Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: August 2012


Why does a bird stare at the snake until it’s too late? Why does a moth fly into the flame? Why do we read letters to the editor? Why do I read things I know are going to frustrate me? Is it just human nature?

I receive a “journal” of sorts in which I know there will be articles that make me shake my head in wonder. And yet, each time I skim through it to see the latest issues on the author’s minds. Sometimes I get through in a hurry, sometimes not. The snake is staring back at me.

The latest had to do with what is assumed to be current issues in the nation in this political era. Naturally such things as abortion and sexuality were there, along with divorce. Along with those were divorce and sowing discord. I was pleased to even see an article on how God hates social injustice. The author quoted extensively from the prophets and the letter of James. The problem was the only illustration he expanded on was how pornography made people poor. He never mentioned the personal, corporate and political greed that robs people of a better life, which was the basis of the prophet’s lament, as well as James. He did point out that the rich man ignored Lazarus’ needs.

All of the articles were underwritten with the selected scriptures to prove the writer’s point. But it was the one on abortion that caused me the most head shaking.

Abortion is a hot topic, and there are lots of opinions about it. But as we try to deal with it we should be honest and not build cases on the faulty use of scripture, which is what this man did. He uses Ps. 139:13-16 and Job 31:15 as proof that God forms us in the womb. He says, “God did not ‘knit’ together a mere chemical activity or cellular growth…” He then (somehow) jumps to the conclusion that the “unformed substance” Ps. 139:16 was the “embryonic state, the first eight weeks after conception.” How he knows this is not reveled. He says, “He (God) formed us in the womb, human beings, in his own image.” Allow me a little sarcasm. If what he says is true, God may need to take “knitting” lessons. Does God knit together a child with both sex organs, as sometimes happen? Does God knit together a child and forget to add the hands or feet? Does God knit together a child with any birth defect? Now that is an offence to God!

He also ignores Verse 15, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth your eyes saw my unformed body.” (“Substance” KJV) You will note that the “unformed substance” is not in the womb, but in a secret place in the depths of the earth. Having read that you may want to go see The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a delightful movie about a childless couple who planted I’m not sure what in their garden and got a wonderful little boy.

Psalm 139 also says God “ordains” all our days, which I suppose for him means the child that only lives one day was ordained so by God. Now that’s an offence to God!

He needs to be sure the child is born innocent so he bends Rom. 9:10-13 and somehow thinks Ezek. 18:1-10 means that. What he will not touch is Psalm 51:5. “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

He also goes to Exodus 21:22-25 where the situation is two men fighting and a pregnant woman is somehow caused to have a miscarriage. More than one understanding of this text has been given, but the author concentrates on the loss of the child and the phrase, “life for life”. One might ask if this instruction is limited to two men fighting, assuming one is the husband of the injured woman, or to any caused miscarriage. If it’s for any caused abortion, and the “life for life” applies today, a kid on a skateboard recklessly coming around the corner and hitting a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry, would have to be killed. Right?

The main problem, other than careless and prejudicial use of scripture, comes from taking literally words and phrases that were written to be poetic, which is the case in the quotations from the Psalms. You don’t get to the truth by building on untruth and prejudice.

CONCERNS: Phillip Pierce’s mother is in ICU and is very ill. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, is recovering from a stroke in Lynchburg. Jim will be spending weekends with her for awhile to help out. Martha Foy’s mother is having some health issues. Martha has a friend, Lauren, who needs prayer due to health problems. Connie Crites’ brother (cancer), Jim Hunter is improving each day. Stephanie Dixon is in Guatemala. Her boss’s son, Grayson, had surgery at Duke to help restore his sight which was lost due to an accident. Sharon (cancer), Billy (cancer) and his wife, Katy, who is pregnant with their fourth child. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick (cancer), Jenn McCready (Vision problems). Mark McRoy’s friend, Ken Teatino who is being treated for cancer, also has liver failure. He has been sent to Duke for evaluation. Remember Helen Nicklas, Jenni Cullum (Jenni may have to have hip surgery soon) Alma Martin, Ron Matney, Joni Beach’s mother (cancer), Tim Elder and the work of Health Talents Int. and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday: Psalm 146:1-10
Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98: 1-9

Even though this is being typed before the annual Labor Day Weekend Bar B Que, the weather looked as if it would be good. A thanks goes out to all the “cooks”, and those who brought the “fixin’s” and especially Chef Jeff who took care of getting all the meat and flavoring.
Stephanie is in Guatemala this week working with Health Talents International and the Ezell Clinic. This is her first trip. She will return on Saturday.
A thank you card from Roger Fisher concerning the passing of his son, Steven, was overlooked in the last issue of the bulletin. It reads: “A special thanks to my church family for all your prayers, cards, phone calls, visits and just knowing all of you were there for me.

The card is on the downstairs bulletin board.

We also received a card from the folks at the Ronald McDonald House for the work we did there recently.
Periodically we receive notes from the two children we help educated via the ABC program in Guatemala. These have arrived and will be read, as well as posted for you to see.
Just over a month away is our Weekend Bible School. Since school has started we really can’t call it “Vacation Bible School”. Maybe since it’s in October we could call it “Oktoberfest Bible School” Either way, it will be the weekend of Super Sunday and the Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic, which is October 19-21.
We are still gathering ideas and costs concerning the new sound system as well as the video screen, We also need to take a good look at improving the lighting in the auditorium. The large bulbs for the old fixtures are getting hard to find. There has been some talk about adding padding the pews to our list of upgrades. Share your thoughts with any of the steering committee members.


By my friend, Ben
Hickory Ridge were one of them places where what were not knowed didn’t stay not knowed very long. It were. Some folks say as soon as the last drape and shade were opened and raised in town, there weren’t nothin’ what weren’t knowed by most everybody. They did. So the word that Anvil Jenkins had died got around fast. It did

Anvil were a right nice feller who lived in a big ol’ house on the lower edge of town. He did. His wife, Elsie had died some years ago. She did. They were quiet folks what mostly stayed to themselves. Some of that may’ve been cause of their son, Arlo. Arlo were an only child, an’ I reckon that might’ve been for the best. I do. Arlo were different. He was.

I first saw Arlo when I were in the seventh grade. He just showed up at school one day. He said he were from Ohio, an’ that his folks had moved to Hickory Ridge to be what folks called a lumber broker. He did.

Well, Arlo acted strange. In fact, Arlo looked a little strange. Now folks can’t help the face they got. But Arlo made his look different by the way he twisted his mouth an’ eyes. He did. At first I reckoned he were just tryin’ to fit in. I did. He would eat bark offen the trees. I even saw him eat little rocks. I did. When Ricky John Craven an’ Jackie Joe Monroe saw they could get Arlo to eat just about anything, they started payin’ him a penny to put on a show. They did. Then they’d laugh at him an’ call him names. They did. Thing were, Arlo didn’t seem to care. He didn’t. I told him once he didn’t have to do all them things, an’ that I’d see to it they left him alone iffen he wanted me to. I did. But he just laughed an’ ate a piece of bark. He did.

One day Arlo didn’t show up at school. I heard he’d been sent to some kind of school for what they called the retarded. Molly Franklin said her ma’d said he were cursed by God. She did. Then Julie Samson said that God had a reason for givin’ the Jenkins a son like Arlo. She said God don’t make no mistakes. She did.

I asked Ma about Arlo, an’ how folks get retarded, an’ all. An’ did she think God made kids like Arlo. I did. She said, “Benny, we don’t know why some folks are born the way they are. Some come from ma’s what didn’t have the right kind of food to eat. Some may’ve had other problems what caused their baby to be born the way they were. An’ some we just don’t know, it just happens.

“Do you remember when Daisy gave birth to that little calf?” I told her I did, an’ I reckon I’d never forget it. It had five legs an’ two heads. It did. Well they looked like heads, but they was all twisted an’ ugly. They were.

“Well Benny, your pa an’ me needed that extra cow real bad. We fed Daisy good food an’ took special care of her while she were carryin’ that calf. We did. But it died right there before out eyes. I reckon there were supposed to be two of them calves. But somethin’ happened inside of Daisy that put them together. So it died. It weren’t nobody’s fault. Things like that just happen an’ we don’t know why.

“When it comes to blamin’ God some folks need to do that cause they think they mighta done somethin’ wrong, but they don’t know what it is. Others find peace in seein’ it as somethin’ God gave them as a gift. Them folks like Julie find comfort in believin’ since God don’t make no mistakes, it was God what done it. They do. It helps them to deal with things what don’t have an answer, at least not yet.

“The thing is, Benny, what separates human folks from animals is that human folks can love an’ care for the children what don’t come out right. Daisy licked at that little calf, an’ I reckon somethin’ in her mighta hurt when it didn’t move. But she just walked away. Fact is, lots of animals kill their young what don’t turn out right. They do. God’s world is full of wonderful things. But things can go wrong. They can. An’ until we find out how an’ why, we just have to do what we can to love everybody. We do.

“I don’t know Anvil very good, but I know his wife, Elsie. I do. I talk to her on the street when I’m in town. I do. An’ I know she loves Arlo with all her heart. An’ I know it broke her heart when they had to send him away to that special school over in Mount Union. I do. An’ the next time you see her or Anvil, you be sure to ask about Arlo.”

I told her I would, cause even though Arlo were a sight peculiar, he never hurt nobody an’ he always smiled. He did.

As the years passed I reckon me’n most folks forgot about Arlo Jenkins. We did. I knowed his ma’n pa went to see him once a month or so. I did. I wondered what it were like when his pa told him his ma’d died. I did. Now that his pa were gone I wondered what Arlo were gonna do, iffen he were still alive. So I reckoned I’d drop by the funeral home where Anvil were to be laid out an’ see iffen anybody knowed about Arlo. I would.

Well, there were some folks there, but they all seemed to be town folks. They did. But over in the corner near the head of the casket sat a tall, stringy-looking man. He were just sittin’ there rockin’ back an’ forth with his hands on his knees. He were. I knowed it were Arlo.

I went to him an’ bent down so’s he could see me. I did. He looked up an’ his eyes brightened a little. They did. He said, “Benny, Benny Harrison! I remember you from grade school. Benny, my pa died. I ain’t got nobody no more. I’m all alone.”

I didn’t know what to say. An’ I wondered what ma would do. I did. Then I put my hand on Arlo’s shoulder an’ said, “You ain’t alone Arlo. I’ll come to see you when I can, an’ I reckon iffen I tell folks at church about you, they’ll come an’ see you too.” Arlo looked at me an’ started to cry. He did.

I knowed one thing for sure, God didn’t do this to Arlo. All God could do for Arlo were what folks what cared could do for him. An’ I knowed that’s what ma would say. I did.

CONCERNS: Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, has had a stroke. She is recovering at Va Baptist in Lynchburg. Martha Foy’s mother is having some health issues. Martha’s friend, Lauren doesn’t have cancer, but they still don’t know what is wrong. Connie Crites’ brother (cancer), Jim Hunter continues to improve, Stephanie Dixon’s boss’s son, Grayson, has serious eye damage from an accident. Del Bolin’s friend, Sharon, (cancer) also one of his students has a brother-in-law, Billy, who also has cancer. Billy’s wife is pregnant. Jenn McCready, a therapist in Del’s office has permanent eye issues. Mark McRoy’s friend, Ken Teatino is being treated for lymphoma. Helen Nicklas and Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Ron Matney, Joni Beach’s mother, Tim Elder, Health Talents Int. and Bread For A Hungry World

Monday: Psalm 16:1-11
Tuesday: Matthew 20:1-16
Wednesday: Amos 3:12-4:5
Thursday: Hebrews 10:19-39
Friday: Ephesians 5:3-20
Saturday: Psalm 148:1-14
Monday: I Peter 1:13-25
Tuesday: Psalm 95:1-11
Wednesday: Matthew 14:13-33
Thursday: Romans 12:2-7
Friday: I Timothy 1:12-2:7
Saturday: Psalm 116:1-19

Our thanks to everyone who came to the building Saturday and cleaned the hill behind the annex, cut wood and painted. There’s more to be done, but it’s a great start and it will look so much better for the upcoming Bar B Que.

Today, August 19, is Super Sunday. These are the days we can all be together and enjoy each other’s company and a good meal in the annex.

After Super Sunday, The Alberts have invited us to their home on Smith Mt. Lake for a cookout and fellowship. Come after 3:30 PM and enjoy the friendship and the lake.

We call it a “pig roast” but there will be beef, pork and chicken, as well as a surprise from Chef Jeff. It will be on Saturday, September 1. A sign-up sheet is on the table in the foyer. The time of the meal will be announced when we determine the best time for the most folks.

Stephanie will be going to work at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. She will be leaving on Friday, Aug. 31 and be gone a week. She may have room for small personal items such as tooth brushes, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. See her about that.

Thanks to those who prepared the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday. This is a very rewarding work and is really enjoyable to do, as those who do it discover. We will be going back, both on Wednesday evenings with the young people, and on Sundays with adults. Martha Albert will let us know when.

Those who have gone to the Ronald McDonald House and took the tour are always amazed at the amount of aluminum (and steel) pull tabs which are collected across the Roanoke Valley in support of the house. They are recycled. So keep bringing them in.


I was in a conversation a few days ago and the subject of marriage equality (gay marriage) came up. One guy immediately said it meant we were on the threshold of final doom. He added that every nation where gays were accepted had met destruction. I said I guessed England was going before us. He said we were all going together, and added that it was all there in the Bible. I hastily bid my adieu.

I wondered what his proof was that every nation with homosexuals had been destroyed. Was he thinking about Sodom and Gomorrah and the other plain cities, (which were not nations) Rome, or maybe France? If it was Rome, there is no proof of that. I know about the talk of the fall of the Roman Empire, and it usually has to do with wild, conduct of all kinds. Actually, Rome did not fall, it faded. It faded away into the Greek world it fell in love with. And besides, who would want the capital of today’s world to be Rome? Goodbye, goodbye to Rome.

I also thought that under that guy’s way of thinking, the Taliban countries would be the most likely to survive, or Uganda. You remember Uganda, the place that almost passed a law about a year ago that made being homosexual a death sentence, as well as for anyone who knew of one and did not turn them in.

Tickets are readily available on Travelocity for anyone who wants to escape the final days of Europe and the Americas and head for Uganda, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Of course, they might be part of the collateral damage and get zapped along with the rest of us.

Just to check this out I opened Google Earth and couldn’t find a hole in the world anywhere where a nation used to be that accepted homosexuals and was now gone. I couldn’t find a nation that collapsed because of anything more than greed and lust for power. They were defeated in battle, not with fiery darts from the heavens. And after being defeated they didn’t go up in smoke, never to be seen again. Germany was still there. You’d think with Hitler and all he did to the Jews there’d be a big hole where Germany used to be. But there it was, and now having one of Europe’s strongest economies. And Japan. What would we do without those Japanese cars and cameras? France was still there, and we all know about the French! Just kidding French people! If you want to pick on somebody, why not the Chinese? When was the last time you heard an American surrounded with all their “Made in China” stuff say, God is sick and tired of China’s failure to address their human rights issues and is going to destroy them like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Have you noticed that no nation is said to be about to fall because of greed and injustice? That’s strange, because in the whole Bible, from cover to cover, that is the most warned about cause of a national collapse. In fact, when Sodom is mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament, it is most often connected to statements such as in Ezekiel 16 where Sodom is used as a metaphor for those who don’t care for the poor, the needy, social justice and for such people as widows and orphans.

I know it’s a lot more fun to tell God what to do, than it is to let God be God. That doesn’t mean things are as good as we’d like. But picking one or two social issues and then saying God is about to call down fire and brimstone, without getting a direct, “Hello, I’m the Lord your God. Lucky you O Wise One, you’re one of the few people who know it’s time for the big barbeque. Go and spread the word” is self- aggrandizement. It also isn’t smart self-aggrandizement. A look at history shows everyone who said it was time for God to destroy the earth due to some particular sin or two was wrong.

I don’t understand the seeming joy these prophets of doom get from telling God what to do. And they always want everyone, including them, to be involved in the “end of it all”. As for me, I think God’s a better shot than that, you know, that two will be in the field and one will be taken and the other left thing. If people like that fellow want to go so badly I want to be standing next to him when it happens because I’m content to stick around for as long as I can.

CONCERNS: Connie Crites’ brother continues with cancer treatment. Martha Foy’s friend, Lauren, needs our prayers. Jim Hunter continues to get stronger each day. Stephanie Dixon’s boss’s son, Grayson has eye damage from an accident. Del Bolin asks prayers for Sharon, a cancer patient. Also one of his student’s brothers-in-law, Billy, has thyroid cancer. Billy’s wife is pregnant with their fourth child. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick is being treated for cancer. Remember these people as well. Jenn McCready, Ken Teatino, Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Ron Matney, Joni Beach’s mother, Tim Elder and the work of Health Talents Int. and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: Matthew 22:1-22
Tuesday: Colossians 1:21-2:7
Wednesday: John 6:52-71
Thursday: Romans 7:1-12
Friday: Matthew 23:1-22
Saturday: Psalm 114: 1-8

Monday: Matthew 22:23-40
Tuesday: John 2:13-25
Wednesday: Proverbs 3:1-18
Thursday: Jonah 2:1-10
Friday: Matthew 23:23-39
Saturday: Psalm 127:1-5

On Thursday, July 19th, Roger Fisher’s son, Steven died after a long illness. The funeral was on Monday, July 23, with the interment the next day.

The congregation mourns with Roger over this loss and others he has had in the last year or so.

Those on the mailing list who want to send a card or a note can do so by writing to Roger @ 86 Wyndermere Drive, Troutville, VA 24175-6595.

There are a number of cards that have been received over the last few months that are now posted on the downstairs bulletin board. Some of these have been read publicly while others have not.

Martha and Bill Albert have invited the congregation to their home on Smith Mt Lake on the afternoon of Super Sunday, August 19th. You may come after 3:30. See Martha beforehand about bringing something.

On next Sunday, August 12, we will be preparing the evening meal at the local Ronald McDonald House. If you have not yet been involved in doing this, it is a rewarding experience. The kitchen is roomy and well supplied with everything needed to prepare the meal. See Martha Albert if you’d like to help. You will be glad you did.

Hopefully in the next month or so the weather will moderate and not be so hot. With that in mind, Rich Crites has developed a “to do list” of things around the buildings. They are as follows: All entrance doors can be washed or if necessary, painted. The electric service box on the back of the main building needs to be painted. There is the need for touch-up paint to be applied in the auditorium, classrooms, restrooms and hallways in both buildings. Clean the hill behind the annex of weeds by spraying with a defoliant before the pig roast on the Labor Day weekend. Cut wood from same hill, as well as removing downed or leaning trees from upper property. All hardwood will be cut and split for the fireplace. Small limbs are needed for kindling. Spray Round-Up on all the grass in the parking lot. Caulk is needed along the annex sidewalk as well as the main building. See Rich or Keith and what you need will be supplied. Some of this will require several folks working at a time.