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Random thoughts from the turkey table.

November 25, 2007

Sometimes I wonder if it is too late. I really think you need to put new wine in new wineskins but what do you do when the old wine has cooped every known term for what you think we are supposed to be?

I ran into some people who were traveling for the holidays who went to a Saturday evening church service at a megaplex so that they could travel in the morning. My issue is not going to the megaplex but with the reason for going. Let’s go to church tonight so we get that done and then we can travel in the morning. Why go at all? I mean you probably don’t know anyone and won’t meet anyone and will be in and out.

I just think we are strange people. How do you restore church as people and a mindset that says we attend not for the sake of saying I attended but to build others up, to identify with a group making a difference?

Maybe you can help me because it is days like these that make me wonder if we can bring Christianity back to what it is all about. Over the holiday I was talking to a relative who attends a church that split from one of the more “liberal” church of Christ congregation. They couldn’t take what they were doing. HE was talking about his frustration with the new endeavor because someone commented about his dress. It seems someone didn’t deem his apparel churchy enough.

Now what is interesting is my cousin left the fellowship he was attending because they became to “liberal” for him and he couldn’t stay there.

When that is how we keep score what do we expect? When it is about do I dress the right way or have the right people passing trays why do we not understand we get what we pay for? Why does he not see that the very attitude he had in leaving is the same attitude now bighting him? Why can’t we get that it is the way we keep score that causes the problem?

So we are back to the people going to church on Saturday night with people they don’t know at a place they never attend so they can travel in the morning.

Can you put new wine in old wineskins? If not what should it be called? Am I overreacting?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. johndobbs permalink
    November 25, 2007 9:26 pm

    Darrin, you are NOT overreacting. What is frustrating is that for all the talk about what the church is, for the most part people still do not know what the church is. Once you start hopping churches, you will either (1) keep hopping because none are going to be exactly what you’re looking for (if you even know) or (2) you give up and kind of gel into whatever you ended up in (which is a pretty yucky option that pinpoints why you shouldn’t have left in the first place).

  2. November 26, 2007 2:08 am

    Yep you are over reacting. 🙂
    Just drink it from the bottle.
    That’s what I do. 🙂 LOL!

  3. benoverby permalink
    November 26, 2007 1:31 pm


    I think the answer is NO, we cannot put new wine in wineskins. Jesus was a miracle-worker and He couldn’t pull it off. The problem is that we can’t manage people. We can pour the new wine, but we can’t do anything about a comfortable, solidified skin. For me, that means keep pouring the wine, but pour it into a skin that has some flexibility, some capacity to swell, the capacity to stretch without bursting. Somehow this has to be done while ending up in the same place 30 years from now–that is, with a new inflexable skin that can’t endure the ever evolving expressions of the kingdom.

  4. benoverby permalink
    November 26, 2007 1:33 pm

    oops, meant to say, “Somehow this has to be done without ending up . . . .

  5. November 26, 2007 5:48 pm

    What hardens the wineskin? What makes it so fragile and susceptible to bursting?

    The kingdom is meant to be lived. People don’t know what the church is until they’re doing what the church is. Until then, they’re just trafficking in information.

    As long as the power of the kingdom is KEPT in the new wineskin, the new wineskin will become just like the old one. The wine must be shared, and shared quickly and passionately and trustingly, so that God can continue to refill the wineskin and keep it ever new.

    What does that mean for us? I think Ben is right. We keep pouring. Pour the power of the kingdom into our communities, our fellowships, our families. Trust the Cana wedding, Psalm 23 power of God to fill us to overflowing.

    What do we pour? We pour Scripture and prayer and table fellowship and concern for the poor (Acts 2:42 – the teens at Holly Hill will have Acts 2:42 branded on their hearts by the time I’m done).

    Jesus brought the wine of the kingdom to burst the old forms. The wine does not itself become a form, but flows and feeds and changes and sanctifies wherever it goes.

    Hard of heart and slow to hear, God’s people need his grace so badly to overcome our stiff-neckedness. God soften my heart and let me escape dehumanizing fantasies and participate in your real life!

    in HIS love,

  6. November 26, 2007 5:49 pm

    Darin, I liked you post. I feel your pain in many ways. People unhappy with one thing or another, so they leave to go somewhere else. We’ve made church about us instead of about Him. When we get back to the real heart of church we’ll find one thing … God.

  7. Jim Sexton permalink
    November 26, 2007 7:19 pm

    I remember sitting in one of those dreaded worship oversight committee meetings and hearing men trying to come up with a suitable dress code for those participating.

    I suggested sandals (being the only scriptural footwear that I could find biblical authority for) and also wondered that if we needed to co-ordinate how the men dressed, perhaps we should just get some matching robes, you know, so that nobody would look any better or worse.

    We could even have the preacher wear them, but perhaps he should also wear some kind of scarf, so that we don’t confuse him with the regular guys…

    They were not amused.

    We MUST recapture the body before those men steal it away. Isn’t it always about the wine? We spend too much time and valuable effort worrying about the skins…


  8. November 26, 2007 10:19 pm

    hmm, JD’s comment makes me wonder whether I am still hopping or if I have gelled? But that’s another issue.

    I think you just about have to start fresh with a clear vision that is shared over and over again. Speaking of Metroplexes. There is a place in Dallas called The Way that is trying to do that. I have also heard Rick ??? from The People’s Church in Franklin,TN (former Baptist Church) say they should have moved across the street and started over. Unless the culture is that change is always welcomed and powerful then it is tough anywhere.

    We are so far off base on organized church.

  9. November 27, 2007 3:40 pm

    Thanks for all of the great comments. Much to think about.

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