Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: March 2019


Jed Clampett used to say that when he referred to something dim-witted second cousin Jethro Bodine said or did.
I found those words floating through my mind as I looked at a copy of Does God Exist, a quarterly published by John Clayton. Clayton is one of the best among the Churches of Christ in making science and religion compatible and relevant. He has no problems saying he believes in evolution.
Evolution meaning: “An unfolding type of change.” Everything evolves. Science, Business, education, even theology. And that last one is the rub. This has caused Clayton to be branded by some in the C of C.
He tells of not long ago receiving a call from an 80-year-old retired science teacher and widow of an elder, who had taught Sunday School with a half-century experience of teaching children, who was told she could no longer teach because, in her words, “You aren’t much of a Christian because you believe in evolution.” Then, not much later another woman called and said she had been removed from teaching her second grade Sunday School class because, “You believe in science.” “Holy Charles Darwin, Batman! Are we still in the dark ages?!” Or, as Jed Clampett would say, “Pediful! Pediful!”
Such an attitude toward science from religious circles comes partly from refusing to understand scripture within its historical and literary context.
Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” To say, as some do, that this means God selects the sex and personality of every person, is to say what it does not say. It is a poetic way of giving God the glory for one’s life. Neither does Psalm 51:5 teach that we are born sinners. The Psalm, traditionally accredited to David after his adultery with Bathsheba, says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Is this a direct quote from God? No. This is David reflecting on his sin and expressing his deep remorse, so much so that he sees himself “bad to the bone!” God never said that, nor did Jesus.
Perhaps the things said about Judas come to mind. If you believe he was created to betray Jesus and had no choice, then give him a break. He did what he was created to do. He fulfilled the will of God. Name your next kid Judas.
However, these and other such examples fall into the literary context. The Gospels were written after the Epistles.
Jesus died, rose from the dead (defeating the last enemy) and ascended. The Gospels are told from that context. Therefore, salvation from sin and death came from all of the pieces falling into place. Without those elements, the story of salvation falls apart. Therefore, in its own way, it is the will of God. Could Jesus have turned away from the cross? Yes. In fact, it is in his refusal to escape the cross that he reveals the love and grace of God. His death and resurrection changed everything.
It’s the things which fall into the poetic context that cause some to reject science. To take poetry and say it means God develops each person like an individual knitting project is to misunderstand and misuse scripture. To understand human birth and development, we need to look at science. Evolving science has brought us from believing that children born with a birth defect is a curse from God, to understanding in most cases, the root cause. The tragedy of religion gone wrong is that in some areas even today, children born with something as simple as a cleft pallet are seen as cursed by God.
The fear of the advancement of human knowledge (science) has historical roots in religion. Perhaps, among scriptures about God’s thinking and man’s thinking, is the story of Eden, where it appears that humans try to become God. It messed up everything. Just about every venture into scientific discovery has been seen by some as an attempt to become God.
I can remember when I was in early grade school, seeing one of those National Enquire-type magazines proclaiming in fearful type, “Test-tube Babies Are Coming!” At that age I was having enough trouble with where babies came from without replacing the stork with a test-tube!
What I’m saying is this; let’s give God a break and stop blaming him for everything we don’t understand that goes wrong. “Wrong” is a relative term. What we may see as wrong in the beginning, can become a blessing (a right) when we look back on it. This is often true in the case of a child born with an affliction. However, while we may become thankful, the affliction was caused by physiological reasons. Children born with two sets of reproductive organs are said to be the result of a mix up in the chromosomes at a critical point of development. It is science that helps us to understand and deal with what some religions would say is the will of God.
Any advancement of science that alters the accepted “natural” flow of life is often seen as an affront to God. We sing that God is the “Ruler of all nature” but we dam up rivers to produce irrigation and electricity. We build flood walls to hold back water from its “natural” flood course.
We alter biology by cross-breeding of plants and animals. But when it comes to humankind we feel we are imposing on God. The Bible was used to make black/white marriage illegal for years.
Is it possible to upset human development and create Frankinstiens? Who knows. What about cloning? I know of a lawyer who had the DNA from a son who died young stored, hoping to clone him so he could have the chance at life he failed to have. These are issues where faith and science need to come together.
Faith in God can help by maintaining the sanctity of life while not misusing scripture in any way. We can stand in awe of the knowledge that is part of our God-given creative nature. We have come this far, and with wonder and reverence, continue for as long as life lasts.

CONCERNS: Jim Hunter had to have more of his foot remove due to diabetes. Debbie McRoy will be scheduled for back surgery in the coming weeks. Her cousin, Linda Alsup has health issues and her husband, Preston is being treated for cancer. Judy McWhorter had a bout with bronchitis last week. Teryn Gaynor had the flu last week. Those being treated for, or recovering from cancer are: Ray Barns, (pray also for his wife, Darnell) Judy Powell, Harold Clark (Jo Wagner’s sister and a cousin) Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (also her step-father has Parkinson’s) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David and Deanna McRoy. Donte McCadden, a CF patient, Jamie Cole, Joni Beach’s niece. The aging parents of Wayne Flora, the Beach’s and Del Bolin. Continue to pray for Gary Overstreet, Jim Hunter, Bill Albert, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tim Elder and Jim and Mary Smith.
We welcome today, Jonathan Dansby and his family. Jonathan comes to us from Duke University, where he will graduate in May with a Master of Divinity Degree. He is the first minister speaking with the steering committee and the church concerning the position of pulpit minister.

Today is also Super Sunday. The fellowship meal in the annex will follow the morning service. Plan to stay and get to know Jonathan and his family.

On Sunday, March 31, we will have the annual visit by a representative from the Gideon’s Int. A short presentation will be made before the scheduled service, and he will be taking a retiring offering after the service in the foyer.

It has been decided that the Bulletin will continue to be printer bi-monthly. The middle of the month issue will contain an article which will continue to fill the inside, with the front and back carrying the concerns and the news. The last-of-the month bulletin will contain an article as well as the list of those who will be serving the congregation, along with a list of birthdays and anniversaries.

Last Sunday, Andy Todd visited with us. He is with the Food and Drug Administration. He has a girl friend in Cincinnati, and visits her when he can.


When I was in high school, living in a home with no air-conditioning, in the early morning hours of summer when I wanted to sleep, the strains of “Ah Sweet Mystery of life at last I’ve found thee. Ah at last I know the secrete of it all” pierced my brain. It came from an aspiring singer a few houses away, who also had no air-conditioning. She would sing it over and over honing what I suppose was a rich, operatic voice. I use that as an introduction to the article for no other reason than it still reverberates in my brain when I think of the mystery of life. So lets take a little journey in life’s mystery.
What if the Pharaoh of Egypt who honored Joseph would have put out an edict which said, “From this day forward and forevermore, the house of Joseph shall be a welcome and protected people in our land. It is and let it be so”. As you know, instead “there arose a Pharaoh in Egypt who did not know Joseph.” We can understand that, being that the Hebrews had been there about 400 years. But what if they had been protected by law? What if there was no need for an exodus?
What if, under this new idea they were protected and multiplied and in time out-numbered the Egyptians? Since they had been in Egypt all those years they had only a legendary attachment to the God of Jacob and Joseph.
According to the little research I’ve done, their religion was a mixture of Abrahamic oral tradition and Egyptian practices during that 400 years. What if the fertile crescent of Egypt looked more “promising” than the land of Canaan? The small detail of an edict of protection (citizenship) could have changed the course of history.
So what? We can’t change history, but history can change us. We can learn from the mistakes and ignorance of the past. As the saying goes, if we don’t we’re bound to repeat them.
For some, the great mystery of life is if life is preordained, or haphazard? It is easy for some to say it is all planned by God to the last detail. Say, for example, the question of how long you are going to live and how you will die? Does God know? What does the “all Knowing”, the omniscience of God mean?. I have no comfort in believing that God knows how and when I’m going to die. Why? Because I don’t know, and I don’t have any information about it , nor do I want to. The only persons I know who know how and when they are going to die are those about to be executed, or terminally ill. Were I such a person I would have little comfort in believing it was the unchanging will of God. So if God knows, it does me no good. The comfort comes from knowing I will have lived with meaning and purpose, and trusting God to be loving.
I’m not talking about people having near death experiences or second chances. I’m talking about believing God planned, and therefore, causes everything to happen in a life.
Our response to the nature of God is to say things like, “God allows.” Really? How do we know that? Because if it happens, and does not fit within our comprehension we have to explain it in some way. Saying something happens without God causing it seems to somehow diminish God.
Does it diminish God to believe in a world (or universe) designed to operate within certain laws, and that humankind exists in relationship with those laws, and suffers when those laws are broken? We see evidence of that every time we look at history and even today.
The intervention of God into life is a mystery, compounded by its “beyond our controlness.” But to live as though God moves with us, rather than preordaining every happening, gives me a relationship where I can be thankful for life and accept the painful things as part of having that life. But it also means eliminating as much of that pain and suffering as I can, and helping others to do so. And in so doing, believing that is the work of God, and not the undoing of God’s will.
Everything is in hindsight. We cannot change history. All we can do is change the present. We build on both the ignorance and wisdom of the past, while believing there is a purpose and power beyond us which inspires us to dream big dreams and overcome great barriers as we reach out to the meaning of being made in the image of God. And that is God’s predetermination. The rest is up to us.

Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: James Downing
Megan Downing
Susan Jordan
Lynn Jordan
Usher: Mark McRoy
Communion Care: Holly Wagner
Singing: Scripture:
3-Scott Blessing Judy McWhorter
10-Alan Beach Connie Crites
17-Del Bolin Martha Foy
24-Karen Branch Holly Wagner
31-Alan Beach James Downing
Communion: Nursery:
3-Abraham Sirgy Susan Jordan
10-Scott Blessing Susan Phlegar
17-Keith Wagner Holly Wagner
24-Mike Branch Connie Crites
31-Wayne Flora Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams

3.Vivian Dugan 5-Bonnie Blessing
12-Buster McRoy 13-Bill Albert
29-James Downing 31-Erma Williams
10-Alan & Joni Beach
19-Bill & Martha Albert

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is going to have back surgery as soon as it can be arranged. Jim Hunter will have to have more of his foot removed due to diabetes. Mark Floyd, a friend of Judy McWhorter’s fell from a horse and had to have brain surgery. The Reiss’ son, David is still being treated for brain cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole will have brain tests at UA Birmingham. Ray Barns had an adverse reaction to chemo and they are seeking alternative treatments. Keep his wife, Darnell in prayer as well. Remember also Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice who has cancer. Others dealing with cancer are Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Judy Powell and Harold Clark (Jo Wagner’s sister and a cousin) The parents of Wayne Flora, The Beach’s fathers and Del Bolin’s mother. Donte McCadden (cf) Wayne Phlegar, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Jim and Mary Smith Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and Tim Elder.

As Keith moves closer to retirement, the bulletin will be published monthly, rather than bi-monthly. The weekly handout will contain news and notifications. Other needed information between bulletins will go out via email.
From Megan & James Downing: “A big, heartfelt thank-you to everyone who attended the baby shower yesterday. (2/23) We are so excited to start this new adventure, and cannot wait for Luke to meet our wonderful church family. Your love, support, and prayers have meant so much to us and we are extremely grateful. All our love, Megan and James Downing
On Super Sunday 3/17 Jonathan Dansby will be speaking. He will teach the adult class as well. Jonathan is a prospect to replace Keith. He will graduate from Duke this may.
Keith’s retirement will be somewhat gradual. The first changes will take place in April when he only preaches twice a month. This will decrease in time as the search for a new minister proceeds. When the new minister comes, he will do the office duties he ha s done since Wilma Cullum retied tow days a week. How long this will continue depends on several factors.
Jim Hunter is waiting for a hospital room. Martha can’t be with Bill at the lake and Jim here in town. Jim has a god support group, but there are times when a little extra would help. He is confined to the upstairs while at the Skylark house. He can use rides to the doctor, as well as daily needs. His phone # is 540-797-8030. Call and if you go to the house he will tell you how to get in.
Vivian Dugan will be will her other daughter until May 1.