Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: October 2013


Because we were late making our decision to go to the ACU Lectures, on the return flight from Abilene, Wayne and I were not seated together. The plane was a small jet with a row of single seats on one side and a row of double seats on the other. Wayne was seated in the first single seat inside the door. I was seated in the first isle seat in the double row behind the bulkhead.
I saw the red-vested Rottweiler-mix service dog come through the door. At the end of his leash walked a dark-haired woman who looked to be in her thirties. She stopped at my row and said, “It looks like I’m going to be your seat mate.” I stood up and she slipped into the window seat. When she was seated with her service dog at our feet, she stuck out her hand and introduced herself as “Chris,” but it was longer than that and her last name sounded Italian, which it was. I told her my name and she asked the question”: What did I do for a living?” I dread that question. I told her, as well as why I had been in Abilene. She said she was a retired Marine and a Catholic. I told her that Catholic scholar Luke Timothy Johnson had been one of the ACU lecturers. We talked a little about the new Pope and I asked how long she had been in the Marines. She said eight years. I asked if she had been in a war zone and she said no. I was curious, but wanting to respect her privacy. Here was a former Marine with a service dog, who had no visible injuries and had not been in a battle zone.
I told her I liked dogs and asked if I could pet him. She said yes and that she wanted people to pet him because it meant they looked at him first instead of her. I wondered what had caused her to need him. I asked his name and she said it was something that made me think he was a pureblood, which I knew he wasn’t. She told me he was named after a friend who had been killed in Afghanistan. But she called him “G-Man” for short, as well as “Buddy.”
The rest of this story is spread over about three hours, some in the terminal, due to a computer problem, and then again on the plane. The events that follow may not be in chronological order, but during the time in the terminal, she, Wayne and I exchanged pleasantries about our families and lives.
She was returning to Boston where she had grown up. She could play nine musical instruments and especially loved the drums. Her father had told her not to learn another one because she might become mediocre. So I assumed she was a person who tried to perfect anything she did. She had been the vocalist in a sixties classical rock band. She asked if I recognized the name of someone. I told her I didn’t. She said he was one of the guitarist’s who tried out for their band and went on to play, I think she said, for Arrowsmith.
It also turned out she was older than she looked, being the mother of two children, one foster child and two grandchildren. She was also divorced.
Her father had been, for a certain part of her life, a stay-at-home dad for her and her brother and sister. He later opened a construction business where he taught her building as well as auto mechanics. One of her first jobs was at a full-service gas station. She said her parents had brought them up to be of service to others. Her brother had trained to work with, I think she said, those afflicted with Aspergers syndrom. Her sister worked for a shoe company and modeled the shoes on QVC.
Since she was so close to her father, and because he had been a Marine, at some point she decided to join up. Her first job was a mechanic, then a door gunner on a “Huey.” Then, for most of her eight-year tour, she was part of a search-and-rescue team stationed in Arizona. I’m not sure why, but for the last several years she had lived in Abilene. She returned to Boston every two years for a visit.
After a time I felt I could carefully ask the question that was on my mind. I asked about G-Man. She said his primary purpose was to warn her about someone approaching from behind. I told her if she didn’t want to talk about it I would understand, but I asked what had happened? She said she suffered from PTSD. She said Marines do civilian search and rescue in the states. It was the ones they could not save and the smell of burning flesh that finally caused her to collapse emotionally. The result was polymyalgia and crippling rheumatoid arthritis, which I understand happens when the autoimmune system is damaged by stress. She told me that she had spent years in a wheelchair and that just three weeks earlier she had been walking with two of those canes that come up on your arms for support. She indicated that her illness and therapy had been the thing that had taken the toll on her marriage. She said since she was Catholic she did not believe in divorce, but he was not, so she didn’t stop him. She was happy for him, and heard he had married a nice woman.
As we prepared to leave for Dallas/Fort Worth, she told me this was the first time G-Man had flown with her. All the other times he had traveled in the baggage compartment. It seems it takes time to certify a service dog for actual in-cabin flight. Since other passengers who could make their connection at DFW had been placed on another flight, I told her I would move so G-Man could sit in my seat. She said she didn’t want him to get use to sitting on furniture. He did great.
As we talked, I told her if I could change what had happened, I would. She said she wouldn’t let me. She said as a Marine, she was the strongest, fastest woman in her unit. Now she was learning a new way to serve. She was returning to Boston to live. There she would get an apartment, live off of her disability funds, and was to become a volunteer manager at newly opened Pets for Vets organization. Much like other such organizations, Pets for Vets trains and places rescued animals with veterans who suffer from PTSD. She added that her parents had not seen her walk unaided in eight years and she was going to surprise them by walking through their door.
CONCERNS: Susan and Wayne Phlegar have been dealing with pain issues. Betty Branch is now at RMCH undergoing therapy. Alisa Flora’s brother, Mike Brown suffered a detached retina while visiting in California. He remains there after having surgery. Mary Smith’s improvement is slow. Erma Williams dad is now at home. Remember Rich Crite’s sister; Gary Overstreet, Leena Bolin’s brother Nick; Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams has leukemia. Gil Richardson (muscular dystrophy). Those recovering from or dealing with cancer are: Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Regan, the boy with brain cancer. Regan’s grandfather is recovering at RM rrom a car accident. Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin, Connie Crites’ brothers, one with cancer and the other recovering well after heart surgery. Also Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Ron Matney and Tim Elder.

Monday: Genesis 15:1-21
Tuesday: Psalm 2:1-11
Wednesday: Mark 5:1-20
Thursday: Hebrews 9:6-14
Friday: I Thessalonians 4:1-12
Saturday: Psalm 130:1-8
Monday: Genesis 2:15-3:7
Tuesday: Exodus 4:1-17
Wednesday: Hebrews 11:1-18
Thursday: Ephesians 4:17-32
Friday: II Corinthians 4:7-18
Saturday: Psalm 47:1-9

Today (Oct. 20) is the annual Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic. The park is open and we will be eating about 5:00 PM at the picnic area. If you are riding the bus up, try to get there as early as possible because it may be crowded. Also; we will need someone to help get all the food, drinks and cooking supplies to the park. Erma Williams will not be able to be there again this year, so please help out with firewood, and a propane tank for the stove.

SUPER SUNDAY This is also Super Sunday. That means you can eat every meal away from home today. Stay and enjoy the fellowship.

Keith and Jo Wagner will be taking about ten days of their vacation this month and a few days in November. They will be gone from October 24 through November 3. Keith will be in the office on Monday, November 4. This means the first bulletin for November will not be printed. However, since it contains the service roster for that month, Keith will be sent to those on the members e-mail list as soon as possible. Those speaking for Keith while he is away will be announced.

Thanks to Keith and Holly Wagner, with help from Roger Fisher for repairing the ceiling inside the downstairs entrance.

You may have noticed that a rather large locust tree has fallen in the annex yard. We hope to have a Saturday in early November when we can not only cut it up, but also rent a log splitter and prepare it and the other wood we have for the annex fireplace. If you have a truck with a trailer hitch on it, we will need you if you can help.

We had a good start but now have dropped off some in helping the Troops who are closing out the war in Afghanistan. The list of needs is on the foyer table. Added to that should be coffee, creamer, and sugar, both natural and artificial. Here’s the list so you can have it handy. The above plus Mixed cereal (small assorted) granola bars, breakfast bars, pop tarts, instant grits, instant oatmeal and Little Debby’s, no chocolate.


Attending the Abilene Christian University Lectures was a first for me. One reason I decided to go was due to the featured speakers. Luke Timothy Johnson is an internationally known Catholic scholar who teaches at Emory University’s Candle School of Theology.
Another visiting scholar was Peter Williams. He is part of both the University of Aberdeen and the University of Cambridge.
The third was Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Ill. He claims an Anabaptist background.
Johnson made the significant point (because I agree with it) that each gospel should be read independently of the other, and no attempt to harmonize them should be undertaken. He also said several of the early works not included in the traditional canon were considered inspired at the time the canon was being formed. And he offered some historical proof of their early acceptance.
William’s first lecture focused on slavery in the New Testament and how that should be understood today. He presented historical data which showed the economic and cultural impact of slavery in that time, as well as the danger to unattached slaves by Rome. He stressed the point that Christian masters were told to treat their slaves as brothers and sisters, and used the scriptures which were ignored by American slave owners. He said slavery was a cultural issue that should no longer exist and that it was eliminated by Christians when they began to treat their slaves as Paul had commanded. In another area Williams has done research on the terms “elders, deacons and bishops.” He found these were not exclusively religious terms, but societal terms as well. He sited places where the term elder was not only used in Judaism, but in other countries in the “east” as a secular term. On the other hand, “bishop” was a Greek term also used in secular society, as was the term “deacon.” He pointed out that the Jewish-based churches were those with elders and the Gentile-based churches were those with bishops and that they were not exactly interchangeable terms. His point was that church leadership was formed from already accepted forms of structure and leadership. Therefore, leadership structures can change as long as they have the foundation of the servanthood model of Jesus. Most articles will say elders and bishops are interchangeable terms. Williams said whatever form of leadership which models the servant nature of Jesus is acceptable. That would put a lid on all the teaching that the only “scriptural” churches are the ones with elders.
Perhaps the most memorable moment was when I went to a class taught by Clifford Florence and Bruce Johnson, two black men who were students at ACC (now ACU) during the 70s. It was frustrating to hear the various kinds of prejudice and discrimination leveled against them as a way to try to make them quit. Florence was kicked out in his junior year simply because his father, Franklin Florence, was a well-known activist in Rochester NY. It was so upsetting I was almost glad I had a scheduling conflict that made me miss the first two classes.
I later caught up with them and asked Clifford, who is now at ACU as a M.Div. student, if any of those persons still at ACU, when he was there, or whom he sees on occasion had ever apologized. He said “No.”
It is sad to see that for centuries we have all been reading the same Bible, but when it comes to those of whom we disapprove, we claim scripture to support our rejection of them. Knowing that history, is it not wise to be sure we are not doing the same thing, because in so doing we not only reject Jesus’ teaching but Jesus himself?
CONCERNS: Betty Branch is in RMH ICU after having a brain aneurysm. No visitors, but cards are welcomed. She is in ICU 972. Erma Williams says that Richard, the grandfather of Regan, the ten year old with brain cancer, has been brought home from California, where he was involved in a serious car accident. He is at RMH. Erma’s dad is recovering from knee surgery. A teacher friend of Teryn Gaynor’s is having some stress related issues. Teryn asks for prayers. Mary Smith’s recovery is slowly improving. The Crites have traveled to Illinois to see Rich’s sister who is not well, and on to Connie’s home in Wisconsin to see her family. Her brother just had open heart surgery. Those dealing with or recovering from cancer are: Rich Crites; Hannah, a friend of Garrett Lee Williams; Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick; Connie Crites brother in Wyoming; Jim Hunter; Deana McRoy; Stephanie Rigney; Marge Greenwood; Sharon, and Stephanie Dixon has some skin issues that are being treated as cancer. Remember also Jenni Cullum; Helen Nicklas; Alma Martin; Tim Elder and Ron Matney.

Monday: I Samuel 16:1-13
Tuesday: Mark 15:1-20
Wednesday: Luke 12:1-12
Thursday: I John 2:11-24
Friday: I Peter 4:1-19
Saturday: Psalm 11:1-7
Monday: Joshua 24:14-28
Tuesday: Acts 9:1-9
Wednesday: James 5:1-18
Thursday: I John 1:5-2:6
Friday: Hebrews 12:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 138:1-8

This annual event is scheduled for October 20, which is Super Sunday However, due to the government shutdown that area may not yet be open. However, there is a sign-up sheet on the foyer table. Please let us know if you will be attending the picnic. As before, the food will be furnished by the church. Several people have said they will miss the Super Sunday meal to go and secure a picnic spot for us. We plan to eat around 5:00ish.
As you drive into the parking lot you will see that the large, dead, and dangerous tree has been removed. The city has also removed several dead branches from the other trees lining the parking lot as well..
Here again is a list of items we have been sending the troops who are closing out the war in Afghanistan. You did great on the first batch, so let’s keep them in mind as we begin another way of helping that the Phlegars will tell us about soon.
The items you van bring in are: small assorted boxes of mixed cereal, Granola bars, breakfast bars, pop tarts, instant grits, instant oatmeal, Little Debbies, but no chocolate.
With the coming of cooler weather we will soon be using the annex fireplace again. We have an ample supply of wood, but much of it needs to be split. One Saturday soon we will rent a splitter and spit as much as we can of what we have. If any day is not good for you, let Keith know, or which Saturday is best for you.
The 2013 annual newsletter from the Ronald McDonald House is on the foyer table. Those of you who have prepared evening meals there, as well as others, might enjoy looking at some of the stories and events of the house.