Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: September 2017


Labels! What are they good for? Nothing! Well, at least not much. We need labels on items. The problem is when we label people and ideas.
I have to admit that nearly all the labels stuck on me have been merit badges of sorts. “Unsound” is now antiquated, but I have that one in my box of old labels.
“Liberal” is the longest lasting, and while I don’t display it, I don’t deny it either. It’s in my theological blood, though only via a transfusion. Or perhaps I should say a “transformation.”
I’m not sure exactly when it started, but it was before I entered Northeastern Institute for Christian Education (NICE). If you want to see for yourself, go to NICE the Early Years. It’s on Facebook. What you will find are pictures from the first Church of Christ educational institution from preschool through college that was fully integrated when it opened in 1959. By that standard it was liberal. There was Interracial dating. Also liberal by the standards of that day. I’ve mentioned NICE before, but it connects to what I’m saying now.
There, I witnessed the suspicion of the local and area CofC preachers to the “liberal” school. I have to admit it was a little exciting. I was seeing the Bible in ways I’d never been taught or thought about before. I couldn’t get enough. However, sadly, due to suspicion and jealousy, from the top down to the religion department, the administration resigned or was replaced.
So I started into the preaching world knowing there would be labels. I also knew I had to decide which of those labels I would accept while maintaining my integrity and honesty toward the teachings of the Bible. That decision lead me in several different directions. I found myself leaving concepts and methods of interpretation on which I thought I was to stand, according to what I had been taught in church. It was very often a scary place and I’m not that brave.
Throughout the years I have seen labels define Christianity. Liberal and Conservative being the general terms. I recently saw a detrimental comment about “liberal Christianity.” No definition was given. I’m sure it would not be the description of what I would call liberal.
Let’s see if we can decide liberal from conservative. Since this is in a Christian context, we will use that as a basis. Question: Was Jesus a liberal according to the scribes and the Pharisees?
When Jesus was accused of eating with tax collectors and sinners, was that viewed as liberal or conservative by the religious standards of the ruling body?
Was his take on Sabbath rules liberal or conservative?
Was the apostle Paul a liberal or a conservative according to the Jews?
In the early church were the Jewish Christians who wanted the law of circumcision ( which was supposed to be an eternal covenant) and the dietary laws of Judaism maintained, liberal or conservative?
Would the Gentile Christians who ate meat sacrificed at the pagan temples be seen as more liberal than the Jewish Christians who would not?
Were Martin Luther and the other reformers liberal or conservative according to those who stood against them?
Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who apposed the take over of the church in Germany by Hitler and spoke out against him, as well as being part of a plot to kill him, a liberal or conservative?
Was William Wilberforce, who worked against slavery in England liberal or conservative?
Were those Christians who apposed slavery in America, liberal or conservative?
Was Frederick Douglas a liberal or a conservative?
Were those Christians who worked for women’s suffrage liberal or conservative?
Was Martin Luther King Jr. a liberal or a conservative?
Were those who walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama liberal or conservative?
Was Nelson Mandela liberal or conservative?
I’ll leave the answers to you. My point is that while labels are used to define, they also divide. They put a narrow definition on the individual and groups. Are there conservative liberals and liberal conservatives? Of course.
I’m not sure how many “yes” and “no” answers the reader of these questions would give. I only know that I would be honored to be associated with any of them labeled “liberal.”

1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner
4-Garrett L. Williams 10-Brice Reid
14-Connie Crites 15-Mary Willa Foy
20-Lyn Jordan 20-Melisha Scruggs
24-Teryn Gaynor 4-Susan Phlegar
27-TJ Hall 31-Elliot Hogan
3-James & Megan Downing
8-Mike & Karen Crush Branch
9-Scott & Bonnie Blessing
19-Jeff & Sherry Bland

CONCERNS: Little Abby Keeting continues to be treated for leukemia. Martha Foy had hip replacement surgery in Charlotte NC. She is doing fine but will be with her aunt who lives there for a week or so. Judy McWhorter’s friend, Josh Thirston is having problems after a kidney transplant. Judy Hall is also having issues with her cornea transplant. Luke Beach, great-nephew of Alan and Joni is having treatment to shrink a benign brain tumor. Scott Blessing is having serious back pain. Del Bolin’s mother is doing better. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues cancer treatment. Steve Gaynor’s sister is improving. Ben Robertson is still job hunting. Continue in prayer for Melisha Scruggs friend, Jeanie, who has a child with health issues. Tolly Nicklas, Sheila Jansen and her Daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
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

A total of $2,000.00 has ben sent to The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort to help those effected by recent Hurricanes.

Feeding America’s drive for peanut butter is ongoing. Just kept it on your mind when you shop. There is o deadline. Peanut butte supplies one of the best nutritional needs for helping families.

Judy McWhorter will be visiting family in Vermont this week.

The family needing furniture has found enough for now. However, in the future, if you are replacing something, call or check with Keith first. Such needs come and go.

Changes in the congregation, as well as scheduling issues caused last year’s event to be canceled. If there is enough interest, we will do it this year. However, an alternative could be rather than rush up to the Peaks of Otter after the Super Sunday meal, a Saturday could be picked out on which to go. That could be just for the hike, or perhaps a picnic as well. Let’s talk about it.
Another option could be a picnic at a local park, such as Green Hill. This could be done on a Sunday afternoon because it is much closer and tends to offer more room for picnicking. Planing such an event would allow us to determine the right time to enjoy the fall colors, since the warming trend of recent years has backed off the fall display.

If you have changed your email address lately, give Keith a copy if you want to keep getting news and up dates.


Let me start at the beginning, if there is a beginning. When it comes to politics, my mother was a Democrat and my father was a Republican, at least that’s what they said. I never knew them to actually vote. They said it was because each one would void the other’s vote.
I remember being in a schoolyard when FDR died. School was dismissed early that day. A few years later in the same schoolyard, I remember saying I wanted Dewey to win. Why? I heard my father say he should. He didn’t and my world didn’t change as far as I could tell.
I was mad when Truman fired General MacArthur. Then my brother who was in the Army during the Korean “Conflict” told me the President was the Commander-in-Chief of the military and MacArthur had disobeyed an order from the President. My life didn’t change.
Jack Kennedy was a Catholic and that was bad, according to a lot of people, including the church my family attended. He was elected and my life didn’t change. However, it was about that time I started looking beyond my life and looking at my country and the rest of the world.
We moved to West Virginia to start work with a small-town church, and it might have been then we decided to register to vote. In that state you had to chose a party, so we both chose the party of Jo’s parents. But we didn’t vote until several years later. We did get a taste of politics in that little town. One of the elders was a local Justice of the Peace and another was on the county school board, and part of the same political party. The JP held court on Sunday, which I was to understand was illegal.
A member there was on the inside of the local and state politics. He took me to the capital where I met, as I remember, the Governor and one or two of his close sidekicks. He would later go to prison.
When the two above mentioned elders decided to fire me (the elder who wanted me hired had retired and moved away) I was told by my “insider” friend that the school board member had been told to leave the county or go to jail for some kind of misappropriation of funds. I was his last act as an elder. All of the afore mentioned men were part of the political party we’d registered with.
The town had two Methodist churches. One was a white frame building and was called the Southern (Republican) Methodist Church. The other, a fine brick building on the hill by the Court House was known as the Northern (Democrat) Methodist Church. I’m fairly sure they were not “United” Methodists.
As to if the split made a lot of difference, I don’t know. The designations seemed to be more a part of family and personal preference rather than history. They seemed to get along fine.
We had close friends at church who were part of the opposite party from us. Once in awhile I would hear them speak about the corruption of the opposition party, and I didn’t disagree. I was not into politics.
I don’t remember the first time Jo and I voted. I think it was when Jimmy Carter was running. I remember the fear that went around when he said he was a born again Christian. That was a new one. People didn’t know what to do with that. How would that influence his decisions?
It was, as I remember, during the Reagan Administration, that I first heard good friends, the kind that made our lives better, say disparaging things about the other political party. This was done in front of their “brothers and sisters who were part of the “other” party.
This atmosphere seemed to grow, and during the Clinton years it became more exposed. A church member said at a gathering that she wished someone would assassinate Hillary Clinton. When my wife said she surely didn’t mean that, she assured her that she did. I shouldn’t have let it pass, but I did. It wasn’t long before she moved to another church. As we talked, I said I was glad there were two political parties. She said there should be only one-hers.
During that same time, a couple attending a small group meeting of this church, quit the meeting and the church because what was supposed to be a Bible study turned into bashing the political party of which they were a part.
Out of that came open statements that one political party was about Christian values. Which meant the other was not. More than one person has said a person couldn’t be a Christian and be a member of the other party. Which means if you were part of that party you were not a “true” Christian. A friend told me a person she’d known for a long time tried to drag her in a political discussion she didn’t want to have, and when she told her friend, she never heard from her again.
I have a minister friend who had to basically announce in the church bulletin that the church would be a politically neutral zone.
To say this has been part of the history of politics, even causing a war between the States, is beside the point. This is about Christians. You know, like the Christian Jews and the Gentile Christians having respect for one another’s views about Gentile things and Jewish things. It was just too easy to say the uncircumcised Gentile Christian was not a “real” Christian.
Don’t get me wrong, there are “Christians” and then there are “Christians”.The “real” ones are known by how they reflect the qualities of Jesus. I say “how well” because none of us are exceptionally good at doing that, but the difference is evident when we do get it right, or when we get it wrong.
As Christians we are not to be, as Paul would say, “of the world.” That the “world” smears and lies about its opponents is evident. So it behooves Christians to fact- check anything they see posted as truth. And while doing so, respect those who see things differently. It is the “truth” which sets us free. I know Jesus is the truth which sets us free. But you get the point.

CONCERNS: Alisa Flora did very well with her surgery. She may be home by today. Abraham Sirgy asks prayer for a friend, Timothy Johnson. Del Bolin asks prayer for Abby Keeting, a little girl being treated for leukemia. Luke Beach, grandnephew of Alan & Joni. Judy and T. J. Hall. Judy is having eye problems and T. J. with migraines. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues with cancer treatments. Ben Robertson is job hunting. Tolly Nicklas is in nursing care. Steve Gaynor’s sister. Betty. Gary Overstreet. Melisha Scruggs’ friend, Jeanie, who has a child with health problems. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tom Elder. The Thurston boy Judy McWhorter ask prayer for had the kidney transplant and did fine.
Monday: Psalm 40:1-17
Tuesday: John 8:49-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-30
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1-22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24

Today we will hear Lyn Jordan tell us about his experience while working with the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. Susan has been going for several years and this year we sent Lyn along.
He had several new experiences, as does everyone who goes for the first time. We are looking forward to hearing from him today.

Today is also Super Sunday. Along with the other food that is brought, we will have the leftover Bar-B-Que which has been frozen since Labor Day. It consists of pork shoulder and chicken. We were not able to freeze the prime rib because it had been frozen twice before. However, we were able to send it all home with those who came. Plan to stay and enjoy the meal.

Most of us have friend and relatives in Florida. Todd Wagner and his family had no damage to their home in Cape Coral, other then loss of power for about a day. Jen and the children came to Roanoke.
Stephanie Dixon also did fine in Sarasota, with just a loss of power as well.

Vivian will be away for the next three weeks.

There will be a steering Committee meeting in the library after the Super Sunday meal.

The need for peanut butter is ongoing. Feeding America is always distributing peanut butter to families in need. Place it either on the downstairs tale, or on the foyer table.

If you are about to get rid of usable furniture, give Keith a call first.