Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: August 2017


Dear God,

As one of your children I’m writing to ask you some questions. I know I could call you “Father”, but this is more or less an official letter, you know, about business.
I’m sure you know that a hurricane has struck the Texas coast. It is said to be the worst in their history and the damage will last for months, if not years.
My question is, what did the people of Texas do wrong? I’m not accusing, just asking. You see, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans several years ago, John Hagee, that big-time San Antonio preacher (among several others) said Katrina was your judgement on the sins of that city. So I was wondering, since Hurricane Harvey hit almost all of the Texas coast, including doing historic damage to Houston, its largest city; what sins will John Hagee say brought about your wrath on them? And, is he a hypocrite and false teacher if he does not blame sin on the disaster? He will probably point out that Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was spared.
While I’m at it, why, with all the evil in the world, are all these disasters mostly blamed on the LGBTQ people? You remember Jerry Falwell blamed the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center on gay marriage and the LGBTQ. He wasn’t the only one. Of course you remember that just before endorsing Mitt Romney for president Roberto Miranda, that preacher in Boston blamed 9/11 on Boston’s lax views on gay marriage because the terrorists flew out of Boston’s Logan Airport.
This Gay matter will all be over soon according to a preacher named Kim Burrell. She says it looks to her like all the Gays will be destroyed this year. It’s September, so I’m wondering, since I’m sure she’s wrong, if those who follow her might be wise enough to see the light?
I know this kind of judgement has been going on for centuries. People believe what they want to. I just have trouble understanding why they continue to follow someone who is proven wrong over and over again?
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but that guy, Pat Robertson, is always messing up and using your name to do it. His TV show draws I don’t know how many people each day.
A week before the 2008 election Pat told Mitt Romney he would win the election over President Obama. You also remember he asked you to remove President Obama from office. It didn’t seem to phase him when you didn’t do it. Neither does it phase his listeners when none of his predictions, most of which are preceded by “God told me” do not come true.
How did you feel when Rabbi Nolson Leiter not only blamed Hurricane Sandy on Gay marriage, but said the great flood in the Bible was caused for the same reason? I’ve heard a lot of misplaced stuff about the curse of Ham, but this was a new one on me. I don’t expect you to send me an answer. I’ve kind of figured out that you expect us to use the very nature of what is called “the image of God” in us to show love and compassion to all of humanity, as well as figuring out who is using you to create a personal following and avoid them.
I suppose I’m just venting, but as I’m sure you know, venting is good for the soul. Sometime prayer is just getting all the stuff down deep out in the light so it can be observed at arms length. Having said that, I’m still trying to figure out why anything that has to do with sexuality automatically is a call for all kinds of natural disasters? I’ve yet to hear one of the “God is judging you because…” preachers say that in relationship to massive greed and injustice in the courts, or when money is cut to feed children who go to school hungry. Meals on Wheels feeds the elderly and shut-ins, but when funds are cut, the only preachers who say anything are usually called liberals by the “God caused this disaster” bunch. As I read the Bible, these are major “judgement” issues.
As you know, the disaster in Texas, and primarily in Houston seems to show that you have nothing to do with any such disaster judgements. The rain (even too much) falls on the just and the unjust. I realize the “God did it” folks will say all the “innocent” people are collateral damage because of the sins of others. The Bible Belt excluded. However, as we look at these tragedies we find people of all colors and stripes helping others without asking if they are the reason the disaster happened. I think your son said something about the children of this world being wiser than the children of light. I don’t think the “God did it” crowd is very (en) lightened. But I can say when we see the concern and compassion for others, regardless their race or religion or gender preference, we can see Jesus. And we can hear his words, “Insomuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.”
In closing, I know I don’t need to tell you who I am, but I wonder why “There is none so blind as those who will not see” didn’t make it into the Bible?

CONCERNS: Del Bolin’s mother is not doing well. They are with her this weekend. Also, Leena’s brother, Mike, had a pacemaker installed last Wednesday. Also remember Leena’s cousin Tolly Nicklas. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues with cancer treatment. Alisa Flora will have surgery at Duke in a week or so. Remember also Gary Overstreet, Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, Melisha Scruggs’ friend Jeanie and her sick child, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Gil Richardson Ray & Darnel Barns, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Genesis 12.11-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3.1-18
Wednesday: Philippians 3.7-11
Thursday: I John4.7-21
Friday: Romans 7.13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3.7-21
Monday: Jeremiah 31.23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:.17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6.1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5.21-48
Friday: Psalm 119.129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67.1-7

“Just wanted to pass along our good news! Nelson Oaks Forsyth was born on August 1st (which is my birthday, so we are birthday buddies) weighing 8lbs 11oz 22 in long. Nelson is a family name from my side ans Oaks is a reference to Isaiah 61, where God will raise up “oaks of righteousness …to rebuild the ancient ruins and restore places long devastated…” He is a happy, healthy baby and is doing very well! Jeff and I are tired and a little overwhelmed, but mostly having so much fun caring for and getting to know our little man. We’d love your prayer as we continue to adjust to our new life.
“Hope all is well in Roanoke and at our dear church! We miss and love you all.”

This is being written before the Bar-B-Que, but as always, thanks to those who helped. It looks like a rainy day is expected, but that has happened before. Once the grill is hot it makes little difference. Our thanks to Jeff Bland for his food gift. It was very special and delicious.
What food isn’t eaten will be frozen and will become the main dish for the Super Sunday meal on the 17th.

If you are replacing any furniture, there is a family in need. See Keith if you are going to replace anything soon and he will call and see if there is still a need.

The steering committee will meet briefly after the morning service to discuss how much we will send to The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief program in Nashville. They have the ability to purchase items at a bulk rate and will deliver to Texas what is needed.
This is an open ended drive for Feeding America. Bring some with you when you come tochurch.


“Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh when will they ever learn?”
(Where have all the flowers gone?)

There is nothing to be learned from the events in Charlottesville. If we didn’t already know what brought this about, it does little good to rehash it.
The face of Charlottesville is the face of our nation, and has been since it’s founding. The racism, bigotry and racial superiority seen there is a reflection of a world-wide culture. There is nothing to learn, just the witnessing of reality.
We can string words together in condemnation of such action, but they do nothing to change the facts. This is America and has been from the beginning. The problem comes when we either deny it or don’t know it.
An interesting moment took place after the events in Charlottesville. The media was interviewing several people concerning their feelings about what had happened. One was a United Church of Christ minister who had been part of the clergy apposed to the KKK, Alt-right, white supremacists etc., Another was a local politician who lamented that this kind of thing could take place in the home of Thomas Jefferson.
After he spoke the minister reminded the viewers that Jefferson believed in white supremacy. (See Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.) There, Jefferson says blacks are “in reason, much inferior, in imagination, dull, tasteless and anomalous”
He also suggests that males would mate with orangutans.
Racism and white (or European) supremacy, male supremacy etc., has been part of the world century upon century. In fact, it defines history. Every conflict has been based on the assumed rights of one race or culture over the other. So embedded in humanity it is often the minority who will dare say it is evil and morally inexcusable. And even having said it, there can haunt in the nether regions of the soul the idea that it might be so. It’s known as prejudice.
I’ve heard the quotations about how hatred has to be taught, and I agree. However, after the Charlottesville incident, the father of one of the white supremacists announced that he and his family were disowning that son. He went on to say he had no idea where his son came up with those ideas, but they were never part of his family. Other relatives commented that the young man had become “scary” and they wanted nothing to do with him. This is a common response by those who have children who become part of hate organizations. Do we believe the testimony of the family? We have no reason not to. Most of us have seen children of “good” families go bad. It would be easy to say it was the devil. But how is it that the devil finds a way to get in? Children with every reason to become part of such groups that bring terror, don’t. That will, for the time being, remain a mystery.
It would also be easy for the Christian to say it was a lack of teaching about God and Jesus. But the evidence would say otherwise. The resent gathering of supremacists gathered in Seattle to have a prayer meeting. Prayer meetings before Klan rally’s was a common experience.
The burning cross was not an antiChristian symbol, but a symbol that God was on their side. How many of those, Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists (NNKKKWS) in Charlottesville, call themselves Christian is anybodies guess. But there is enough evidence to show that many of them do. The leader of the KKK in Danville says they are a peaceful group who want to protect the supremacy of the white race. He claims Christianity but denies that Jesus was a Jew.
How many openly NNKKKWS sit in churches each Sunday? How many preachers accept their views as “just opinion”? If they do it should not surprise us. Many in Christian churches (CofC included), openly endorsed segregation. Our Christian Colleges were segregated. Northeastern Institute for Christian Education (NICE) in Villanova, Pa. was the first to integrate, in 1959.
Racists were not only accepted in churches, but often were ministers and elders and educational leaders. Racism was not called a sin, but Biblical truth.
How did that change? Mostly grudgingly. Government improvement loans were denied any segregated organization. No blacks, no gymnasium money.
Will Christian ministers refuse membership to NNKKKWS who openly espouse that ideology? Will they ask them to renounce it in the name of Christ? Or will it be viewed as one opinion over and against another. Will it be called sin and evil?
The length of time it took for many Christian churches to call segregation sinful and evil took centuries, and there is still an undercurrent of racism in some churches.
Do I understand how it is easy for a “Christian” to spew prejudicial statements and still feel “Christian.” Yes. Because I also understand how easy it is to be drawn into letting fear and superior feelings find a foothold in me. Regardless, it is still sin and evil.
What bothers and frustrates me is remembering the past. The time when segregation was the norm in many places. When blacks and whites couldn’t legally marry. When black children would not be adopted to a white family, and certainly vice versa. I see all this and the progress made, but I am impatient. I don’t want anyone to suffer discrimination or death while so much time is spent waiting for the minds of people to change. We are always looking back to what used to be that is no longer accepted. Thank God in each period there are those who refused to accept such sin and evil.
Once again the Christian church has a decision to make. It cannot claim to follow Jesus, everyone says that. It will have to maintain its integrity and be known by what it produces. As Jesus said, “by its fruits”.

CONCERNS: Teryn Gaynor’s mother had to stop the cancer treatments for a few weeks. Alisa Flora will have surgery at Duke next month. Tolly Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s cousin. Gary Overstreet had cataract surgery and now can enjoy much better sight. Steve Gaynor’s sister is improving each day. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for a co-worker named Jeanie, who has a child with serious heath issues. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: I Corinthians 5:1-8
II Corinthians 1:23-2:11
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12
Monday: I Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday: Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-48

Former members, Jeff and Karissa Forsyth are the overjoyed parents of a baby boy. His name is Nelson Oaks Forsyth. He was born August 10th.

Lyn and Susan Jordan have returned from working a week at the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. We look forward to hearing their experiences soon.
Nick Bolin is back, or soon will be, from an internship with Amazon is Seattle. Mom and dad are on a “working” cruse where Del is lecturing as they travel.
Megan and James Downing are spending a week at the Outer Banks with James’ parents.

Today is Super Sunday. We will have our fellowship meal in the annex following the morning service. If you are a visitor consider yourself our guest.

This third Sunday of the month’s service has been arranged and conducted by Wayne Flora. Our thanks to him for his preparation. It will consist a service of readings and songs.

A family of seven is in need of any kind of furniture. They are involved in a civil suit where a landlord rented them a house he did not own and robbed them of most of what they had. Let Keith know if you have anything you a about to replace.

This year’s Bar B Que will be on Saturday, September 2nd. A sing-up list is on the foyer table. While not mentioned as a preference, this year via a gift, we will be smoking some prime rib as well as pork and chicken. Bring food that goes with Bar-B-Que.
We plan to eat about 4:00 PM