Pastoral Backstory 05.29.14


(What is the Backstory and why?)



May 29th, 2014

summertime2Conneaut_Lake_beach.previewSummer is here and everyone is dashing about. Some of us will escape the city to find a favorite a watering hole.  Others will wander into our midst wondering what we’re about.  All this coming and going asks for something short and sweet to take with us along our meandering and merry way. So here’s several items for your beach-reading or for wherever you find yourself this summer–and also for when you’re here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 1.04.44 PMThe repeated dustups Jesus stirred up over the Sabbath centered on practicalities that He argued were obscuring the overarching premises and purposes of the prescribed day of rest.  While we’re always in danger of falling into that same pragmatic trap, the invitation to a life with Sabbath rhythms always begs for practical input.  We sought to recover the essence of Sabbath in last Sunday’s sermon, and to suggest a few practical principles.  Here’s a short article on both the wisdom underlying the exercise of Sabbath rhythms and how they take shape in concrete terms.

The need for wisdom is one reason the 5th commandment enjoins honor of parents.  We’ll explore what that honor means and why it’s prescribed. We’ll also listen to Jesus’ re-affirmation of the commandment, as well as His sharp words restoring the commandment to its context so easily lost in parent-child relationships.  Read Exodus 20:12, but then also Matthew 15:3ff and 10:34-39.  Sharp words, but necessary if we want to respect the full intention of the original commandment.  (And given the theme of respect for those who rear, we may have to invite our kids up front for a little children’s sermon.)


Speaking of wisdom, David Brooks struck again recently (HT: Doug Pollock) with an article on how one finds it.Consider this gem:

David Brooks

David Brooks

The highest rung on the stairway to understanding is intimacy. Our master-teacher here is Augustine. As he aged, Augustine came to reject those who thought they could understand others from some detached objective stance.

He came to believe that it take selfless love to truly know another person. Love is a form of knowing and being known. Affection motivates you to want to see everything about another. Empathy opens you up to absorb the good and the bad. Love impels you not just to observe, but to seek union — to think as another thinks and feel as another feels

If I read him correctly, deep understanding derives only from close contact. Wisdom to respond to another well won’t be found apart from proximity, apart from…presence.  If this isn’t one more reason for us to strive to create spaces for the kind of knowing that yields wisdom, I don’t know what is.  Just as the main interest in Brooks’ essay is solving society’s intractable problems, so our interest in forming Community Groups has in its sights what stymies both within and without our community.

So we’ll take your responses through the end of this week to the survey we distributed recently on the prospect of Community Groups.  Thanks again to all who answered with both candor and care.  There is clearly an interest in our community to form groups, but to form them with care.  That is, care must be taken to make clear what groups like these are for and what they entail from every member in order for the group to learn true presence to one another.We as the session have some data-crunching to do with all your responses.  We want to form as many groups as there is adequate leadership for. We want to form groups of different compositions and locations.  We want to offer materials for group-facilitators who want them, but also want to provide the freedom for groups to use other approved material should a leader and several others coalesce around a common interest.

Those who expressed interest or at least curiosity in being group-facilitators should hear from us soon about a time to meet for a conversation about that role, including time for Q&A.  For those interesting in hosting a group (or who were interested in hearing more), we’ll also be in touch if only to begin explaining the basics of hostingFreddie_wink.

Again, if you didn’t receive the survey, or if you’d like just to be on our distribution list for other communications, enter your email address below and follow the subsequent instructions.

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We took stock of Episode 1 of Kieslowski’s Dekalog last Sunday night, and struggled together to find all the director sought to say in his tragic first installment.  Here’s an extended review (and from a website you might want to peruse further!) of the episode put in the larger context of the whole first commandment from which it takes its inspiration.  (It even spent a paragraph to help me understand the extended scene in the lecture hall that stymied me!)  Truth comes in many forms.  Film can deliver it in singular fashion.  Perhaps we’ll try our hand again the future at letting that medium provoke and preach.



DRAFTLOGOWe’re resuming Storyline this Sunday during 2nd hour, this week in the chapters on perseverance and assurance (chs 17 & 18) of the Westminster Confession.  You might be surprised to know that in the immediate wake of the Reformation the Roman Catholic hierarchy found the Reformed perspective on these two doctrines as the most heretical of anything that proceeded from the movement.   Sinclair Ferguson writes here of one Cardinal Bellarmine and his outrage at what he considered to be the height of theological presumption.  How can anyone claim any confidence of God’s enduring favor, the personal theologian to then Pope Clement VIII fulminated?  The idea that one may not just hope, but rest, in the irrevocable approbation and love of God is no small assertion, and one that requires more than a wish that it were so.  So what reason do you have for believing that God’s love is an everlasting love despite the ongoing presence of sin in us to which we become so easily entangled? Read the two chapters before you come and then let’s collaborate to find both what incensed Cardinal Bellarmine and why the Assembly had good reason to disagree.


larrywisemanpresSummer’s beckon to vacation also means we need a little help to cover ministry areas for which there is no holiday–like teaching our young children in Sunday School during 2nd hour.  Curriculum is already provided and can be easily prepared.  We only need people who want to make the eternal truths simple for young minds.  If you’d like to volunteer or would just like more information first, contact Breanna Elam for more information.  Any volunteers will need to submit to a simple background check.


picnicinthepark060114As you may have seen from an earlier email this week, the picnic is on for this Sunday, June 1, 12-2p, at Armstrong Park.

All are invited for a fun time of fellowship together. Ice and paper goods will be provided.

Suggested items to bring:

last names A-K: bring two vegetables, fruits or salads for 8-10 people

last names L-Z: bring a main dish for 8-10 people

singles: bring dessert plus bread or drinks (2 liter soda, gallon water or tea)

 and everyone bring games to play!


Contact Sheri McMillan for more information.


Things you might pray for–both near and far

  • for this new effort to form groups that allow us to learn faithful presence
  • for the family of Dr. Bob Longacre whose memorial service will be held Saturday, June 7th, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at Faith Bible Church, 1437 Pleasant Run Road, DeSoto, TX.  Following the memorial service there will be a reception at the Dallas Center’s Cowan Apartments.
  • for peace in the Crimea
  • for swift and safe progress in the release of the nearly 200 young girls abducted in Nigeria
  • for our gracious hosts, Fairmeadows Baptist Church, and other churches in our city

See you Sunday at 9:30,



Our worship team works tirelessly to retain the riches of our worship in tradition while exploring new ideas, new textures for deep and authentic worship.  Sometimes it helps though to pass along some ideas that didn’t quite make the cut in our minds, just so everyone knows we’re always out to protect you.  (But, just out of curiosity, which of you might’ve volunteered to cover the break-dancing during the bridge?)

In case you wanted to see what else we passed over, here’s a more complete list.

Author: Patrick

Pastor of Christ the King Church (PCA)

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