Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: May 2014


A sad commentary on Christianity is the fact that it has too often come in near the bottom on issues of human rights. Especially when it uses the Bible in a literal way and allows the cultural understanding of the time of the writing to interpret the scripture for today.

I thought about this as I watched the unfolding story of Elliot Rodgers, the well-healed, mentally disturbed young man in California, who wanted to kill as many women as possible because, in his mind, they had refused to be sexually what he wanted.

It doesn’t take an expert to see something terribly wrong with men seeing women as inferior beings, worthless except to be used as sexual objects for their twisted pleasure; and then be blamed when they are so treated.

In a related story, Rodgers was a frequent contributor to web sites which degraded women to the lowest level of humanity. The little the story revealed from such sites was sickening.

Rodgers was mentally ill. But what about those men who are not mentally ill? Or should we say all men, all people, who reduce another human being to an object of abuse and scorn are mentally ill? Of course that begs the question of what mental illness is and is not. Is the line crossed when the person’s twisted thoughts become public and there is the threat of action? That seems to be the case. How well it works is debatable.

As I heard the statistics of rape and other forms of sexual abuse of women on college campus’s I couldn’t help but wonder how it got so bad. Neither am I so naive as to believe there has not always been sex on campus, even Christian college campuses. But this is about abuse, degradation, rape.

If I were an anthropologist I might take a stab at explaining why, throughout history as we know it, women have been generally seen as inferior. With some rare exceptions, all societies during the time of the Old Testament, viewed women about the same as did the Old Testament writers. Women were inferior to men.

It is sad, but true, that among all the advances made in science, human science has been the slowest. The fact that education for girls and young women is seen as a threat by certain men in today’s world is more than unconscionable. Recently a man said he was not going to educate his daughter. He wanted her to become a wife and mother. As if you can’t do both. Oh, I forget, not too many years ago in the 50s and 60s, that was what was being preached in our pulpits

The problem with demeaning women is certainly deeper than religion. It exists in all ideologies. It is now seen in almost epidemic forms around the world.

The Church has too often said most of the fault in rape is the woman’s. While there are situations which are more conducive to the danger of being raped, rape is always an act of violence against the victim. It is the same if it were an eighty year old woman, beaten and raped in her home, or a girl or woman raped anywhere. Anyone, Christian or otherwise, who blames the unwilling victim contributes to the problem.

Dare I say that what children see at home they will take into the world, both the good and the bad? Is there a psychology to the possible actions of a boy who grows up with an abusive and could care less mother? Would the same also be true for the girl and her father? Studies would say so. Of course, there is the problem of mental illness. But as Christians we should not only be showing gender equality in the home and in the church, but also the cause for equality among all persons. The record for much of Christianity, whether it be slavery, women’s rights, integration, or other forms of human indignity and inequality, has identified us too much as those who arrive after the fact and not as leaders bringing needed change.

CONCERNS: Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, also Martha Foy asks that we remember Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick; had knee replacement surgery on Tuesday. Susan and Wayne Phlegar; Hannah, Garrett Lee’s friend is doing much better after treatment for leukemia. Kim Hall’s friend, Mary; Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, the Overstreet’s, Walker Slusher, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, and Del’s friend, Sharon. Also Helen Nicklas, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder and Mary Smith. Marie Barnett’s mother, Mildred Horne, and for Marie and her family as they deal with their mother’s declining health. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner (on dialysis) Mrs. Matara and Brenda, a friend of Melisha Scruggs..

Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-11
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18
Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: I Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5

The remolded, handicapped accessible upstairs rest room is about half done. Take a peek and see how its going to look
You may also notice some changes in the last few pews on the handicapped entrance side of the auditorium. This change is necessary due to the requirements for wheelchair accessibility. The missing pew, as well as one moved out of line, will be shortened and placed back where they were.
The project should be done by next Sunday.

Beginning on the first Sunday in July the communion service will be before the sermon. There are good reasons for both ways, and the change by the steering committee was done, among other discussed things, to enable those who may have to leave before the service is over, and therefore missing communion.

More folks are needed to pick up the bread Panera Bread at Tanglewood on Tuesday evenings. From there it is taken to the Rescue Mission on Friday or Saturday. See Erma Williams or Susan Jordan if you would be willing to help.

Last Tuesday, lightening struck Kirsten and Philip Pierce’s house. No one was home at the time but the quick response by the fire department the structure was not damaged. However, there was damage where it was struck and the line the lightening followed on the house. They will be staying with Rich and Connie for awhile until the damage from the strike, as well as water damage, etc. can be repaired. Keep them in your prayers, especially the boys, as they get things back together.

If you look around the outside of the building you will notice the work folks did at last Saturday’s workday. Thanks to them for coming out. Also, thanks to those in the congregation who were able to contribute to the discussion about the DVD showing concerning end of life decisions. All of them were quite impressive. And finally, thanks to those who went to the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday evening to prepare the meal for those families who stay there.


The question comes from what Jesus said in the garden before his death, “Not my will, but yours.” What was his will that was not done? What would he have preferred to do, and what would it have been like if his will was done?

The easy answer would be he preferred not to die. Of course. However, what was it that he would have done if his will to live would have been granted?

I ask the question because a passage I read in preparation for a sermon around Easter, suddenly took on a new light. It’s the words of Jesus as recorded in both Matthew 23 and Luke 13. From Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” These, and a few other passages are closely tied to his warning about the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem.

What caught my attention as I read the passage was that I never heard anyone ask if Jesus really meant what he said. Did he actually want Jerusalem to listen to him and follow his teaching about God?

Obviously, at some point in his ministry, Jesus realized the cross was inevitable, and he began to talk about it. But most Christians have been taught that Jesus knew the cross was his destiny all along, or at least from some point. Some would think at least at his baptism. And there is certainly scripture written after the fact, which would make an argument for the “foreknowing.” . I also realized the question of what was Jesus’ will takes us into a critical area. The area of his humanity, as well as the divinity we are presented with.

At least we could start with Matthew 34:36 where Jesus says he (the Son) did not know the time for the day and the hour, (in this case, the destruction of Jerusalem) but only the Father. However, what God knew that Jesus didn’t, is a whole different discussion. My question is about if Jesus really wanted Jerusalem to come to his teaching, and did he believe it was possible? Did he really believe his “calling” to them could have been a reality? Did he truly want that? Was that his will? The pain in his voice seems to say he was heartbroken. If he knew it was not the will of God, why “often long” for it? The “longing” would imply that it was Jesus’ will to bring Jerusalem (the nation, and the prophetic idea of the redeemed world) back to God. Of course, that would mean he would have been the Messiah on earth, the “consolation of Israel” as old Simeon said Jesus would be. Luke 2:22-32.

Most of the comments on the Matthew/Luke passage say (and I certainly haven’t read them all) something like “God had sent the prophets and others, but the Jews wouldn’t listen, so God sent his Son, and they rejected him as well, so God loved the world enough to die for it.” That doesn’t match one of Jesus’ parables similar to this, but it’s okey. That’s how we see it. But again, did Jesus want Israel (Jerusalem) to listen to him, or did God send Jesus on an impossible mission? Let that float around in your brain, because I’m not interested in the answer, at least not here and now.

What I’m interested in is what would the world look like if it had listened to Jesus. For a moment, don’t think about redemption from sin because of the cross. What would the world look like if the will of God was done on earth as it is in heaven. Let me restate that. Jesus said to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So that is a legitimate request. Would it not also be the will of Jesus? Is that what Jesus did while he was alive? Is that what his will was, to bring the will of God into reality on earth? It would seem so to me.

We know how the story goes. Jesus dies and is resurrected. What happens to the will of God on earth, which was also the will of Jesus, as he stated when he lamented that Jerusalem would not do the will of God, which he also was trying to do? Shouldn’t we then continue to do God’s will on earth? Should we not continue to bring the world to the love of God? So I ask again: “What should the world look like if God’s will is done on earth?”

We can start by reading all the parables that Jesus told that start with, “The kingdom of God is like…” and do our best to take that lesson to the world in our attitude and actions.

For many Christians the church has been described as the kingdom of God. Well, the kingdom of God is much more than what might be called “the church.” However, for the sake of discussion, if the church is the kingdom of God, does it look like the kingdom of God as Jesus envisioned the kingdom of God?

The problem with the concept of the church being the kingdom of God is that it can cause the church to become the central focus and not God and Jesus. Therefore, the thing called church can look like a select group of people doing whatever it is that makes them have a particular identity that in and of itself might not be the characterizations Jesus used to describe his followers in God’s kingdom.

One of the positive signs I see in Christianity is more and more young people are interested in serving the less fortunate and getting involved in improving the lives of those who are in need. I see more and more the quote from Jesus, “Insomuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me,”

On the other hand is a letter to the editor of a Recent Christian Chronicle concerning helping the poor. “Baptized followers of Christ who have the promised Holy Spirit living inside them are capable of incredible things–even in the midst of difficult circumstances; God has promised to take care of his children and does not wish them to be dependant on anyone but him.” So that’s what he thinks Jesus view of the kingdom of God is. He might want to read the Sermon on the Mount and the book of James for a start.

CONCERNS: Susan and Wayne Phlegar are dealing with various issues. Susan will have back surgery in July. Rich Crites continues treatment for cancer. Todd Baumgardner, Wayne Flora’s postmaster, is on dialysis due to diabetes. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (Parkinson’s disease). Sue Huels’ the sister of Betty Foy and an aunt to Martha. Martha asks prayers for Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jan Overstreet is recovering from a fall, and Gary is still having vision and other problems. Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams has responded to treatment for leukemia and will be able to return to school next year. Continue to remember Nick Nicklas, Jim Hunter, Walker Slusher, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mildred Horn, (Marie Barnett’s mother) Marie and her family as they deal with their mother’s declining health. Mrs Matara, (the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter’s) and Brenda, a friend of Milisha Scruggs.

Monday: ! Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-15
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18

Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: ! Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: ! Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5

a documentary on a taboo subject
The above is the title of the DVD which will be shown in the annex tomorrow evening at 7:00. As stated before, this film deals with facing the end of life and the issues that should
be addressed before that time nears.

Even though the Wednesday evening class previewed the film, it would be worthwhile for others to see as well. Some of you have invited friends and we need to know about how many, because there will be a break after the film and light refreshments served before a question/discussion period.
Today, May 18, is Super Sunday. That means a fellowship meal in the annex following the morning service. Plan to stay.

The steering committee will meet in the library following the meal

The contractor has been selected and approved for the renovation of the upstairs cry room/rest room. The work is scheduled to start on or about the 26th. There may be some “moving” around we can do to help clear the area, such as taking out one of the pews and the baby crib.

There will be some inconvenience while this is going on, so your patience is appreciated.

The “Spring Cleaning” day will be Saturday, the 23. It will involve trimming the shrubbery, cutting back the ivy from the parking area, as well as what is climbing the building. Inside work will consist of removing the old stucco from the wall in the communion preparation room. If you plan to work in the room, it can be rather dusty when the stucco comes off.


I wasn’t surprised, but it still caused me to wince. In a sports column written by Jim Litke of the Associated Press, he wrote, “The thing that has baseball folks riled up about Michael Pineda isn’t that he was trying to cheat. Everybody does that. It was that he wasn’t trying hard enough.”
Now, as a preacher, I might be expected to go into a rant about how bad the world is getting and how the Lord should come quickly with fire and judgement; but I’m not. None of this is new. Read the Bible. Read Grapes of Wrath. Read the editorial columns about high-end white collar crime, where it says such crimes are not conducive for criminal action. That was not a quote, but a paraphrase I read recently.
So why does it cause me to wince? On the black and white level, everybody does it. One mile over the posted speed limit is cheating. And, it is foolish to say cheating is of equal wrong in every situation. I mentioned recently, Randy Harris, who teaches ethics, among other things, at Abilene Christian. His famous “Moby Dick” question is this, “You have one class needed to graduate. It has to be taken to graduate. You already have a job lined up and a wedding in the future. The class is American Literature. Among several shorter works, is Moby Dick. Depending on the book, it’s anywhere from 600 to 1,000 pages. 600 being about the average.
You do not have time for the book, so you watch the movies, read Cliffs Notes and other sources of information. When the final is posted, there is only one question, “Did you read Moby Dick? No other forms of research count, only the book.” At that point, Harris says 90% of his students will cheat. And he says he believes the other 10% are lying. We actually understand that. But, if it was a matter of buying the entrance test with the answers to enter Harvard, we would say “No way!” And, we understand that.
So, what’s my beef? It’s the justification of cheating. It’s the “Everybody does it.” True, perhaps, but all of it should be examined, not advocated.
About the first time I heard that line was when Richard Nixon was caught trying to plug the hole he’d made in the Watergate. A Christian said to me, “Everybody does it, he just got caught.” Is there corruption in politics? Yes. It was the “just” that bothers me. It’s okey “just” don’t get caught.
The newspaper article took me back to a time when I was a Little League coach for one of the first Little League Softball Leagues for girls. We had played this other team and beat them. The coach was the wife of a guy who coached their son in baseball, so he was often at his daughter’s softball game. After we won, and were leaving, my catcher came to me, or one of my daughters and said just before the game started, a girl on the other team asked the husband, “Did you bring it?” He then went back to his car and brought out a bat not in the bag his wife carried. During the game my catcher was able to see the bat had been “drilled” and noticed it was a little heavy when she threw it out of the way. “Drilled” means the end of the aluminum bat had been drilled out and lead, or some other heavy substance had been added to make it heavier.
The game was over, so I told the woman coach who was to play them next, to watch for that bat. She did, and questioned it, and it was removed. She got so much flack for complaining, that she was mad at me (for awhile) for not doing the complaining. The game with me was over, the bat was in his car, but she was seen as the villain.
My reaction to the guy and the bat was not based on the fact that he would cheat. I already knew that. What bothered me was that as instructors, he and his wife were telling young girls of Jr. High age that cheating to win was the thing to do. So, what were they teaching, the game, or the game and cheating to win the game? Who we are is more important than winning.
I think it is up to those of us who raise and teach children, to instill in them a sense that while cheating may have different levels of impact, what is impacted most is the character and trustworthiness of the individual who cheats. When we really believe everybody does it, and the problem is “just” getting caught, turn out the lights and lock the doors.

CONCERNS: Martha Foy asks prayers for SandraAnderson; and her aunt, Sue Huels and Gil Richardson. Mary, a friend of Kim (Hall) who has advanced Parkinson’s disease. Jan overstreet fell and has a blood clot in her leg, remember Gary as well. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick. Her other brother, Steve had successful gal bladder surgery after a delay for some other concerns. A classmate of Garrett Lee Williams, Hannah, is being treated for leukemia. Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Walker Slusher, Deena McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Sharon, Jennie Cullum, Helen Nicklas , Tim Elder and Mary Smith. A friend of Jim Hunter’s mother, Mrs Matara, Marie Barnett’s mother, as well as Marie and her family. Wayne Flora’s postmaster is on dialysis. A friend of
Milisha Scruggs, Brenda, is under stress due to family issues.
Monday: Psalm 46
Tuesday: John 14:1-11
Wednesday: Psalm 23
Thursday: Isaiah 26:1-4
Friday: Matthew 5:1-16
Saturday: I John 2:7-11; 15-17
Monday: Job 1:1-12
Tuesday: Jeremiah 1:4-19
Wednesday: Matthew 11:1-19
Thursday: Romans 2:1-20
Friday: Revelation 18:1-20
Saturday: Psalm 93:1-5

After weeks of planning and reviewing the film owned and provided by Carilion Hospital, we have set the date for a community viewing for May 19th. It will take place in the annex and start at 7:00 pm.
After the DVD presentation there will be a break for light refreshments. Afterwards will be time for discussion, questions and answers.
The purpose of the DVD and discussion is to assist families in discussing and planning for declining health.
Both Martha Foy PhD, Alan Beach, PhD, and Del Bolin, MD, among others who can contribute will be on hand to assist in the discussion.
Flyers, along with an invitation have been sent to the area churches. Additional Flyers are available on the table in the foyer for you to place or share with others who are facing such issues.
Thanks to the work of Mike Branch in securing bids and checking environmental issues, we are now able to move on starting the work. Mike wants the steering committee to give final approval for the contractor he has chosen. This can be done individually, or in a brief, called meeting, rather than waiting until the scheduled meeting on May 18th.
A work day needs to be planned for some general outside work, as well as some inside. In the communion preparation room downstairs, there has been an issue with moisture seeping through the old cinder blocks on which the building was built. Over the year, most of the outer stucco has dropped off, or was removed. The rest needs to be removed so the wall can be covered with Drylock, and then painted. The women’ restroom as some similar issues on the wall behind and under the settee. Outside will be a matter of trimming the shrubs and ivy. Let’s look at May 26. Also, the area above the handicap parking could be cleaned up as well.