Thu 2 Jan 2014
You’ve probably heard that atheists are having church. That’s good. Don’t be upset if they use the word “church.” It never meant “the called out,” as “ekklesia” did. What’s interesting is “church” come from the Latin and means something like “the Lord’s house.” So maybe the atheists shouldn’t use it.
Why do atheists want church? Because church is community and fellowship. It’s persons of “like precious faith” being together. In the case of atheists it might be “unfaith,” but not really, because they have faith there is no God, even though they may call it “fact.”
I even think the songs they like to sing should be in hymnals. Songs like “Lean on Me,” “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and others I don’t have room to mention. I’ve heard The Church of The Brethren kids at Camp Bethel sing “Lean on Me” with the gusto of an old time revival.
But I feel it my duty to issue the atheists a warning. Be careful. When people get together and start singing about being the wind beneath each others wings, unintended things start to happen. Even if they sing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” it might cause them to start imagining the wrong things. Things like, how can we live in peace and have the brotherhood of man? It’s not as simple as imagining it, it takes effort. It takes a reason, a desire. And I know Lennon calls on people to “join us,” but why should we? Why should we want an end to war, greed and violence? If we just live for today, why not just live for today?
I’m not attacking Lennon’s song. Songs are never meant to be looked at under a microscope. They are prose and poetry set to music. But “Lean on me when you’re not strong” seems to impose a certain value to persons that needs some explanation. Why are persons valued? We eat animals, but we don’t eat each other. Well, maybe there are some who still do, but cannibalism seems to be pretty much gone, except in missionary jokes. By the way, why is eating human flesh wrong? Why is anything wrong?
I can almost imagine a teenaged atheist telling his father he’s beginning to have doubts.
“About what, son?”
“About being an atheist. I know you and mom believe it, but I’m beginning to wonder if there is a God.”
“Son, what we know is not a belief, it is a fact. There is no God. Period.”
“Well, is there anything beyond us? Is what we know about good and evil true?”
“Good and evil are religious terms. We don’t use those words.”
“What about right and wrong? How do we know something is right or wrong?”
“Right or wrong might be too close to good and evil. How about acceptable and unacceptable?”
“So is having a lot of wives and girlfriends at the same time acceptable or unacceptable? And why?”
“Of course not. It is unacceptable because society says so. As society evolves, what is acceptable and unacceptable evolves with it.”
“But it’s not really wrong, you know, bad, except in some people’s opinion it is? Like rape. It’s only bad because people think it’s bad, but doing it is not bad in and of itself. Is that right?”
“That’s not how I would put it, but yes, the majority rules when it comes to setting the rules for what is acceptable and unacceptable.”
“But it’s not really wrong, just in some people’s mind. Does that mean the North, led by President Lincoln, was wrong to impose its idea of slavery on the South?”
“In a way, yes.”
“So slavery is acceptable, even though some people would not accept the accepted majority rules of the South? So neither side was right in the Civil War?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Well what about Martin Luther King and all those people who apposed segregation? Wasn’t segregation the majority view in the South and even enforced by the Jim Crow laws? Does that mean those who fought against the socially accepted views of segregation, were wrong, even immoral? How about apartheid in South Africa? Doesn’t there have to be something firm and consistent?”
“I think you need to go ask your mother.”
CONCERNS: Regan, the ten year old who had brain surgery, died on Christmas day. Keep the following people in your prayers as they deal with a variety of problems and illnesses: Zona Fisher, Wayne and Susan Phlegar, Rich Crites, Gary Overstreet, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, Garrett Lee’s classmate, Hannah, Gil Richardson, Richard Crite’s sister, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Sharon, Del Bolin’s friend, Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Alma Martin, Tim Elder and Mary Smith. Two friends of Jim Hunter have asked for prayers for their mothers, a Mrs. Pruit and Mrs. Matara.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JANUARY 6-11
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday Psalm 105:1-45
OUR DAILY BREAD: JANUARY 13-18
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
BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Joanne Elder’s first grandchild, Liam David Elder, was born at On Christmas day. He weighed in at 8lbs and was 22 inches long.
Since the last bulletin two of our families have suffer losses due to death. Bill Branch’s brother, Charles, died in Texas, and Connie Crites’ brother died in Wyoming. We wish the peace of God’s assurance on both of these families.
Jenni Cullum has moved to Richmond. She will be living with her sister, Debbie and her husband, Jay. She will be with them until a place opens up through the Traumatic Brain Injury network. This is a good move for her because she will now be close to her immediate family.
For the time being, her address is 4303 Croatan Road, Richmond, VA 23235.
THE NEW FRIDGE
If you look in the communion preparation room you will see the refrigerator The Crites gave the church as they replaced it with a new one. It will be very helpful to all of us.
A CHRISTMAS CARD
On the foyer table you can see a Christmas card sent from the Sturms. There are eight (count them) grandchildren in the picture with Diane. Lewis is in the photo inserted at the left bottom. A greeting to all is on the back.
Jim White is certainly no stranger to us and has been involved in helping in any way he can, and last Sunday he indicated he wanted us to see him as an active member of this congregation. Jim was baptized into Christ as a youngster, and became the husband of Martha (White) Foy in 2009.
Remember our work with breakfast items for troops in Afghanistan. A list of items needed is on the table in the foyer. Add to that list, coffee, sugar, sweetener and creamer.