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Finding Faith in Faith

This blog is dedicated to exploring the intersections of faith and politics, the intricacies of religious culture and the struggle to balance devotion to a higher being and to oneÕs culture.

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Name: jrichard

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Waterview, a Blast from the Past

Waterview is a part of my past in several ways. I attended there several times in the mid-1990s while I was an undergraduate at ACU. But my personal experience is not the only reason Waterview seems so familiar to me.

Waterview most closely resembles my early church experience. ThatÕs not to say that Waterview is particularly old-school, for I grew up in a reasonably modern church of Christ in the late 1970s and early 1980. Waterview has always reminded me of my birth-church (the now-defunct Eldridge Road Church of Christ in Houston), but the resemblance is particularly striking in comparison to all the churches IÕve been visiting recently.

Waterview is led by a fine group so Elders and the pulpit duties are handled by Robert Oglesby, the only preacher Waterview has had in its 40-year history.

Waterview is an extremely friendly church. Located in Richardson, it is rather upscale and the members are quick to exchange both witty banter and heartfelt sentiments at the drop of a hat. Waterview is a very socially driven atmosphere.

The morning I visited, the sermon was on ÒAuthority.Ó While I agreed in the general premise of the sermon (IÕm not sure how anyone could not, it was merely a reflection that God has the ultimate authority over our lives), there were several moments that I was rather uncomfortable. The first moments of the sermon occurred during the opening anecdotes. Church of Christ preachers are rather famous (or is that infamous) for their seemingly unattached anecdotes: generally funny, but often tied to the sermon by the loosest threads. But the anecdotes in this particular sermon were a bit disturbing: one dealing with traffic (presumably reminding us that we are under a secular authority, though this reminder seems to contradict the later corpus of the message) and the second reached its apex with a grown man striking a preteen young man in the face as an example of how to reestablish authority on a playground.

I do not think the anecdotes were meant as a call to action, nor do I think they represent any nefarious attitudes or positions on the part of the preacher or the church. However, they did make me sit upright, and reminded me that my sensitivities may not be the norm in the conservative Churches of Christ that are found in this region of the country.

However, I found Waterview to be warm and friendly, and I appreciated the layers of infrastructure they have constructed to help the diverse groups of members that make up that church.

Perhaps, I will return there at some point, but I embark this weekend on a four-week hiatus from Dallas church-going (I will be in Austin three weekends in a row and then Abilene the fourth), so itÕll be a while before I start making my interim decisions about where to ultimately attend on a permanent basis.

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