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There's a witty saying that Christianity began in Israel as a movement, moved to Greece and became a philosophy, moved to Rome and became an organization, moved to France and became a civilization, and moved to America and became an enterprise. It's an oversimplification, of course, but I believe that there is some truth to that last assertion.

Much of American Christianity today seems to be focused on the idea of evangelism as a form of salesmanship (“Let me tell you what God can do for you!”) through entertainment (I will here mercifully omit my opinion of most contemporary Church music while expressing my deep gratitude to David Allen, Rocky Ebener, and the rest of our musicians for sparing us from it). The dwindling influence of Christian thought and belief in our country is attributable at least in part to the reduction of Christianity to just another optional leisure time activity. Joe goes to Church, Jack goes to the football game, and Jim stays home to surf the internet for cat videos – to each his own, right? Just a matter of personal preference.

Real Christianity is not entertainment or a hobby. It is the way to connect with the deepest part of what it means to be human, to be deeply aware of the shallowness of an existence defined only by our own tastes and desires. They distract and amuse, but they do not satisfy.

To be a Christian, to attempt to emulate and to follow Christ, is to render obedience to God not because we believe it will bring us this or that blessing, but simply because we know that he is Lord, and that He has the authority to command. It means to trust that He knows better than we do what we are, what we need, and what we need to at least attempt to do with our lives.

Christianity as enterprise is a sort of bargaining with God, saying to Him that we are Christian because we believe that by doing so we will receive certain benefits. A more truthful analogy is that of a sort of enlistment in an army, voluntarily putting ourselves under the authority of one whose will, rather than our own, we pledge to execute to the best of our abilities, cost what it may. When times of persecution, or even just ridicule, contempt, and indifference come, those who have seen their Christianity as a sort of investment from which they have expected benefits always fall away. Those who remain faithful to the truth in such times are those who have put their trust in God and who remain true to their enlistment in His army of saints despite whatever sufferings and hardships that may bring.

The way of Christ is the way of sacrifice, obedience, and the Cross. It is also the way of truth, purpose, and meaning, both in this life and the next.

--   Fr. Bragg+

Upcoming Events

Sunday Services, 7:45, 9:00 & 11:15 AM nursery care provided during 9 & 11:15 AM services  (for online participation for the services go to:  

Sunday school, 10:30 AM
No Wednesday morning Bible study

Wednesday Service 12 noon (can be seen also at

Annual Meeting, Sunday January 30. 10 AM (combined 9 & 11:15 services), starts immediately after 10 AM service. If you are a communicant member of the parish and are not sure you will be able to attend, please fill out a proxy at church or respond to this email stating that you give your proxy for the January 30 annual meeting to Fr. Roddy/Ron Pearson.  It is important that we have a quorum which is made up of communicant members in attendance and communicant members giving their proxies to another in attendance.

Men's Group, Saturday February 19, 8:30 AM, undercroft ; great food and fellowship, excellent Bible study

And please remember to pray for everyone on the parish's prayer list that is in the attached bulletins.  Thank you.

Please Help Feed the Hungry -- Updated Food Needs
Food donations are much needed. Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 

MaRIH Center  (crisis pregnancy center) Needs -- Updated
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
Baby wipes (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1, 4, 5, & 6)
Similac Advanced Formula
Batteries (all sizes)

Winter Clothing  Boy/Girl (new only please)
Clothing (0-6 months, boys and girls)
Winter jackets(24 months to 2T, boys and girls)