“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 26, NO. 3&4 – YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Right after my article warning the atheists about starting churches, a good friend of mine in Denver sent me an email with an article from CNN.com about that very subject. It’s too long to print all of it here, but if you want it and can’t find it, I’ll forward you the link.
I have to say I smiled all the way through the article. In it’s own way it was wonderful. Everything they did and are doing sounds just like the Christian Church. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
The major movement seems to have taken root in London. A group of atheists led by a couple named Jones, started the Sunday Assembly. Soon, as all mega-church fellows know to do, they franchised it to New York, Dublin and Melbourne. No sooner than it was set in motion, New York split off and called themselves Godless Revival. Does any of this sound familiar?
Jones accused GR, saying they had “a problem with atheism.” OK, I know you think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Atheists are now arguing over who is “sound” (our term) in the unfaith or not! Wonderful!
Jones wrote to Lee Moore of Godless Revival and told him, among other things, to stop meeting “in a dive bar” where women wore bikinis, and adopt a more traditional dress. See, even atheists have trouble with what women wear to church!
In time, Jones’ group disfellowshipped (our word) Moore’s group by telling them they were “no longer welcome.”
The reporter who wrote the story, who seems to be something of an atheist, said on the first visit to Sunday Assembly, it met in a “deconsecrated church building.” Perhaps an ironic twist, or an attachment to the tradition of “church”. Who knows? Regardless, they soon outgrew that place and at the time of the article they were meeting in the “elegant Conway Hall.” Again, it sounds familiar.
Now it gets really delightful. The fundamental atheists (those sound in their unbelief) attacked the idea of “organized disbelief.” That’s right folks, there are watchdogs of unbelief, even among those who don’t believe! Imagine if you will, an article appearing in an atheistic brotherhood paper denouncing the lack of sound disbelief among some of the brethren.
“It has come to the attention of some of the brethren that some among us are no longer sound in the unfaith. They are no longer actively preaching the sound doctrine of Godlessness. They are becoming more like the Unitarians and have actually allowed Unitarians to place membership without swearing they believe there is no God. They are becoming denominational in their organizational structure. They misuse the texts that guide us and twist them to their own destruction. Even the Christians mark those who cause divisions! I think it is time we decide who we will follow. As for me and my house, we will not follow any idea of a God, and will contend for the unfaith that was once and for all delivered to the atheists.”
Actually, the article said that among the fundamental atheist’s complaint was the “pillaging of their texts and traditions.” Amazing how people are alike, godless or not!
Sunday Assembly is now expanding its franchise not only across England, but Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United States.
The reporter noted that as SA grew it began to change and “move away from its atheism.” She, her name is Katie Engelhart, said that Jones remarked, “how atheistic should we be? The short answer is, not very.” Surprise! Surprise! I’m a prophet and don’t know it!
She also noted that during several meetings for “church,” rarely was God’s nonexistence mentioned, and that it looked to some as if it was becoming more and more like a revised form of the Unitarianism. One person said they’d left the Unitarians because they “weren’t Godless enough.” Now that may offend some of you, but I found it funny.
She also stated that if a person was looking for a firm, (our word would be “sound”) atheistic church where unbelief is celebrated, they would not find it in Sunday Assembly. More and more they are welcoming everyone.
On the actual sermon level, she said one sermon she heard was a five minute Wickipedia-esque lecture on particle physics. (I haven’t tried that one yet!) There was also a lot of tweaking of technical glitches and concerns about the web-casting and how hard they’d worked to make it all happen. Sound familiar?
Sunday Assembly now has its own materials for all the franchised churches, and, to operate (not pastor) a Sunday Assembly church, one must go to England for a three to six week peer review. See, even the atheists “ordain” their preachers. I don’t know if there is a franchise fee or not, but there should be. All mega-church leaders know there’s big money to be made in religion, or in this case, nonreligion.
I know you may not believe this, but there is even an issue over the little “c” or the big “C” in “church”. To be fair, the big “C” is the global little “c” church. But some do not like the idea, as stated before, of organized atheism, which the big “C” would indicate. Maybe they should study up on the house church idea. And if they should decide on small groups, they need to be sure to have a “sound” atheist there to assure that the conversation does not get too Godly.
When Engelhart spoke to Moore (the New York guy) on the phone he was still bitter about the split between Sunday Assembly and Godless Revival. She remarked that it had probably squashed any possibility of a “multinational atheistic enterprise.” Moore said he still had expansion aims.
I’m not really worried about organized atheism, because if they catch on they’ll probably have an atheistic church on every other corner and none of them will agree with the other.
CONCERNS: Alma Martin suffered two major strokes, and she died on Thursday. Anna Ferrell has asked our prayers for a friend, Erin Carroll. It was good to see Wayne Phlegar and Zona Fisher last Sunday. We’re glad they are feeling better. Keep the following people in your prayers: Gary Overstreet, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams who has leukemia, Gil Richardson, a friend of Martha Foy’s, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin’s, Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder and Mary Smith. A friend of Jim Hunter’s has asked for prayers for his mother, Mrs. Matara.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JANUARY 20-25
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
OUR DAILY BREAD: JANUARY 27-31
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
Since the bulletin is a kind of record of events and things, we welcome Larry and Betty Foy into our fellowship. They are certainly not strangers, having visited Martha and her family many times over the years.
They have moved from Blacksburg to Roanoke to be closer to Martha in their retirement. They are living at Brandon Oaks, just down the street.
They have both served the Blacksburg church in many ways while Larry taught at VT. Larry, as one of the elders, and Betty in her own many serving ways.
More directory information later
Sunday, Jan. 19th is Super Sunday. After the weather problems we have had it will be a good time to enjoy the warm fire and an equally warm meal with equally warm friends. Plan to stay.
A NEW LIGHT
Adam Fleming has installed a new light at the downstairs entrance. Any of you who have had to come into the building at night know that it was not only dark under the overhang, but it was hard to see the keyhole as well. The light is motion sensitive and remains on for about five minutes. This will also serve as a security light to deter anyone who attempts to break in.
On Sunday, the 5th, some on higher elevations had ice, while those in the lower areas had just rain. It was to clear fast, but we were not sure how fast for those on hills, so we made a late decision to cancel services. We could have had a 10:30 service, but we just didn’t know.
In conjunction with weather related problems, I (kw) had at least one phone number for someone who attends here regularly but is not in the directory, but their number was in the office and our hill was icy. I now have at least two such numbers at home and it will not happen again. A new directory will also solve such issues.