Service Times

Sunday Morning Class:
9:00 am

Sunday Morning Worship:
10:15 am

Sunday Evening Worship:
6:00 pm

Building Address

1701 West Main St

Medford, OR  97501

Phone Number

541 772 9640

Updated Website is available at

www. churchwestmain.org

Home Bulletins March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015

 

WE NEED A BIGGER CROSS

 

 

One of the things in life that absolutely drives me insane is what we could call “Facebook theology.” What I am talking about concerns various posts by my “friends” on Facebook who sometimes post either short video clips or memes (a picture with a short pithy statement) on some deep theological subject. Sometimes these posts are supportive of Christian belief, and others by my atheist friends are more negative and critical. Honestly, both the positive and the negative posts bother me. Even if someone is trying to say something positive, the medium of Facebook does not allow for much nuance of thought and so often obscures more than defines.

 

 

Recently, I had an atheist friend who posted a short clip of an interview with the British actor, Stephen Fry, who is an atheist. As title for the clip, the post read, “I love this. Absolutely true. Thank you Stephen Fry for saying the things others don’t want to hear.” This clip has been watched 3,083, 315 times! Apparently, a lot of people want to hear what he had to say.

 

 

In the interview, Stephen Fry is asked about what he would say if despite being an atheist he dies and finds himself standing before God. In summary form, Fry would say to God, “Bone cancer in children! What is that about? How dare you create a world with such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right. It’s utterly evil. Why should I respect a mean-minded, capricious, stupid God who creates a world so full of injustice and pain?” Fry goes on to say that if he would believe in deities, then he could respect the Greek gods of mythology because at least their behavior is not rooted in claiming to be all-wise, all-loving, and all-powerful like the God of Christianity. Fry cannot reconcile the suffering in the world with the claims of God being all-loving and all-powerful. So what is Fry’s alternative to dealing with pain and suffering in the world? The interviewer does not ask, and Stephen Fry does not say.

 

 

Now honestly, let us assume we die and are not faced with God of the Judeo-Christian understanding, but are faced with the twelve gods of Greek mythology. These so-called gods do not care one iota about children with bone cancer, though they have the ability to stop it and heal it! These gods are subject to fate and their own lusts. Somehow I do not think I am less angry now than I was before. Or let us assume the materialist view that we are nothing but accidental chemicals randomly created by blind chance. In this scenario there is no evil or justice. There is just physical determinism. “Bone cancer in children?”—“Just bad luck of the random draw of molecules floating randomly in space. There is no evil or injustice.”

 

 

What Mr. Fry seems to not recognize is that only the God who is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful enables us to have a sense of justice and evil. Only a universe with God as the Creator of being, good, truth, and beauty permits us to have a sense of what ought to be. Without the God declared in Scripture, we have no hope, no love, and no justice.

 

 

The good news of Jesus Christ is the hope that all the wrongs, evil, and injustice experienced in the universe throughout history will be redeemed. The wrongs will be righted. Now this does not mean we do not have anger and doubts. The Bible is full of texts wrestling with the pain and suffering in the world; far better and deeper than Stephen Fry has imagined. Romans eight even speaks of nature itself crying out for relief (Rom 8:18-25).

 

 

The cross of Christ is where we can see some of how this misery is redeemed. But the cross is typically seen as just “Jesus dying for my sin,” and not more biblically-full as God dying for the breadth and depth of all evil and sin in human history and all of physical and spiritual creation (Ephesians 1). The truth is, Mr. Fry is not angry enough. God crucified is a more apt depiction of Stephen Fry’s anger. Since there has never existed a more loving and just human being as Jesus, then no human being has suffered as much as God in the flesh nailed naked and humiliated on the Cross. The problem for Stephen Fry and many Christians is that their cross is too small or non-existent. The pain, suffering, and injustice of the God-Man—Jesus, experiences cannot be measured in our terms. God’s suffering is transcendent of human experience, and therefore becomes the source of all human redemption. Only the God who suffers beyond belief can suffer the things we believe to be suffering. No Greek gods suffer for humanity. No pointless and meaningless material world cares to suffer for the sake of others (children with bone cancer included). Only the all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God even permits us to speak of justice, redemption, and love in this world of evil, suffering, and injustice.

 

 

How can such truth of justice be expressed in a Facebook post or meme? It cannot. Yet, the tragedy here is that 3,083,315 people and counting who watch Stephen Fry’s clip will think he has somehow spoken a profound truth concerning our God and the problem of evil. As the Church of Christ, we need a bigger cross. A cross where God is crucified and where we have some sense of what that means. Only in the face of Jesus Christ crucified can we begin to show how shallow Mr. Fry is, and how much more angry he ought to be. Only God in God dying can there be hope for justice. But is our cross big enough for God to die?

 

– Terry

 

 

 

New Website  --  We are moving to a new website - www.churchwestmain.org.   We want to thank Codi Spodnik and others for their help in designing our new website. You may read our weekly prayer requests and calendar of events under the Events section of the new website and listen to current sermons under the Media section. Check-out the new website to see all of the new items.

 

Our website, www.churchofchristmedford.org, is still functioning. You may find our older archived sermons to listen to and a link to our new website. We want to thank Mel and Mark Hamilton for their continued support of this website.

 

 

Horton Plaza  --  On the second and fifth Sundays of each month West Main has been responsible for providing a short devotional service for the residents of Horton Plaza. We are seeking someone who would be willing to take over this work. There are usually about 5-7 very nice people that we sing and pray with and provide a short lesson. They meet at 4:15 p.m. each week. If you are interested in this work please contact Dan Beeks or Everett Cade.

 

 

 

It’s Coming!!!! - Dinners for Eight is happening in the second half of April!!!! The dinners in April will be hosted by several of our deacons.

 

 

We need you to sign up with Don or Zana Walker by April 6, either at church, or by phone, e-mail or text message (no Facebook please) if you are interested in participating in Dinners for Eight. We will organize the names into groups of eight people. The host provides one dish and each person or couple brings a complementary dish to share.

 

 

This is open to all adults, singles, couples and older teens. Children participating are at the discretion of the host.   Please come join us as we share a good meal and the great conversation that goes with it.

 

 

 

 

Prime Timers Luncheon  -- Prime Timers - you are invited to a luncheon at Twin Creeks on Thursday, April 16, at noon. Lunch will be provided. Please R.S.V.P. to the church office by April 9, so we can let them know how many people are coming. Thank You.

 

 

 

Daddy-Daughter-Dinner-Dance will be held on April 18 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. in the Fireside Room. Space is limited to forty girls and their dates. The cost is $24.00 per couple. If you think that you will be coming - please register with Marcie Dixon. You may call her, e-mail her, or see her this Sunday. Payment will be due by April 5 and is non-refundable.

 

 

 

Youth Update . . . If you think you may be going on the Arizona Mission trip this summer, please let Pannell know ASAP, so he can begin some of the fund raising efforts.

 

 

 

 

Prayer Requests . . . For Diane Liles who had a thyroid biopsy last Thursday - please pray that all is normal...For Joan Nelson as she recovers from knee replacement surgery...For Leilla Sparks who is not feeling well...Glenda Rennels’ sister, Roma Heinrick, is in the hospital with several health problems. Pray for her healing...For Marie Anthony who will have a stress echo test on Thursday, March 26, and right carotid artery surgery on Monday, March 30. Please pray for her complete healing...For Haddie Pannell who is recovering from pneumonia...Peggy Woods asks prayers for her friend, Martie, who is on cancer treatment...Prayers for safety for all of our members who are traveling home from Mexico this weekend...For David Mayes that he can be more giving and Christlike and for his friends, Cora,to be a good influence; Twana, good health for her baby; Brandi - prayers for her personal relationships...For our President and all of our military men, women and families.

 

 

 

 

Baptism  -- James Hinkle was baptized this last Sunday. He is the father of Debi Robbins and Ranae Westeren. If you haven’t met James yet, please do so this Sunday and welcome him to our church family.


 

 

 Medicine Bottles for Malawi  -- Paige Dixon is collecting empty medicine bottles to send to Malawi as part of her Girl Scout Bronze Award for community projects. She and her fellow girl scouts are trying to collect three hundred medicine bottles by the end of May. Tear off as much of the label as you can and she will do the rest. Please give your bottles to Paige. Thank you for your help.

Malawi is a very poor nation and oftentimes in rural areas patients transport their medicine home in a bit of newspaper. The Malawi Project has asked for bottles that we would just throw away.

For more information on this project, please see the flyer posted on the courtyard bulletin board.

 

 

 

Calendar of Events

 

April 6: Last Day to Sign Up for Dinners for Eight

April 16: Prime Timers Lunch at Twin Creeks

April 18: Daddy/Daughter Dinner Dance

 

 

 

 
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