Welcome!

First Baptist Church of Arlington is a church of faith where people can grow to their God given potential. If you are just now exploring the claims of Jesus Christ for the first time as an adult, or if you have been a personal Christian for years, it would be great to have you join us in our spiritual journey.

We are a group of people who are at different places in our spiritual walk discovering together what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century. Some of us are very traditional church folk. Some of us are postmodern. Some of us are young, some wish we were. We are shades of black, brown, and white.

We are a Baptist church because we believe in the centrality of the gospel, the importance of scripture, the necessity of personal faith, and the freedom that is found in Christ. Our faith has provided a place for us to stand in facing life, and we have found some meaningful answers. We also have many questions.

I'm so glad you're looking at our home on the web. If you'd like to know us better, come by on a Sunday morning for our worship service, or drop in at one of our group meetings or special events. Our worship service starts at 10 am.

I'll be here, and I look forward to meeting you.

Blessings,
Pastor Jon

In Honor of Memorial Day

I remember seeing pictures of my father in his WWII officer?s uniform. I knew he had been a chaplain in the war and was concerned about soldiers dying without knowing Christ.

I remember hearing my mother cry in the night and knowing that I could not comfort her. But she taught me about the One who sent us the Comforter, the One who could and did comfort her.

I remember friends of mine who were widows before I was even married grieving the loss of their young husbands in VietNam. I remember wondering why Jon?s parents always wanted to go to the cemetery on Memorial Day. Now, all these years later, I know and understand why.

I remember thinking that war and death are terrible things. I still believe that. God did not intend for his own to suffer so. He created a perfect world into which sin and death came as his created ones disobeyed him and rebelled against his authority.

I remembered wondering why Christ had to come and die for our sins. I learned from scripture that his death saved us from eternal death. I know that even now war rages across our world.

I remember the song by Peter, Paul, and Mary that asked, “When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?”

Perhaps, we won?t learn until Christ comes again and restores peace and harmony to our world.

Until then, we will remember...

Contemporary Christian Music

Contemporary Christian music is not one of my favorite forms of worship. Oh, there are exceptions. My idea of real contemporary Christian music is those songs I lustily sang way back when as a younger adult I renewed my faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, my favorite contemporary music is stuck in a time-warp decades ago. The stuff now just doesn’t move me. Too much noise, too much ego, too much froth. Not enough of the biblical God.

This made it interesting when I found I had an unexpected ally in my distaste for such baptized drivel. Bono, the rock band U2’s lead singer, has recently made a video with Eugene Peterson, the biblical translator whose work, The Message, is a version of the Bible I read. In the video Bono has unexpected suggestions for Christian musicians trying to make music. “I find in Christian art a lot of dishonesty, and I think it’s a shame.”

Bono speaks from the perspective of one who’s ministry calling is outside the church, but in Christ. “I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful… gospel songs, write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how they’re pissed off at the government. Because that’s what God wants from you,” Bono said. “Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism.”

Dishonesty? Lack of realism? Do these things exist in Christian music? Do they exist in the broader Christian church? Do they exist in me?  Yes, they are there, and sometimes they become a huge stumbling bock not only to other people, but impediments to our own spiritual growth. The attitude: “I used to be a terrible sinner, but I’ve come to Jesus, and now everything is ok,” not only wears thin, but it keeps us from allowing those things which are definitely not “ok” to be brought before the cleansing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Psalms hold a fascinating appeal for Bono in their brutal honesty. He says the psalms may be  great poetry but it’s the authentic reflection of the human spirit wrestling with God that rivets him. Often the psalmist opens his soul before God as he works out his salvation with fear and trembling.  “…for the word to live, for it to leap from the page and into our lives, the only time is now, the only place is here.”

Bono, who suffers from an eye problem, almost never in seen without sunglasses on. He admits that it’s not only a help for his vision, but also a pride thing. The sunglasses serve as a guard between him and the world. In his usual fresh, direct way of looking at life, he says: “Coolness might help in your negotiation with people through the world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on.”

Can we hear the words of a prophet pleading with us? Can we in the church, we who are open to the transforming love of God take our sunglasses off? May we aim for honesty in our lives, in our Christian witness, in our relationship with others and with God? Let this be our goal not only in the music that leads us into worship, be it “contemporary Christian” or classic Bach, but in our relationships with others, with ourselves, and with God. Such a way of living won’t make us a rock star, but it will bring us closer to the Rock.

The Theology of Roughhousing

As someone who grew up without a father, I was unacquainted with the whole concept of roughhousing until I was married and observed my husband playing with our children. Usually a quiet and gentle man, I was shocked to see him holding small children up by their feet and teasing them until they were breathless. He would scoop up a child and tell them to say, “Squeeze me tighter, Daddy.” Then he would squeeze them until they yelled in delight.

I had forgotten all that until recently when I was at my daughter?s home when her husband came home from work. Two small boys ran happily to greet him, and he responded by throwing them into the air and swinging them around the room. They responded with great joy and loud squeals.

After describing this happy event to another daughter, she suggested that this monkey business could be called the Theology of Roughhousing. Children learn to interact with people much larger and stronger than themselves. They are at the mercy of these bigger people. But when they learn to trust those who have power over them, they can live in harmony with that reality.

We can apply that same principal to ourselves as we relate to God. He is strong and powerful, yet he bends down to hold us. We learn to trust him to be with us when we have no control of dangers that swirl around us. We may be thrown this way and that, but we are safe in God?s hands. He is truly our heavenly father.

Romans 8; 38, 39 reminds us of just how strong our heavenly father?s love is for us:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

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First Baptist Church
819 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA
781-643-3024

Sunday Schedule
Service: 10 am
Nursery provided!

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