Feb. 12 Gathering: Surviving Spiritual Dry Spells


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We all have them. Those times when we just can’t seem to muster any kind of spiritual energy. Our prayers seem empty, our devotional time goes missing. Our doubt may increase. Our faith wavers.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about what those dry spells are like, what may bring them on, how we cope with them, and any ways we may have found to dig ourselves out. Everyone will be encouraged to share their own experiences in the hope that we all may find new strategies for dealing with spiritual dry spells.

Join us Sunday, Feb. 12 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

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Nov. 27 Gathering: Google Hangout with Tomeka Robinson


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We love it when our New Wineskins friends do awesome things in the world. Tomeka Robinson, who was part of our charter group when we started meeting back in May 2014, certainly fills the bill. Now coaching debate at Hofstra University in New York, Tomeka spearheaded a forum back in September on Islamaphobia, seeking to raise the conversation around its role in the election cycle.

This Sunday, Tomeka will join us via Google Hangout to talk about the forum, her experiences around Hofstra’s hosting of the first presidential debate, and more!

Please join us Sunday, Nov. 27, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to welcome Tomeka back (even if it’s just virtually!) and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Oct. 16 Gathering: “The Dreams You Encourage Them to Have”


This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

–Jer. 29:4-9 NIV

In the midst of the most contentious political season in recent memory, it’s often hard to live out Jesus’ call to peace and forgiveness. We’re so wrapped up in our fear of what might happen if this candidate or that one gets elected, it’s hard to have any sense of objectivity.

To make matters worse, our social media is often an echo chamber where we only engage with people who agree with us, and we unfollow or unfriend those with contrary opinions. We suddenly find ourselves thinking we don’t really know people we thought we knew well because they support a candidate we despise.

Then there’s the national media, which seems intent on stirring our discontent in the interest of creating controversy to boost ratings. And even though the election will be over in just a few weeks, few of us expect that the vitriol will die down. It’s hard to imagine a way forward.

But there’s a little passage from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that might prove helpful. Writing to expatriate Jews during their exile to Babylon, Jeremiah urges the people to make peace with their enemies. He even goes so far as to suggest that they will prosper as their captors prosper. And he has a warning for those who might try to benefit from sewing strife.

What might it look like for us to seek the best for our political opponents? How can we imagine prospering under leadership we so deeply disrespect? And what about the dreams we encourage the “prophets and diviners” of our day to have?

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 16, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a deeper look into Jeremiah’s 2,500-year-old prophesy and how it might help us navigate the difficult political waters of 2016.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

 

Nov. 22 Gathering — How do we respond to terror?


Creative Commons. Some rights reserved

Creative Commons. Some rights reserved

The events of Friday, Nov. 13, in Paris (and prior–though less reported–incidents in Beirut and Baghdad) once again set us collectively on edge as the ugly specter of terrorism once again reared itself in dramatic fashion.

As our prayers go out to the cities where these attacks occurred and the friends and families of the victims, some serious questions arise for those of us who seek to follow Jesus. Is military action an appropriate response? Can forgiveness truly be extended to mass murderers? What is our relationship with Islam? Can we risk our safety by allowing Syrian refugees to dwell among us? What does real justice look like in these situations?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll tackle some of these difficult questions and seek open, honest conversation around our feelings and our responses. We’ll be less focused on providing concrete answers than on creating a safe space for questions, doubts, ideas, and dialogue. And we’ll seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to lead us forward.

Join us this Sunday, Nov. 22, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we engage in this important conversation.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Aug. 23 Gathering: When God seems distant


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pond5.com

Our religious life tells us to strive to be close to God. Many of us have experienced those “mountaintop” moments when we are filled with the joy of God’s presence.

But what about the rest of the time? Those times when we seem to be slogging through the routines of life, struggling to sense God at all. Those times when God seems distant. Or not there at all.

Volumes have been published about what we’re supposed to “do” when we feel far from God. But somehow, that only reinforces the myth that our nearness to God is somehow up to us, that we can earn God’s favor. Which, in turn, deepens our guilt when we’re not close enough.

So how do we deal with it all? With the reality that we can’t live on the mountaintops. With the struggle in the valleys.

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday, Aug. 23, for a frank and open discussion about the distant times, what we’re to make of them, and how we can not only cope but still thrive in our faith as we pass through them.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

 

March 22 Gathering: “God has a plan…” ??


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“God has a plan for your life.” It’s one of those phrases we hear over and over again.

And while the statement may be true enough, discovering just what that plan is and how to live into it may be one of the most daunting, troubling, confusing things we poor humans have to deal with. From career decisions to choices about families, dating, church selection and more, we’re constantly seeking to figure out just what it is God wants us to do.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about how we discern God’s will and how we make decisions consistent with it. We’ll also see how our understanding of this mystery plays out across the wide generational diversity in our group.

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday and add your voice to the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Feb. 8 Gathering: Enslaved by Freedom?


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pond5.com

As Americans, we enjoy the idea that we have broad guarantees to wide-ranging personal freedoms. In fact, there’s little we can imagine doing that we can’t do. Our individual rights are deeply ingrained in our psyches and our culture.

But is it possible that our very freedoms are actually enslaving us? Is a social ethic that champions the sovereign self as our highest value actually hampering our ability to be truly free?

Is a social/political system based on individual rights truly ethical? Does it come at the explicit expense of someone else’s rights?

And for those of us who seek to follow Jesus, how do we reconcile individual rights and freedoms with a call to die to self, serve the poor, and love our enemies? Has freedom become our idol?

Join us this Sunday, Feb. 8, at The Marietta Brewing Company as we discuss the intricacies and implications of being enslaved by our freedoms. It promises to be a lively conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm
Conversation Begins: 7:00pm