the air conditioners had stopped up and the catch pan had overflowed. Everything is good now. The roof is good for a little while longer.

Thanks to Lyn Jordan for cleaning up the weeds etc. on Carlton at the top of our property. That area looks so much better since Roger Fisher cleaned it before he died.

Because we are in the Summer season and many of us will be away, the service roster has some changes with some folks who usually only serve a week now serving all month. As always, if you are unable to be here, someone will take your place. Without knowing who will or will not be here all the slots were filled in and can be changed at any time.
Last Sunday we had several visitors. Among them were Wendy (Hall) Davis and her son, from Texas. Susan And Michael Smith from Alabama, and Susan Kelly.


Paul told Timothy (11 Tim. 2:15) to study and handle correctly the word of truth.
My intention here is to ask how we too should handle scripture reasonablely, within its historical and cultural context.
Did the New Testament have a historical and cultural context? Yes. If you agree with that, and you may not, it has to be understood (handled) in that context. Which means there are some passages which should be understood in that framework. Which also means the application for the later (modern) reader may have no contemporary application at all, except to illustrate a given point in time and culture. .
The foundation for this is that the early (NT) Christians expected Christ to return soon, even within their lifetime. See I Thess. 1:9, 3:12, 4:16-17; James 5:1-11, I Cor, 1:7 and I John 2:28, 3:2,3 to name only a few.
Let’s look at I Cor. 7 for example, and ask if these instructions (commands) are conditional or contemporary?
The chapter opens with Paul addressing “matters about which they wrote”. He answers a “matter” by saying, “It is good for a man not to marry” (NIV) Other translations use other terms, but we’ll use this one. Do Preachers preach that today?
His response is that due to “immortality” it’s okey to marry. In v. 5 he says marriage is because of “your lack of self-control.” Is that what we think and preach today? Remember, it’s in the book!
The same lack of self-control is applied to all unmarried and widows.” V.8&9.
V.10 Paul says the Lord “commands” the wife not to separate from her husband, but if she does she must remain unmarried, or return to her husband. He adds that the husband should not divorce his wife. Notice that according to Paul, the Lord commands (allows) the wife to leave her husband as long as it is not to marry another man. No reason is given. (More about that later.)
In vs. 12-16 Paul tells how marriage to non-believers should be handled. If the woman has an unbelieving husband who is content to live with her, she should not divorce him because of his unbelief. This is to work both ways. (V.15) However, if the non-believer wants out of the marriage, let them go. “A believing brother or sister is not bound in such circumstances.” Meaning the marriage is no longer binding, i.e., can be dissolved. There is also the issue of the non-believing “husband” (partner) being sanctified, as well as the children, through the believing partner. (V.14). The answers (?)) to that are about as many as the stars in the sky! It should be noted that even if Paul is granting divorce for such a situation, under his previous advice, neither should remarry.
In vs. 17-31 he sets out his view on all of this by saying “Nevertheless.” His main principle is based on this thesis: “Let everyone retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” Which is better explained in v20. “Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.”
So circumcised or uncircumcised, don’t try to change it. (Yes, there was a surgical attempt to make the circumcised appear uncircumcised.)
A slave? No problem, stay a slave, unless you can gain freedom.
A virgin? Forget marriage. Married? Forget divorce. Unmarried? Forget marriage, but if you do, it’s not a sin. If married, live as though single. (v.29) Mourning? Stop. Happy? Stop. Buying things is meaningless. (v.30)
Vs. 32-40. Unmarried men are more concerned about the Lord’s business. (More later) Unmarried women are better at the Lord’s affairs. Married women are not. Everyone must have undivided attention to the Lord.
If the man has a virgin-bride-in-waiting, who is getting on in years, it’s not a sin to marry her. But if marriage is not what the man wants, it’s not a sin to not marry the virgin-bride-in-waiting, but he does better if he doesn’t marry her. A widow can remarry, but only to a believer.
Let’s review. It’s better not to marry. This is stated several times. If one does, it’s due to a lack of self-control. (v. 5&9)
A wife can’t leave (divorce?) her husband to get another man, but she can leave him if she wants. No reason given. A man must not divorce his wife.
If married to an unbeliever and they are living in peace, no divorce. If the unbeliever wants out, let them go. The believer is not bound any more than if they died. Note v.39.
Each person should remain in the situation in which they were called, i.e., became a believer. Live like you are single if married and so on.
Conditional or contemporary? If contemporary, why does Paul want elders to be married, and doesn’t tell men to live like they are single in other writings?
As to women leaving (separating from) their husbands, if the Lord is expected so soon as to cause marriage to cease, perhaps these women wanted to be part of those single women who “worked for the Lord’s coming. (v. 34)
As to remarriage after the unbeliever leaves, this is not a contemporary discussion about divorce and remarriage. Paul has said it’s better not to marry (or remarry).
All of chapter 7 is conditional, because, as Paul says in vs.26, 29&31, “Because of the present crisis” “The time is short” and, “The world in its present form os passing away.” The expectation of Christ’s speedy return conditioned how Paul, at least at that time, instructed them to live. For us and the later believers, not so.
That being true, how much more of what we apply as instructions or beliefs is the result of the conditions and the culture of the New Testament period? To examine such questions is about handling the scriptures right.
CONCERNS: Judy Hall continues to improve each day. Lilly, the young woman who received a double lung transplant due to CF is now in rehab. Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie, spent some time in the hospital. Ellen Tidwell, Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law had a lump scan on Tuesday. Debbie’s has a cousin who is having health issues as well. Richard Foy (Chrone’s disease) Deanna McRoy; in cancer recovery. Joni and Alan Beach’s parents; Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father; a friend of Leena Bolin’s who is having stress problems. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry; Wayne Phlegar; Ray and Darnel Barns; Gil Richardson; (ALS) Jamie Cole; Jim and Mary Smit; Tim Elder, and Steve Fox a recently retired minister who is being treated for neurological issues.

Our thoughts today will be directed by Mike Branch. Our thanks to him for the message.

Out sympathy is extended to Lyn Jordan in the death of a cousin who died over a week ago. The funeral was in Knoxville, TN.

Today is Super Sunday. The fellowship meal will be in the annex following the service. Visitors are considered our honored quests. Please stay.

There will be a steering committee meeting in the library following the Super Sunday meal.

During the summer months many of our congregation will be traveling. If you are going to be away, let Keith know. In relation to that, the Susan Jordan (and sometimes Lyn) will be away for the rest of June. The Bolin’s will also be away in July. During one of those “aways” Del will be lecturing in Greece.

Mike Branch invited me (KW) to sit in on a scipe session with the daughter of Joy Johnson, the former director of the Rescue Mission, who is studying at Notre Dame. She is involved with the Mennonites. When asked about evangelism among that group, she said their growth comes from the members sharing how much they enjoy being part of their church. When I heard that I thought about those of our church who have come to us for the same reason.


(The following is email intercepted by Heaven Wide Security. How they reached me via the deep state is a matter of world-wide security requirements.)

Dear Beevil,
It has been several years since we had a summit on how the thing called Facebook has helped our cause. That being the case, the Great One says it’s time for those of us in the higher levels of our government to come together to review and plan for future.
The summit has been set for September of this year. The exact date will be forthcoming. It will be on the island of Banaba, which is part of Kiribati of the Gilbert Islands. Banaba has a population of about 300 or so. It is also on the equator, which offers those of us from the underworld, so to speak, a place of comfort while we work.
What I need from you is a report from your section of the underworld as to how well our work is doing on Facebook in your part of North and South America.
I would’ve called, but there are no longer any secure lines. Even this secure email is subject to hacking by those who seek to limit our influence.
You will also notice I am using a new code name. It is always important to keep changing your code name, and I would advise you to do the same.
Please respond as soon as possible.
El Lobos

Great El Lobos,
I am happy to say that since our last communication our work on Facebook has outperformed our wildest expectations! Now we have Twitter to add to that as well!
As you know, email worked well for it’s time. Facebook has surpassed that by far. Did you hear about the Russians? They used Facebook (and Mark Zuckerburg) to influence the elections in the United States!
All they had to do was buy space and then put out anything they wanted people to believe! No one seemed to know it was the Russians, nor thought to investigate. As you know, if it looks believable, those who want to believe it, will. In fact, it works so well that the fact-checking sites are doubted. People post things about who is checking the fact-checkers! So as long as the fact-checkers are not believed, we are in business!
As we have known since the beginning of time, humans are self-serving before anything else. Remember the Eden story? As long as they can find anything which will support their preconceived, prejudicial self-serving ideas, we win. Facebook has become the Garden of Eden for us.
You need to read some of the evil, ugly and nasty responses to about any and all posts. Some posters will go on and on. It’s easy to see how, if they were face to face, it would turn violent. In fact such violence has increased. Others seem to use it to vent their wicked side. Which, of course, makes us winners.
Facebook has given humans a place to express the very worst of humanity while being unexposed. They use this thing called “hash tag” to hide their identity. They seem to have no idea we know who they are. Of course, our adversary, you-know-who knows what they say as well. But it doesn’t seem to bother them, even the ones who use their own names, or refer to themselves as “Christians.” It’s as if they are in another world.
Now, Twitter is another thing. It allows people to communicate with their followers almost instantly.
What we’ve found is that the time telling others your thoughts and activities consumes an astounding amount of time. We have even begun to see Twitter addiction.
I would invite you to come above before the summit and see for yourself. Go into any home or public place and people who could be talking to each other are looking at some form of electronic device! This has become a virtual gold mine for us!
In closing, it seems that the Russian thing has caused Zuckerburg and others to try to tighten their security. Good luck! We will always find a way to bring out the evil in people.
Your always obedient and faithful servant,
PS. Next time I will be El-Toro

Dear El-Toro,
What a good name for you! Now, I want you to hack these Facebook and Twitter accounts for me. Coded: vxctqu, pnutzj, 8s7gcvx, talp666n. Send them ASAP!
I look forward to seeing you at the summit. By the way, how is the little woman and all the little devils? I wish the summit could be a little vacation for all of the Devils family, but we have to remain as inconspicuous as possible. We will be going as archaeologists.
Until then,

Announcements: Martha Albert
Serve Communion: James Downing
Megan Downing
Carson McRoy
Connie Crites
Usher: John Bolin
Communion Care: Susan Phlegar
Singing: Scripture:
3-Scott Blessing Judy McWhorter
10-Alan Beach Mark McRoy
17-Karen Branch Steve Gaynor
24-Del Bolin Holly Wagner
Communion: Nursery:
3-Wayne Flora Susan Phlegar
10-Abraham Sirgy Megan Downing
17-Scott Blessing Holly Wagner
24-Mike Branch Alisa Flora
If you can’t serve call Erma Williams
13-Michael Branch 13-Susan Jordan
21-Wayne Flora 23-Betty Billings
29-Joni Beach

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is recovering at home and has been able to attend services. Matha Foy’s brother and Larry’s son, Richard Foy is struggling with Chrone’s disease, and may require surgery. Deanna McRoy has been declared cancer free at this time. However, her cancer is aggressive and has returned before. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law, Ellen Tidwell has a spot on her lung which is being monitored. Lilly, a double lung transplant due to CF, is in UVA Med Center. Keep Joni and Alan Beach’s parents, as well as Del Bolin’s mother and Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father in prayer. A friend of Leena Bolin also needs prayer for strength to cope, as does Steve Fox, a recently retired minister in WV known to Keith and others of this congregation. Sheila Jansen’s daughter, Amber Weaver, remains the same. She is paralyzed and unable to move or speak. Also Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Ray and Darnel Barns, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Since we have had to say goodbye to so many people over the last few years, it is exciting to announce that Stephanie Dixon is returning to Roanoke after spending about two years in Florida. She has a nursing job at the Glebe in Daleville. She plans to be in Roanoke in a week or so. When she arrives she will need help unloading the truck. More information on the time and place will be announced.

A woman who lives at the Stratford Apartment on Brandon Ave,. Would like to come to services here. She does not have a car so she needs a ride to the worship service.
If you come that way just for worship, talk to Keith. Her name is Susan Kelly. Her Phone number is 540-355-6318.

For those of you who attend on Wednesday evening, it has been discussed that the “soup supper” before the class be discontinued. It can work a hardship on those who travel farther to get here. However, if enough of the class wishes to continue we will.
If enough are there this Wednesday we will try to make a decision.
While the Sunday evening storms caused flooding in the Cave Spring area, as far as we know, none of our members had any more than some water which leaked into their basements.

Mike and Karen Branch are away, as are the Beach’s and Erma Williams. It was good to see Scott Blessing and the family able to be with us last Sunday.


by Erma Williams, as featured in the May Christian Chronicle in response to “Big Questions for Churches of Christ.”

(Due to space issues , the introduction about Erma is limited.) Out of 645 respondents they made Erma’s the featured response. She mentions her 26 years as a member here at Roanoke, and before that at University Park church in Hyattsville, MD. She mentions her work as a trainer for a publisher of children’s Bible class and Vacation Bible School material, which brings her in contact with many former members of Churches of Christ. She hears of totalitarian, controlling and cult-like stories about the Church of Christ.

What would you say defines a Church of Christ?

A Church of Christ is an assembly of believers who look to the scriptures to learn how to be Jesus centered.

What are some of the significant strengths of Churches of Christ?

There is no central headquarters, but there is the desire to search the scriptures for answers and not rely on hierarchy. We have the ability to visit any town in America (or the world) and do the “six degrees of separation” game, knowing someone who knows someone’s somebody.

In recent years, Churches of Christ in the US have declined numerically. Why do you think this is happening?

Distractions. Today we have Google to find answers to everything. Our 24-7 society (think Amazon) says you can get what you want when you want it–at whatever price you want to pay. Why wait until Sunday, much less Wednesday night, to get answers to our religious questions?
At the same time, I believe younger generations question everything we do. They want to know why we take communion each week. Why do we sing a cappella? Why do we not have women preaching? These are questions that make the church uncomfortable, and many of us are unprepared to answer. Too often we reply with “thou shalt not” instead of saying, “Well, let’s look together at what the scriptures have to say.”
Jesus didn’t attack his foes. He answered questions with questions. He allowed his audience to discover the answers. That requires patience, not a five-step plan for salvation–or Google.

Why are you a member of the Church of Christ?

It’s by design and faith. Yes, I grew up in the church, but I took ownership of my faith when I married and moved away from my family and my faith support system.
Marrying a non-Christian made me question everything I did. Seeking answers to my spouse’s questions in the Bible forced me to ask questions too. I have realized over the years that I was very blessed by my faith foundation but needed the extra little kick in the seat to get me engaged.
My foundation is rooted in a congregation that took extra special care and attention when my family went through a tragic incident when I was young. If it weren’t for them, I’m not sure that I would have had the endurance and desire to be the child of God I am designed to be. They taught by showing me, by loving me, and by being Jesus-centered themselves.

What excites you about your congregation?

My church gets it–gets that we are all broken, that all have sinned and fallen short. They understand that there are many outside the fellowship that need to be fed physically to be able to be fed spiritually.
There’s no judgement. We all come as we are, opening ourselves to what God desires us to be

What are your greatest concerns about our fellowship in the United States?

We must realize that churches of Christ have a bad reputation in the marketplace.
As a trainer who works with former church members, I am privy to many testimonies of how the church of Christ has failed them. They recount episode after episode of judgement, unsympathic leadership, and–my oh my–rules they’re being told to follow in order to belong.
A friend of mine attended a congregation whose elders marked an X on hymns they didn’t want led during the worship because of word choices such as “Holy Spirit.”
At a regional youth and children’s ministry networking meeting, during an introduction exercise, a lady beside me literally scooted her chair away from me when she discovered I worship with a Church of Christ.
Later I learned that her church had ridiculed her and her family when she was a teenager over some issue. She said her mom cried all the time and withdrew from the church (she had been involved in many church activities), and her father became aggressive and distant .
On the flip side, I learned of a congregation that split three ways. The elders were publically accused of lying and stealing, and resignations were demanded. None of the elders resigned but told each family leaving the church that they would always be welcomed back.
The elders showed grace, leadership and love to people to people who showed them disdain. Fast forward 20-plus years, and approximately 70 percent of those who left have returned. Many have apologized and become members once again.
We must not only show grace, but also tact and sensibility.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love the church as much as I love Jesus. I realize on a daily basis that not only am I an ambassador for Jesus, but I am also an ambassador for the church.
Often, there is a pregnant pause when I identify myself with the Church of Christ because of our negative reputation and marketing.
I’m proud of my heritage, my lineage and my foundation.
Still, I wish the church had more of a love and grace approach.

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is now at home and was able to attend Wednesday evening.
Scott Blessing has been house-bound due to his back. He is on all the pain medicine he can take. Pray for pain relief. Those who need continuing prayer are Deanna McRoy; Ellen Tidwell, (Debbie McRoy’s sister-in -law; Lilly, a double lung transplant recipient at UVA Med Center. Joni and Alan Beach’s parents; Del Bolin’s mother; Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. A friend of Del and Leena Bolin’s who is dealing with stress. Melanie Gentry; Wayne Phlegar; Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Tim Elder and Jim and Mary Smith. Ask the guidance of God for our graduates as they plan their future.

Today is Super Sunday. Stay and enjoy the fellowship meal in the annex following the service.

Congratulations to our graduates. Laura Hogan graduated from Hollins University. Logan McRoy graduated for James Madison, and Garrett Williams from Virginia Western.

Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men astray. Such is the banquet for our graduates.
May had conflicts with Mother’s Day and other logistical issues. June presented Father’s Day as well as other time related problems. Let’s remember those who attend the Super Sunday meal with a big hurrah!

Thanks to Susan and Lyn Jordan, along with Lyn or Susan’s sister, who gave Martha Albert, Holly Wagner and others a day off for Mother’s Day. ALSO: Thanks to a crew of folks who regularly pick up and deliver the Panera bread to the Rescue Mission.

We have had lighting problems in the annex for some time. The patchwork is no longer working so we will be making the change as soon as we can find an electrician to do the work. New lights will be installed in such a fashion so they can be serviced easier.

The Wagner’s are away today. Thanks to Wayne Flora for delivering the morning message.


In the adult class last Sunday, Mike Branch involved us in a discussion about how we understand, i.e., interpret scripture.
He brought a blog written by Joy Sylvester-Johnson, former director of the Rescue Mission. In it she talked about being reprimanded by a friend because her view of a certain scripture was in conflict with her friend’s understanding. She went on to discuss all the past teachings and influences we bring to scripture when we read it. In other words, we can’t all see the Bible alike, regardless the title of a sermon, article, or book on the shelf. That’s an illusion of the dilution.
It’s like saying if you have the same bat, the same stance in the batter’s box, the same height and weight, you could hit the ball as well as Hank Aaron. For basketball lovers, think Lebron James.
For the intellectuals out there, it would be like saying everyone who attended the same class, heard the same instructors, graduated with the same degree, would have the same understanding and application of the subject. All lawyers would interpret the law the same way, all doctors would have the same understanding of illness, there would be no need for a consultation.
Yet when it comes to understanding the Bible, only idiots disagree as to what it says and means.
Notice how Paul reinterprets Moses in Romans 10:5ff. “Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: ‘The man who does these things (in the law) (parentheses mine kw) will live by them.’ But the righteousness that is by faith says: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven…’” The last quote is from the book of Deuteronomy. Paul is “layering” scripture over scripture. He quotes Moses saying it is by the law that a man is righteous, and then quotes Moses to say righteousness is by faith. Which is it? It is both. Scripture interprets scripture. Moses said then, but now Moses says this.
In other words, Paul moves the meaning forward and interprets it in the light of Christ. That is still necessary. However, as in Joy Johnson’s case, not everyone would agree, as I’m sure not every Jewish rabbi agreed with Paul’s understanding of Moses.
Question: If your doctor said he or she was going to treat you with the same medical practices which were used a thousand years ago, how would you feel? If his or her understanding of illness was that of a thousand years ago, would you feel safe? If the only “official” medicine you could be given was the same medicine used a thousand years ago, would you feel okey with that?
Why is it then that when it comes to the Bible, we think everything in it has to be brought forward? There is nothing in the Bible that forbids polygamy. In fact, there are numerous examples of it. Is that “cultural?” So it seems, but how do we then separate other such “cultural” views?
What made God suddenly decide those who had physical deformities, dwarfism, eunuchs and others, were welcome in the assembly when God banned them in the Old Testament?
At one time, (even in my lifetime) the curse of Ham was taught as the reason for black-skinned people, and that they were a “cursed” people. This led to explaining why they could be enslaved and considered as less valuable than light-skinned people.
We are diluted by the illusion that the Bible can be understood the same by any and everyone who reads it. That was no even true in Biblical times. I stand with Paul when he says neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything of religious value. But not all Christians agreed. However, he never told those Jewish converts not to continue to circumcise their sons, in spite of the fact that circumcision was declared to be an “everlasting covenant” Gen. 17:9-14. If you read that text it is quite straightforward.
At no time did Jesus speak pro or con about it, even though he himself was. It is said that Peter’s visit to Cornelius, an uncircumcised Gentile, did away with it. Great. But why? Did it mean something to God, or did it comply with social beliefs at the time? The Egyptians practiced it as did other nations. Was it a reinterpretation of an old rite, which because of a better understanding of God, was tossed out by those who followed Jesus? The Jews have not changed their view of the “everlasting covenant.” How many other things are dividing people because of the refusal to look at God through the advances of human understanding?
If you want a good example of what happens when everyone understands the Bible alike, look at Jesus. The general consensus was he was wrong and the guardians of the word were right. That dilution got him killed.
Can we all agree with Jesus when he said, “By their fruit you will know them.”

CONCERNS: Good news! Judy Hall is now recuperating at home. The spot on Ellen McRoy’s lung is being monitored. She is Debbie’s sister-in-law. Keep Deanna McRoy in prayer that she may remain cancer free. Jim Hunter is three years cancer free now. Carlos and Silvia Baltedano as they settle in Nashville. Lilly, who is a CF
double lung transplant patient is not doing well at UVA Med Center. Remember the mother of Del Bolin, The parents of Joni and Allen Beach and Teryn Gaynor. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder. Tim is having serious problems with diabetes.

Today we are blessed to have with us Shen Kretzschmar, who is a nurse with Health Talents and works among the people in and around Chichicastenango, Guatemala. She will be speaking after a brief sermon by Keith. She has also brought her parents with her and we welcome then to Roanoke.

Jeff and Kathy Martin have moved. They had someone who made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Their new address is 7022 Mountain Spring Trail, Roanoke, 24018 Vivian will be joining them soon, if not by today.

The Wagners will be away on Super Sunday, May 20, Keith is conducting a wedding in Huntington, WVa. for the daughter of a couple he married several years ago. They will be returning on Sunday.

The banquet for our graduates has been rescheduled for June. May was just too busy to enable as many friends and relatives to be able to come. However, it will be an evening function in the annex.

Congratulations to Garrett Lee Williams who receive his AA Degree from Virginia Western. To Logan McRoy who will graduate from James Madison University and Laura Hogan who will graduate from Hollins University. They will be honored at the banquet in June.

The lights in the annex are acting up again so some changes will be made as soon as we can get it done.