Posted on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
One of my favorite authors, who I had the pleasure of meeting last January on study leave, is Barbara Brown-Taylor. She is recognized as one of the ten outstanding Christian preacher/writers in the English speaking world, and while I am not familiar with all of her competition, I can say that she is a most effective communicator of the truth of the gospel message as she applies it to life today.
One of her books, Leaving Church, details her experience of doing just what the title says-- leaving the parish ministry for an academic career at Piedmont College in Georgia. In the course of her writing in which she explains her reasons for leaving, Barbara observes that most believers are led through three distinct “seasons” of change in their spiritual lives, not just once but several times over. They are, as Jesus calls them: finding life, losing life and finding life again, with the paradoxical promise that that the finders will be losers and the losers will find their lives again, when they live for the sake of Christ.
She observes, notably from her own experience, that “you only need to lose track of who you are, or thought you were supposed to be, so that you end up lying flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. Do this, Jesus says, and you will live.”
I like that phrase, lying flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. It reminds me of another one, lying down while looking up at the bottom. I think both of them paint a vivid picture of what it is like to be down and out after a significant loss or disappointment in one’s life experience. It happened to Barbara; it happens to all of us sooner or later; it even happened to Jesus, and it can happen to churches as well.
We are living in a time when the “mainline” churches in our country are going through what I will refer to as a period of “contraction.” Whether we choose to or not, we are pulling back, consolidating, and in some cases, closing down, and the future seems pretty bleak.
So, what are we to do? As a preacher said to me once in church camp long ago: “If you are the last one to leave, turn out the lights before you go…”
Well now, before we get to that point, perhaps we need to listen to the words of the one who asked us to start this whole thing known as church, about finding life, losing it and finding it again. Paradox aside, I think Jesus was telling us that nothing remains the same, and as much as we would like to deny it, life is a process of change and renewal. And using his own life as an example, that process is difficult-- even deadly at some point-- where we find ourselves lying flat on the ground without hope and almost without a heartbeat.
But it doesn’t stop there. Seasons come and go. Life goes on in cycles. We find our way; we lose our way, and then find it again. What contracts in one phase of life expands in another. What dies in one life is reborn in another.
As Christians we call this resurrection. And we believe it
applies to every living thing. Let us, in this time of uncertainty and wonder, take heart and have hope that a new season will come and God’s will and work will be done here, and the light of life will shine even brighter in the future than it has in the past…
The choice is yours…
We had a wonderful turn-out for our October meeting and hope to see everyone in November. In addition to our bible study, Dixie Loy provided insight into her leadership conference in Orlando, and she, Pauline Blossom, and Julia Esquibel discussed their Synod PW conference held October 8 - 10.
If you couldn't be with us, know that your presence was missed. Our November meeting will be held the second Monday of the month (the 8th) at our usual time of 9:30 a.m. We will be continuing our study of Revelation in Lesson 4 led by Pauline Blossom. Phyllis Zumwalt will be hostess for this meeting. The scripture reference will be Rev. 6. Here six of the seven seals are opened, delivering God's diagnosis of the evils of the Roman Empire.
See you at our November meeting.
The September meeting of Presbytery began on the 24th at Jal, New Mexico, with a worship service. At this meeting Jal was de-commissioned as a church and commissioned as a "fellowship.”
On Saturday we met at Hobbs First, which began with a worship service. Four churches will be sending an additional Ruling Elder Commissioner to Presbytery meetings beginning in January, 2011: First-Las Cruces, Sonoma Springs-Las Cruces, First-Carlsbad and First-Dexter. The Pecos Valley Hispanic Ministry Administrative Commission was dismissed with thanks. Two items which will have a direct impact on the life of WPC are: There will be a $2 increase in per capita tax; and effective with the 2011 Terms of Call, the minimum effective salary of ministers of the Word will be $40,000, part-time to be prorated accordingly. There will be an additional report on this impact later. There is a called meeting of the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca on November 5 & 6 at Dexter Presbyterian Church for the purpose of discussing proposed amendments to the Constitution of the PC(USA): Foundations of Presbyterian Polity and Form of Government; Confession of Belhar; and Amendments to the Book of Order.
The Presbytery of Sierra Blanca adopted a new approach: going paperless. All items in the Presbytery packet were on-line rather than in printed form. Since your commissioner did not print all of the documents, they are available on line from the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca website (www.sierrablanca.org).
Fall is the season when the summer months are winding down and winter is on the way. The trees drop their colorful leaves, children return to school and the harvests are brought in and stored for winter. It is a time to prepare for winter’s embrace as plants go dormant and less time is spent outside.
As we reflect in this month on our blessings, our friends and family, we would like to invite you to join us for our annual Thanksgiving dinner on November 25th at 2 PM in the fellowship hall. There is a signup sheet in the Narthex and places to indicate if you would like to help by preparing a turkey for the dinner, or perhaps just purchasing a turkey, providing side dishes or helping to clean up afterward. Please join us this year as we remember all the blessings God has given us.
Once again, Hungry Harold has dived deep into his pantry to see what needs he has for this month. He has found that he could use items such as Spaghetti sauce, instant potatoes and Kool-Aid drink mixes.
He also would like to extend his heart-felt thanks to everyone who has so generously donated items for the Community Kitchen.
The Yucca Porcelain Art Club (YPAC) would like to thank the Session and congregation for allowing us the use of the Fellowship Hall for our meetings and seminars.
Quite a few of us entered some of our pieces in the ENM State Fair. I wanted to let you know that every piece that was entered received a ribbon. Most of them were blue ribbons with two pieces earning special ribbons and monetary prizes. Section winner was Pat Davina for a beautiful Dresden-style plate. Fine Arts Division winner was myself for a Hummingbird w/Thistle plate. I also received a blue ribbon for a plate with a Pansy painted on it. I have been china painting since 2004, when I took the “Introduction to China Painting" class that was held at the Roswell Adult and Senior Center (RASC). After that I joined YPAC and have been the president three times!! I have also been in charge of the classes at the RASC for the last three years. As interest has died in regard to those classes, we have put them on hold for a while. However, we are always interested in teaching people that are intrigued with the art and would welcome anyone with open arms!
Submitted by Julia A. Esquibel, China Painting Enthusiast
In most of the US, clocks will be changing back the time on November 7, at 2 am local time. A writer in 1947 noted, “I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight, I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.” (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)
It’s that time of year again! The Worship committee needs to know many people would like Christmas Poinsettias’ for the holiday so we can place the order for them. Please be thinking about this as the insert in this month’s Chimes can be returned along with your $12.00 donation to the Flower Fund.
Your Communications Committee along with Evangelism & Concern wish to thank all who signed up for your picture for our Olan Mills directory. We hope that you will have this in hand prior to Christmas.
Many of you may recall that in one of his sermons Dr. Harry referred to and recommended Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning. We found two copies in the church library (both of which are presently checked out).
Viktor Emil Frankl, MD, Ph.D., was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During and partly because of his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy, known as logotherapy, a form of existential analysis. Man’s Search for Meaning chronicles his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living regardless of the circumstances.
Frankl was a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists. You should be standing in line to check out a copy. It is an unforgettable read. The first half describes life in the concentration camps and how the victims dealt with it on a daily basis—mind-wrenching. The second half explains
logotherapy—most enlightening. [DD 156]
While in that vein of thought, a search for other similar literature resulted in discovering some more great books in the church library.
Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom was a Dutch-Christian Holocaust survivor. Her family was active in the Dutch underground, hiding Jewish refugees from the Nazis when they invaded Holland during WWII. Eventually the family was captured, sent first to prison, then all were released except Corrie and her sister, Betsie, who ended up in a concentration camp. Betsie died in the camp; Corrie was finally released, returned to the Netherlands, and set up rehab centers for camp survivors and jobless Dutch.
In 1946 she returned to Germany and traveled the world as a public speaker and wrote many books. Unfortunately, her wonderful autobiography, The Hiding Place, which was made into a movie, is not in our library. It probably can be found in the public library. However, we do have her Prison Letters (DD940.54) and In My Father’s House (the years before) [DD269.2]
And then there is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a brilliant German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and martyr, a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, and a founding member of the Confessing Church, traveled and taught in many countries, including the United States.
Imprisoned on suspicion of conspiracy against Hitler, he spent 18 months in a military prison without trial, then was secretly moved to a concentration camp.
He was condemned to death in 1945, at a drumhead court-martial without witnesses, and summarily hanged, just a month before the end of the war. Besides his influence as a pastor-teacher, he is heralded for the letters he wrote from prison, raising tantalizing questions about the role of Christianity and the church in a “world come of age.” Happily, the church library has four Bonhoeffer books: The Cost of Discipleship [DD241.5] and The extraordinariness of the Christian Life and Life Together [DD226 in the “small book” section]. Letters & Papers From Prison [DD284.109] and The Steps of Bonhoeffer—a Pictorial Album. [DD B in the “Tall Books”section].
Check it out!
Anne the Librarian
October 3 60
October 10 47
October 17 59
October 24 55
November 2, 7 PM. Property Committee Meeting
November 3, 2 PM. Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting
November 4, 9:30 AM. Community Kitchen
November 5 & 6, Presbytery - Dexter
November 8, 2 PM. Mission & Stewardship Committee Meeting
November 11, 9:30 AM. Community Kitchen
November 16, 7 PM. Session Meeting Rescheduled date
November 18, 9: 30 AM. Community Kitchen
November 22, 9 AM. Piece Maker’s Day
November 25, 2 PM. Thanksgiving Fellowship Dinner
November 28. Cents-Ability Collection
Marno Talbott, Elaine Hanson
Lee & Dorothy Straley
Linda & Larry Stoltz, Carolyn Hughes, Rev. Bill Koch
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