Religion and Violence

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

What is it that causes some people to commit violent acts in the name of religion, either against themselves or others? Why does violence even play a role in religion to begin with? How can theology, as well as history, sociology, and other frameworks, help us grasp the nature of religious violence? All religions, including the world’s great faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism—have their inner battles with violent beliefs and practices. And, in a world where violence in the name of religion can impact so many other people’s lives, it’s critical to understand the intersection between the two.

“If we want to know why bad stuff happens in the name of religion, we need to understand how those who commit religious violence perceive what they’re doing,” says Dr. Jason C. Bivins, award-winning professor of Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. “That’s the best way to understand why our world is producing so much of it, and what we can do about it.”

In his 24-lecture course, Thinking about Religion and Violence, Professor Bivins takes you on a global, historical, and multidisciplinary investigation of religious violence. Delivered with honesty and sensitivity to the diversity of spiritual beliefs, he examines the roots of this phenomenon and guides us toward more informed ways of thinking about it. We’ll consider how faiths like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism view concepts like human sacrifice, martyrdom, penitence, and means of violence; the ways religious violence can be directed toward specific races, genders, and cultural groups; the connections between violence and other religions, including Mormonism and Native American faiths; concepts like heresy, demonology, and witch-hunting; and more. Blending history, theology, psychology, sociology, and other fields, Professor Bivins helps you get to the heart of a complex problem that’s broader and deeper (and more optimistic) than we may have thought.

Join Us: Jim Sprouse


Trinity, McLean, 22101

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

You’ve heard of Beverly Hills 90210: a teen TV show about a group of students from Beverly Hills High School. If you grew up in the nineties you knew someone who had a crush on Jennie Garth or Luke Perry. But did you know that the school was more than a source of entertainment? Much more … about $500,000 per year! The real-life campus sits on a large oil and gas reserve which is leased to oil companies. These companies then pay royalties to the school. Last time I checked, the royalties contributed in paying a large share of teachers’ salaries.

In the eighties, I found out about the school’s fortunes through a friend from a church camp. When we first met, he told me he went to Beverly Hills High School, and immediately I thought, “Ah, a rich kid! Maybe he knows some stars from the show,” because that’s when the show was really popular. He shot that down right away saying he lived in the Wilshire and Vermont Area, which at the time was not at all affluent. He said because of royalties from oil reserves, the school decided to offer scholarships to underprivileged kids from other parts of the Los Angeles School District. He and his sister applied and were accepted. He admitted he would not have received that high level of education from his local school and was very grateful.

I was sixteen then and was not at all impressed by the progressive social and educational advancements that program had on hundreds of students. (I was secretly hoping to meet one of the stars of the show.) Now I know better. I share this tidbit of info from a nostalgic past because we often tend to focus on the glamorous and alluring, underestimating the impact of the seemingly ordinary. I would like to remind us all that seemingly ordinary Sunday worship services, weekly Bible studies, steady fellowship interactions, children’s Sunday School classes and teaching faithfully as Sunday School teachers make a great impact on many lives.


November 2019 at Trinity

Nov. 3 Charge Conference

3 p.m.

Mt. Olivet UMC, 1500 N Glebe Rd., Arlington


According to A Dictionary for United Methodists by Alan Waltz, “The charge conference is the basic governing body of each United Methodist local church and is composed of all members of the church council. The charge conference must meet at least once per year. The charge conference directs the work of the church and gives general oversight to the church council, reviews and evaluates the mission and ministry of the church, sets salaries for the pastor and staff, elects the members of the church council, and recommends candidates for ordained ministry.”
Nov. 4 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Nov. 10 Town Hall Meeting

11:30 a.m.

Nov. 10 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Nov. 11 Office Closed
Nov. 12 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Nov. 16 Christ House
Nov. 17 Thanksgiving Feast

11:30 a.m.

See below for more or RSVP at and look for Thanksgiving Potluck under Get-Involved
Nov. 17 Celebration of Life: Shirley Paul

2 p.m.

Nov. 18 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Nov. 19 Trustees Meeting

6:30 p.m.

Nov. 20 Preschool Parenting Hour

9:30 a.m.

Nov. 24 Coffee with the Pastors

9:30 a.m.

Nov. 24 Craft Bazaar begins See below for more or visit and look for Crafts for a Cause under Get-Involved
Nov 24 Staff Parish Relations Committee

11:30 a.m.

Nov. 24 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

Nov. 26 Christmas Trees Arrive
Nov. 29 Christmas Tree Sales begin See below for or visit and look for Christmas Tree Sales under Get-Involved

Begins Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. Sales benefit Trinity’s Youth Group & Boy Scout Troop 869.

Book Chat: Nov. 2019

In November the Trinity Book Chat turns to Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, a “painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature” (New York Times Book Review). We’ll discuss the book on Tuesday, November 12, at 6:30 p.m., in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Then we’ll take a break for the holidays! We’ll resume on January 14 with America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie. Contact Kathy Maher to be added to the e-mail list.

Church: The People, The Building

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Greek word used in the New Testament for church means called out. The church is a community of people who are called out of the world to be God’s people.

The church is a community of people, not a building. It is hard for us to grasp this, because we think of the church as centered in a building that stands in the neighborhood where its members live. But it has not always been so. For the first few centuries Christians met together in homes or in places where their secular occupations brought them together. Later, when buildings were built they were not built in local neighborhoods but at the crossroads of life – in the market towns or places near the central government. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages (400s to 1,400s) that the kind of parish church we know came into being.

It is important in our time to understand that the church doesn’t depend on a church building. In removing churches from homes and from centers of business and government where secular life brings Christians of all races and classes together, have we come to think that Christian faith and life have to do only with what goes on in a building on Sunday and a few times during the week when people of the same socio-economic groups come together?

As our society and world change, our lives are less and less centered in the neighborhood where we live. Many people find their friends, do their business, take their leisure and spend most of their lives outside the neighborhood where their homes are. If the church of God is wherever and whenever Christians come together for worship, study and service in the name of Christ, do we not just as surely go to church when we meet during lunch, when we join together during service projects away from our church building, when we meet for prayer or study in someone’s house?

My point is not to deny that the local church building is still very, very important. It is to emphasize that as our society and world continue to evolve and the neighborhood becomes less important in many person’s lives, the church doesn’t have to be less important. We are free and open to experiment with new forms of church, because the church is not a building. It is God’s people, whenever, wherever, and however we come together. When I think of Trinity Church, I don’t think only of 1205 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean, VA … that is an address. The church I think of is called, Molly, Eileen, Keith, Janey, Harriet, Michelle, Jerry, Peggy, Ray, William, Wayne, Reba, Jim, Leslie, Jose, Karen, Diane, Sandy, Margie, Dan, Philip, Joey, and so on — everyone at Trinity. God has strategically positioned our building address of Trinity Church in beautiful McLean, VA. One thing this means is that God needs you and me to be about the ministry of Jesus Christ, right here, right now, in this time and in this place. This is our mission post – from which all our missions and ministries flow. The people of God called Trinity Church assemble together to praise and worship God at a specific address every week. Here, we are equipped for mission and ministry. We then leave our church home address and return to our homes, our places of work and the market place. It is there we live out our faith in relationships among all the other churches we discover we are also members of.

Shalom,  Jim Sprouse


(Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About the Bible But Were Afraid to Ask

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Every week in church we hear scripture read. Sometimes it’s a Psalm, sometimes it’s from one of the gospels, or it might be a letter from Paul. There are Bibles in the pews in case anyone wants to read the Word, but most folks choose to listen to it read. (That’s actually very Biblical; for centuries most people relied on God’s Word to be read to them.)

How well do you really know the Bible? Do you view the God of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) differently than you do the God of the New Testament? What about things like context and translations?

I’ve wanted to do a Bible study for a while that is aimed at people who have questions and might not feel comfortable signing up for a traditional class. Here are some of the areas we’ll cover and the speakers:

Canon | Mining for the Word – Eric Elnes

History | Parchment to Pixel – Phyllis Tickle

Testaments | One Story, Two Parts – Rachel Held Evans

Gospels | Unexpected Good News – Nadia Bolz-Weber

Genre | Rhythm of the Text – Jose Morales

Interpretation | Scripture Reads Us – Will Willimon

Grace | Love is the Bottom Line – Jay Bakker

If you are all in, come join us for a no-judgment, all-questions-welcomed Bible study. We’ll watch a short DVD then talk through the topic of that week. Here are the details:

Jumpstarting the Bible: Big Conversations and Burning Questions

October 13 – November 17

9:30 a.m.

Room 302 (lower-level classroom in the Fellowship Building)

Let me know if you have any questions. I’m at 703-356-3312 or

I’ll see you at church!


October 2019 at Trinity

Oct. 7 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Oct. 8 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Happiness is a Choice You Make, by John Leland.
Oct. 13 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Oct. 13 Pet Blessing

2 p.m.

Oct. 14 Office Closed  
Oct. 15 Trustees Meeting

6:30 p.m.

Oct. 17 Preschool Parenting Hour

7:30 p.m.

See below
Oct. 19 Good Works Day

8 a.m. –12 p.m.

See more here
Oct. 19 Christ House  
Oct. 21 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Oct. 27 Executive Council

12 p.m.

Meets in the Library
Oct. 27 Celtic Service

5 p.m.


Preschool Parenting Hour

Our Preschool is hosting a monthly Parenting Hour to discuss the book, Easy to Love, Difficult the Discipline, by Becky Dailey. All sessions, led by Preschool director, Emily Yosmanovich, will be held in Room 205 unless large attendance requires use of Langley Hall. The next meetings are Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 a.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 9:30 a.m.

For a full schedule of dates, times and topics, please contact Emily at 703-790-2767 or

Young babies/children are welcome to attend all sessions with parents, and for evening sessions childcare will be provided for ages 3 and up with an RSVP to