“NEW LIFE BULLETIN – VOL. 23, NO. 16&17 – FRACTURED SCRIPTURES
One of my favorite TV shows was Rocky and Bullwinkle. (Like you didn’t watch it!) It was supposed to be for kids but it had a sneaky appeal to at least some adults.
A favorite segment of mine was “Fractured Fairy Tales”. They were cute and creative. Fractured scriptures are neither. Fractured scriptures are those taken out of context. They are the ones used to defend a position, usually prejudicial, or traditional.
It is interesting that a number of those commonly used, have to do with the poor and the needy. That is ironic, since the poor and needy are among the most talked about by Jesus and the prophets. In fact, something Jesus himself said gets fractured. In Matt. 26:11; Mk. 14:7 and Jn. 12:8, Jesus says, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” When that is quoted it is usually, “Well, Jesus said there’d always be poor people.” The context for using that statement is mostly in relation to what to do about poverty. That was not Jesus’ point if you read the whole context. He also said they would not always have him. If the statement meant the poor would always be with us, does it also mean that Jesus will not always be with us?
Another one is in II Thess. 3:10. Here Paul says, “For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Translation: “Poor people on welfare are lazy and should not get help because they will not work.” First, the passage has
nothing to do with public assistance. Second, no one likes freeloaders. But there are a lot of rich boys and girls, men and women, who never worked a day in their lives and eat really well. Think Paris Hilton and countless others. But wait, they have the number one god—-money.
About this text we need to ask at least two questions. One: Why do we immediately think of welfare? Two: Why is this the only place Paul feels the need to say this? By the way, the idea that Paris Hilton and others like her are “busybodies” because they don’t work doesn’t fit the context either. People who work can also be “busybodies”. If we ask why the two letters to Thessalonica were written, perhaps we might get closer to what Paul meant. If you remember, the folks over there were called “a model” for believers. (I Thess 1:7) But it seems there was a problem with accusations of greed on the part of Paul, which takes up most of chapter 2. After personal notes in Chapter 3, he deals with the need to stay away from sin. Then in Chapter 4, it is interesting that in vs. 11 he tells them to “work with your hands, just as we told you”. Are they a “model” church of freeloaders? Then in response to some questions about those who had died before Jesus returned, he tries to answer their concerns. In so doing, his words leave the impression Jesus’ return will be soon.
In II Thess. He speaks of their “persecutions and trials”. He says these will be solved when the Lord comes with “blazing fire”. 1:7 But he needs to correct some ideas about Christ’s return. A bad guy has to show up first, someone he’s told them about who is on the horizon, about to be come. In the meantime they are to be ready. Then, as he ends, he tells them to stay away from everyone who is “idle”. 3:6 There it is again. What’s the problem with these “brothers”? In vs. 11 he comes back to it, saying he has heard about the idle “busybodies”. Note that in vs. 12 he urges them to “settle down and earn the bread they eat.” Why were they unsettled and not working? What were they “busy” about that caused them to not work? Dare we say they were like those who quit work any time someone predicts the coming of the Lord and goes about spreading the message of “Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon”? Why else would this “model” church have people unsettled and not working?
There are other such passages, like that whole thing about widows in I Timothy. Do we really believe Paul thought a sixty year old widow was young and then old a year later”. (I Tim. 5:9) And have you noticed how, when Jesus’ words about how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, we rush to explain it, rather than say, “O yeah, all those greedy rich people!” Or when James says, “Is it not the rich who are exploiting you”, (2:6) we don’t say, “Boy is he right about the rich!” Do you know why?
CONCERNS: Mary Smith is home, but still unable to be out and about. Jim Hunter has started chemotherapy. Del Bolin asks prayers for Sharon and Ellen. Ellen is near death. Sharon has lymphoma. He also has a student whose brother-in-law, Billy, has very serious thyroid cancer. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child. Tony Smallwood, the injured truck driver has shown some improvement. He is in Forsythe Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. Donna Brutto, Jo Wagner’s cousin is recovering from bladder cancer. Jenn McCready, a therapist in Del Bolin’s office, Mark McRoy’s friend, Ken Teatino, has had good reports as he undergoes treatment for lymphoma. We have learned that former member Anita Pennell’s mother is critically ill in Tennessee. Helen Nicklas remains about the same. Remember Jenni Cullum, Joni Beach’s mother, Alma Martin, Tim Elder and all the good work of Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 7-12
Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday: Psalm 146:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 14-19
Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98:1-9
AC Branch will graduate from Faith Christian soon. She has been on the Honor Role each of her years there. She will be, as it is officially said, matriculating to Roanoke Collage. She will be living on campus, but we’ll still get to see her. ALSO: There will be a dinner hosted by Erma Williams for her in the annex on Sunday, May 20 at 6:00 PM. Everyone is invited to come. Also in attendance will be former members Jacob and Kayla Hawks who are also graduates.
Our thanks to several of our young folks as well as some adults who prepared and served the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House on Wednesday evening. This has become a really enjoyable and rewarding work.
Kirous (that may not be the right spelling) is a prison ministry that Joanne Elder is involved in. They will be using the annex on Saturday, May 12 to develop some of their plans. If you would like to help, they could use some. They will be there from 8 or 9 AM to about 2 PM. See Joanne for the exact time.
A WEEKEND VBS?
The steering committee was asked about having a weekend VBS program in late summer or early fall. It depends on how many people will be available to help. It would be called, Rocky Point Lighthouse. Think about it and more information will be forthcoming
AC Branch is collecting aluminum cans for a friend who is trying to help give his friend a “boost” when he is released from jail by being able to sell the cans to Cycle Systems. You can put them in the room to the left at the foot of the stairs.
Before turning in the cans, remove the pull tabs. These can be used by the Ronald McDonald House. A jar has been placed on the table downstairs and a box in the same room where the cans may be deposited.
Super Sunday is May 20. Make plans to stay and enjoy the meal together.