July 21 Gathering: The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

In Luke 18, Jesus tells a story about a Pharisee and a tax collector who both come into the temple to pray. The self-righteous Pharisee thanks God for all his power and influence. The tax collector begs for mercy. And Jesus uses the story to spin the difference between privilege and humility.

On the surface, we usually read this parable in the light of our own individual virtues and shortcomings. Will we be proud, like the Pharisee, or will we be humble, like the tax collector?

But, as usual, Jesus is painting on a larger canvas. His teachings are far more rarely about individual morality than they are about society and culture. The whole rather than the one.

Join us this Sunday, July 21, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we dig a little deeper into this familiar parable. We’ll listen to it through a couple of different translations and a contemporary paraphrase to see where Jesus may be saying something even more significant than we’ve come to expect.

Happy half-hour at 6:30pm, conversation starts at 7:00pm


Aug. 26 Gathering: Dialogue beyond division

listen and speak icon, voice or sound symbol

“The opposite of hate is not love.  You don’t have to love people to stop hating them. You don’t even have to like them. You also don’t have to concede the validity of their views.  You can have beliefs that are in strong opposition to the beliefs of other people, and still treat those others with civility and mutual respect.  Ultimately, the opposite of hate is the beautiful and powerful reality of our how we are all fundamentally linked and equal as human beings. The opposite of hate is connection.” –Sally Kohn, The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity

Do you ever feel discouraged by the negative and hateful discourse in our society today? Does it seem like getting past our differences is a hopeless pipe dream?

But do we have to live in a right/wrong dichotomy that forces us into opposing camps? Or are there ways we can move beyond our disagreements without the burden of changing each other’s minds?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’re going to engage in some exercises to help us develop strategies for creating constructive dialogue that gets beyond what divides us and finds ways to create deeper connection.

Join us this Sunday, Aug. 26, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company and join what promises to be a fun and productive discussion!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

July 29 Gathering: “Burn Down the Mission”

food donations

“Burn down the mission Lord
If we’re gonna stay alive
It’s our only chance of living
Take all you need to live inside”

-Elton John, “Burn Down the Mission”
Tumbleweed Connection, 1970

Sir Elton John’s performance of songwriter Bernie Taupin’s brilliant lyrics notwithstanding, “mission” has always been at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

But what exactly is “mission?” Is it something we do, or someone we are? Is it something we do across the world or across the street? Has Christian mission always been a positive influence in the world? Or is there a dark side, one we need to figuratively burn down, in order to recapture our call to the missio dei, God’s mission for God’s world?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll pick up where we left off in our last conversation about worship and how worship and mission can–or must–coexist.

Join us this Sunday, July 29, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to share your experiences with mission, whether local or international, and explore what a theology of mission looks like as we reimagine church.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

July 1 Gathering: Circles of Grace

Group therapy

In a time so dominated by disagreement and divisiveness, it seems more difficult than ever to find common ground. Whether it’s politics or theology, we live in an argumentative age.

But what if we could rediscover ways to have constructive dialogue? What if we could discover the motivations behind our positions, and use those as means of finding common ground?

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll engage in one such means of creating space for constructive dialogue called “Circles of Grace.” We’ll be led by trained and experienced facilitators Barbara and Russell Rogerson, who run a spiritual retreat center in their hometown of Harrisville, WV.

Join us this Sunday, July 1, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to learn more about Circles of Grace and see how you might use this technique in your own contexts to create space for grace-filled conversations.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

April 22 Gathering: Cassie Kile and the Nerd Gospel!


If this picture heats up your blood and makes you cringe a little, you might be a nerd.

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we dive into Narnia to arrive in The Shire. If we take a step back and look at the fantasy stories that make up our era, we see a mosaic of the Gospel.

Gospel comes from the word, ‘godspel’ and literally means ‘good-story.’ The stories we tell each other at the present time are a representation of where we are as a people. We are piggy-backing off of our last meeting when we talked about some of the Biblical stories possibly being myth and legend and being told and retold to “convey the deepest truths of existence.”

Humanity is still telling those stories, and adding more stories to the mix day by day. In this week’s conversation, we will delve into stories that are made up by humanity, highjacked by The Holy One, and tell us again and again the good news—the godspel—the Gospel.

Cassie Kile will be our guest presenter for this week’s conversation. Cassie is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary where she earned her Master of Divinity. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Media Design from Full Sail University, is the owner and CEO of Lion Design Company, and specializes in static/dynamic graphics, music, & video for the Church. Cassie lives in Parkersburg, WV, with three fur-kids: Charlie, Sylvester, and Fonzie.

Join us Sunday, April 22, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for what should be a lively conversation about the stories we tell!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

April 8 Gathering: Myth, Legend, and Scripture


In our age of certainty and literalism, it’s hard to imagine that we could use words like “myth” and “legend” to describe Holy Scripture. But for the people who lived within the oral traditions from which our sacred writings come, myth and legend were perfectly natural ways to convey the deepest truths of existence.

The Genesis narrative, for instance, begins with two separate accounts of the Creation story. For centuries, religious interpreters have tried to reconcile the differences. But what if the people who first compiled these stories into the scriptural canon were less concerned with historical fact than with relating more nuanced levels of meaning? What if stories like the Exodus, Jonah, and Ruth are really more legend than memoir?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll dive into some of the myths and legends contained in the Bible and explore the truths behind the stories. Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for what should be a lively and enlightening conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Feb. 11 Gathering: Vulnerability

View the video of Dr. Brené Brown’s TED talk on the power of vulnerabillty.

In the story of the Exodus, Moses encounters a bush in the desert that is on fire but is not being consumed by that fire. In his curiosity, he approaches, and hears a voice from the flames: “Moses. Take off your sandals, for where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your ancestors, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

So Moses hides his face, presumably out of shame, or fear, or both. The voice goes on to tell Moses that the time has come to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and that Moses is the man to do the job. And in his string of excuses why that can’t possibly be right, Moses finally gets to the key question: “Okay, suppose I do this. Suppose I lead the people out of Egypt. Why would they follow me? Who do I tell them sent me? What if they ask me your name?

And the voice from the bush answers, “Tell them ‘I Am’ sent you.”

Now, what’s lurking just beneath the surface of this exchange is a sociological norm that was true of ancient peoples but not in our world today, so we miss it. In those days, when you encountered a stranger, you never wanted to be the first one to state your name. It was a sign of subservience. By giving another your name was to give them power over you.

And so for God to give Moses the name, “I Am,” says something more about who this God is than just a name. It implies a level of vulnerability we don’t expect from a deity. It says that God is not afraid to be known.

Vulnerability is something we humans–and especially prideful, individualistic 21st Century Americans–mostly try to avoid. We want to be seen as strong, as independent, as self-sufficient.

But what if vulnerability is actually at the heart of what it means to be fully human? What if, without vulnerability, we are missing out on something that is at the core of our true essence?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about vulnerability and its place in our relationships with God and one another.

Join us Sunday evening, Feb. 11, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we unpack the power of vulnerability.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm