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meets at the Farm Centre, 420 University Ave.

Charlottetown, PE Sunday mornings 10:00 am - 12:00 PM


The Witness of the Saints

By Richard Beck on www.experimentaltheology.blogspot.ca
A couple of threads have run together recently prompting me to write this post, a reflection on the witness of holy lives and how those lives are the heart and soul of the Christian faith.


Serving this Sunday

WORSHIP TEAM Arron Corrigan SPEAKER Debbie MacKinnon COMMUNION PREPARATION Bernice Gallant OFFERING COLLECTION TBA SOUND TBA MEDIA TBA TODDLER MINISTRY TBA CHILDRENS MINISTRY TBA CLEAN UP TEAM D Wayne & Natalie Simmons, Carl & Sheryl Friedrich, Colin, Brent, Andrew & Devon Simmons, Jonathan Friedrich

One answer, and this is the second thread, is the Christian martyr cults. This answer was brought to mind by the recent essay by Jason Byassee Theres Life in Those Bones: Why Christians Venerate Relics at Books & Culture. Jasons essay is an nice introduction to how the The first thread. Recently I spent some time Christian tradition has venerated saints. And doing some equipping with leaders and volunteers at North Point Community Church among the saints the Christian martyrs took in the north Atlanta area. This is Andy Stanleys pride of place. For much of Christian history, and still today, people flocked to the churches church (though I didnt meet Andy during my visit). The Sunday I was there Andy was kicking and shrines of the martyrs and their relics. off a series called Starting Point.You can view Popular devotion to the martyrs was so strong and follow the series online here. The sermon that the early church worried about its ability I heard was the very first one, Something to corral and control it. The populist glue that Happened. held the church together wasnt the bible or the Mass or the creeds or the Mother Church. In that sermon Andy pointed out that for the The glue of the church was the martyrs. first 300 years of the church there wasnt a bible. And if that is the case, the bible cant be considered the starting point for the church. The bible says, didnt exist for the first three centuries of the church. For 300 years there werent any appeals to book, chapter and verse. Which raises the question. What bound the church together during those early centuries?
Charlottetown Community Church
Part of the Vineyard Network in Canada P.O. Box 1081 Charlottetown, PE C1A 7M4 Pastor Tom Zawacki (902) 892-5001 communitychurch@pei.aibn.com www.charlottetowncommunitychurch.com

Which brings me to my third thread, the essay of Ben Myers--Reflected Glory: Imitation, Biography and Moral Formation in Early Christianity--regarding the importance of the biographies of the saints for Christian moral formation, especially in the early church. Here is how Ben starts his essay:

continued on page 2

The Witness of the Saints continued from page 1 It was Christianitys immense investment in the idea of incarnation - the belief that God has entered the world in human flesh - that made exemplary lives so important for the Christian moral imagination. If Gods life is definitively revealed and made available in the human flesh of Jesus, then ethical principles, universal values and the like will be relatively uninteresting compared to the actual texture of moral life as one finds it in the experience of real human beings. Nothing is more illustrative of the whole Christian attitude toward life than the preponderance of biography in the early centuries of the faith. The first Christian biographies, like the Passion of Perpetua (circa 203 CE), commended the heroic death of martyrs as exemplars for others. By the time of Pontiuss Passion and Life of Cyprian (259 CE), the martyrs wider conduct and way of life had also become material for study and imitation. As well as holding up Cyprians courageous death as an example to be followed, Pontius praises the entire person of Cyprian as a sort of moral text to be read and assimilated. Pulling all this together Id like to make the following claim: holy lives are the glue of the church. What holds the church together isnt the bible (for Protestants) or the Magisterium (for Catholics). What holds the church together are the saints. And I think church history bears this out. Before there was a bible or creeds or orthodoxy or an authoritative teaching tradition there were the martyrs and the saints. And it was the veneration of the martyrs and saints that held the church together. If you wanted to point to the heart and soul of Christianity you didnt point to the bible or to the creeds or to the centralized church. Those didnt exist. Rather, you pointed to the saints and martyrs. The saints were the connection to Jesus. The saints were the link. And Id argue that the same is true today. I make this observation because I think we need to recover this point of emphasis. Too much of Christianity today is focused on dogma, orthodoxy and doctrine. Especially in its Internet and social media manifestations, where the coin of the realm is opinions, beliefs, and positions. Which brings to mind a fourth thread, Robin Parrys recent post about the dangers of Christian apologetics. After describing the ways Christian apologetics often goes awry, Robin ends by focusing on saintliness, the cardinal virtue of which is love. Robin concludes his post this way: The key apologetic for Christianityfar more important than knowing the right answers to hard questionsis love. Communities of faith that embody the kindness of God in cruciform works of love are deeply attractive and are themselves evidence (not proof) of the truth of the gospel... Intellectual apologetics embedded in the context of lives committed to Gods love for the other is a beautiful and fitting adornment. But apologetics divorced from lives of love is like a gold ring in the nose of a pig. Apologetics is never just about being right; first and foremost it is about living right. I think thats exactly right. The defense of the faith and debates about the faith arent rational, intellectual or cognitive. Love is the argument of the faith. Thus, if churches want to defend their view of the faith, for outsiders or for other Christians, the best strategy would be to take a cue from the earliest Christians. Churches should shut up, put their bibles away, and point to their saints. Thats the only legitimate defense of the faith and doctrine. If you arent talking about biographies you arent talking about God. Thats the truth of the Incarnation. That is why the Spirit is poured out on flesh. And if saintly exemplars are lacking in the church, well, that exposes something: a radical disjoint between the modern and the early church. Shoot, its a radical disjoint between the modern church and Jesus. If you lose the saints you lose the connection with Jesus. And to be honest, to make this sting a bit, I think any personal argument about the faith should echo St. Paul: Imitate me as I imitate Christ. Because if we cant give that argument--Why dont you follow me around today.--then I wonder if we shouldnt be stepping away from the keyboards and the debates. More important things in our lives need to be attended to. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed: The primary confession of the Christian before the world is the deed which interprets itself. The lives of the saints will always be our confession before the world. Before anything--creeds, church or bible--we point to them.

Church News & Groups

There is lots going on, be free, go where the life is, family first. Church website is now updated with all activities. If you would like to get something in the newsletter (prayer request, announcement, etc.), please email it to communitychurch@pei.aibn.com byWednesday of each week. CHURCH FINANCES Four Week Average Needed: $2,000.00 Lets keep praying for God to supply all we need! THE SHACK BOOK CLUB Starting October 23rd - 7:00 PM at Zawackis SMALL GROUP - QUESTIONS Thursday evenings 7:00 Will be held at Megan Cunninghams home. For information, please contact Megan or Lisa Taylor. MOMS N TOTS Wednesday Mornings 10:00 Contact Trevena MacLeod for location. FREE CLOTHING GIVE-AWAY Friday, November 8: 6:00 PM 10:00 (Bring Clothes) Saturday, November 9: 8:00 AM 2:00 PM (Give Clothes Away) Gently Used Fall and Winter Clothing Only See Lindsey Perry for More Information

Prayer Requests
Charlottetown Community Church & Surrounding Community The Presence of God, That we Live Loved, That we Live Love, That we Live Supernaturally Trevena MacLeods mother Good recovery and no infections for the upcoming weeks. Lori Knox-Nelsons Father Healing from cancer, lifted spirits & support for him and his family. Bernices Son Cory & His Wife Healing from staff infection & MRSA. Comfort, peace & support. 4 week old Baby Miles He is in desperate need of a heart transplant and needs to be healthy enough to have procedure done should one become available. Wayne Simmons sister Healing and relief from blurred vision in one eye. Jack McAskill Healing & recovery from surgery and complications, lifted spirits & support. Donna MacDonald Healing, freedom from pain, lifted spirits & support for her and her family. Lori McDonalds friend Jen Healing from cancer, lifted spirits & support for her and her family. Karen Gallants grandson Oliver Healing and support for him and his family. Marsha McAndrews father Bazil Healing and relief from pain related to back surgery. Marsha McAndrews mother Blood pressure to become more normal and comfort while dealing with stress.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD - Sunday, Oct. 27 3:00-5:00 At the Farm Centre See Dede for more information.

Get Involved!
OUR ELDERS TEAM The elders are: Wayne & Natalie Simmons, Errol & Shelagh Campbell, Greg & Debbie MacKinnon, Garfield & Brenda MacDonald and Tom & Nadine Zawacki.
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