Tag Archives: SW churches

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Get Ready: Events at Riverside

As we move out of summer, the following events and ideas are being put into play.  Find a way to engage, interact, and link up.

Riverside Social Events Team (RISET) Game Night & Cook Out

Saturday, August 29th at 5pm we’ll meet at the church and play games. Make sure you respond to the Evite sent out by the RISET team or let Deacon Bukola know of your interest.  As always, bring something to share–a game and a dish.

Faith and Justice Team

Many of you signed up to be part of an effort to reach out to our community, first of all to identify with and help educate young people at risk and then to help create an event that will reach out to predominantly White clergy and churches in an effort to educate why Black Lives Matter is so important for our country at this point. Led by Cedric Lawson, we will meet after church on September 13th for further information and to brain storm about how we go forward.

Book Club

BOOK CLUB RETURNS IN OCTOBER (the 25th after worship)  Join the Riverside Book Club as we read Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River . The book explores the 1950s Midwest through the eyes of an asthmatic, 11 year old boy trying to make sense of good and evil as well as the miracles that seem to follow his father. First timers are always welcome.  We will be led by seminarian in residence, Aspirant Tonetta Landis-Aina.

Vietnam Veterans & Families Commemorated and Honored

As a Commemorative Partner, our church joins with other organizations across the country to honor our Vietnam veterans. The Commemorative Partner Program is designed for federal, state and local communities, veterans’ organizations and other nongovernmental organizations to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring our Vietnam Veterans and their families.  On July 5th, we began in our own church family, honoring over a dozen veterans and pinning several who were in attendance. It was a moving service as Trustee and Sgt. Robert Nelson, joined by Major Gen. Arnold Fields, spoke to us and then honored these veterans and their families.  We want to reach out to veterans in our immediate community this Veteran’s Day in November.  We will establish a date soon to do that but in the mean time, if you are a veteran or family member or simply someone who would like to participate and help organize this effort, please let Pastor Bledsoe know.

Finally, worship this Sunday continues with the pastor’s sermon series around movies.  So far we have had a sermon that referenced zombies and Zombieland, The Matrix and The Truman Show and this Sunday, August 16, the sermon will consider the comic aspects of the Gospels and religion. The title of the sermon is:  O, Brother Where Art Thou? or, Slapstick and Comedy in the Gospels

~See you Sunday (it’s Koinonia Sunday, so plan to hang out after worship and eat lunch with us. Bring a non-perishable item to share with Martha’s Table)

Trump Is not the Problem

speak-no-evil

I am not suggesting by the title to this brief excursus that Donald Trump is not “a” problem or “has” no problems. That he is and has is more than obvious to anyone with a modicum of good sense, civility and intelligence.  But he is not THE problem in our country at the moment. The problem is the death of civic discourse.  Period.

Blame whomever you want and whom you blame will likely depend upon your political allegiances, but the discourse in the Congress rivals the flame throwing  demagogues of slavery and civil war in the 19th century. This is not just sad and if it were only sad then we could wait for this phase to be finished and move on, but this is dangerous.  This kind of discourse has led to wars, not just in the 19th century in our bloodiest conflict, The Civil War, but most recently in our country’s invasion of a nation (Iraq) that had not attacked us.  A Christian should be able to discern these things, discerning crooked speech (as Proverbs would describe it) and the difference between just wars and unjust wars.

Fan or no fan of John McCain, we know that he was a prisoner of war in a Hanoi prison having his body beaten and his mind robbed of any peace while Donald Trump was very, very, very comfortable and pursuing a hedonistic life style.  Oh, well.  As I said, a Christian should be able to discern crooked speech from just speech.  Psalm 34:13-14, for example:

Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.

and Psalm 37:30:

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak justice.

We could be here all week proof-texting the scripture and its emphasis upon telling truth, pursuing peace and how the wise, unlike the fools, do this.  We need someone to educate and train us about a civic discourse that listens to others and to contrary opinions in constructive ways and how to engage others with the very dignity we expect and desire for ourselves.

The problem most likely goes deeper than what I’ve stated.  It is not just that we are observing the death of civil discourse, but we are witnessing what happens when people give up on each other because they have given up on any idea that they are soul-ful creatures who are expected to live on a higher plane than brute, Darwinist principles of survival.  Let me end with this strand of verse from Proverbs 16:27:

Scoundrels create trouble;
their words are a destructive blaze.

Avoid scoundrels.  If you see smoke and fire rising out of words of persons who seek nothing less than to be your ruler, your President, then by all means, think again.  With a heart full of gratitude for God’s abiding love and mercy, let our speech adorn our lives with truth, kindness and wisdom.

Your Roll

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There may be some similarities between a bowling league and a church.  I’m not sure about that.  I like to bowl but am not very good at it and have not been to an alley in a long time.  Probably the last time I was at an alley it smelled of cigarettes and beer. So there you go.  I’m no expert obviously. But people bond over sports–I believe it fair to call bowling a sport but I can be corrected–and people have cathartic experiences is my guess.  I’ve seen people jump up and shout when they knock down all the pins or most of them.

Throwing a gutter ball is not positive for one’s self-image. I guess that is why most of us do not bowl often.  It can be really depressing if all you can muster is a gutter ball.  But what are the similarities between a church and a bowling league?  It’s a group effort; it usually creates or deepens friendships; and it requires some kind of consistent effort.

I’m not convinced by folks who think that going bowling or [fill in the blank} is as good or better than worshipping together.  And one of the reasons is that the differences are too great.  For one thing, the Church (note I’m spelling it with a capital C) is founded on a belief that God has revealed truth about God and the world. That revelatory aspect is missing from bowling and most other sports.  Second, the Church is not solely interested in your having a cathartic experience, but insists that you inventory your life and ask yourself whether or not you’re living justly, rightly, with others. That ethical component is not quite as strong in bowling though admittedly, players expect you to play by the rules and keep the score correctly.

Of all the things you give your life over to in a week, there is no place quite like a Holy place and hour in which the goal is to come nakedly (as it were) before the One, the Creator and Sustainer and Redeemer of the world.  Think of it:  the Source of all love and all that is good and beautiful and right is available to you.  The Epistle of James states it this way:  ”Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” [James 1:17].  The language of “above” and “down” suggest a First Century cosmology but it’s poetic language that attempts to remind us that God is Good, perfect, and loves us.  That is way past the experience of a strike.  I hope you’ll come to worship with us this Sunday. Or, as Walter says in The Big Lebowski, “your roll.”

~See You Sunday.

What’s Going On

Emma Wright's Cherry Tree

A tree ascended there. O pure Transcendence!
~Rainer Maria Rilke

CROP Walk is coming up, we continue to collect non-perishable food items on the third Sunday each month for Martha’s Table since we have Koinonia Lunches on the third Sunday after worship and we have a dedicated group of volunteers who serve monthly at S.O.M.E. Choir practice is going to take place on Sunday mornings in the Foster Room from now on or into the foreseeable future, we’re working on an idea to have Parking Lot Concerts in the church parking lot at least once this summer, offering perhaps music and food and importantly a chance for our community to interact with our congregation outside the walls of the church, this will be coordinated with our RISET team as we plan more get-togethers as we had this past week-end; Book Club is going to return soon, Pastor is working on seminarians to supplement ministry here and at the same time offer them a chance for mentoring and field experience; speaking of books, our First Sunday Bible Study that began in January continues this Sunday (May 3) after worship and for ninety minutes we’ll study the book of Acts; development meetings and processes continue as we work hard to secure the legacy and future of our church in SW; worship is the cornerstone of all these efforts, as we gather as the People of God on Sunday mornings for prayer, scripture, praise and proclamation.  There are plenty of things to plug into and be part of.  You are the Church.  Let’s be the Church.

~ See you Sunday