Jan. 15 Gathering: Unity?


Multi-coloured hands joined around the world (nasa imagery)

The narrative arc of scripture reveals a clear call to unity of God’s people. But in today’s fractious society, unity seems further away than perhaps ever before.

So is unity really even possible? Is there a way to break down the walls we’ve built between us?

This Sunday, we’ll relaunch our New Wineskins gatherings with a discussion about unity–not just in the church, but in our society in general–and explore possible pathways toward it.

Join us Jan. 15 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for what promises to be an interesting exchange of ideas and perspectives!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

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Nov. 27 Gathering: Google Hangout with Tomeka Robinson


islamaphobia

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

Sept. 18 Gathering – The Prayer of Jabez


jabez

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV)

A few years ago a little book by Bruce Wilkinson about this short prayer in 1 Chronicles caused quite a stir in Christian circles. People were claiming almost magical benefits from repeating the prayer, while others decried it as an almost heretical teaching from a cheapened prosperity gospel.

So what’s the story with this obscure little prayer from this man named Jabez that gets a grand total of two verses of the Old Testament dedicated to him? What are we to make of his prayer to God to “enlarge my territory” and “keep me free from harm so that I will be free from pain?”

Does God really want to grant us “enlarged territories” and pain-free lives? If so, what’s the deal? And if not, why would Jabez even warrant recognition in the Holy Scriptures?

ginnymckinney

Ginny McKinney

Join us this Sunday, Sept. 18, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as guest speaker Ginny McKinny of the Marshmallow Ranch blog and New Wineskins founder Joe Webb present a fun and fascinating look into Jabez’ prayer and what it might (and might not!) mean  for Christians today.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Sept. 4 Gathering: Haters gonna hate — Luke 14:25-35


pond5.com

pond5.com

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it? Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’ Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand soldiers could go up against the twenty thousand coming against him? And if he didn’t think he could win, he would send a representative to discuss terms of peace while his enemy was still a long way off. In the same way, none of you who are unwilling to give up all of your possessions can be my disciple.

Luke 14:25-33 (CEB)

In this familiar passage on the cost of discipleship, we often read the first paragraph as another in a string of hyperbolic exaggerations Jesus uses to make a point. And then we interpret the second paragraph–the part about construction costs and battle plans–through that initial hyperbole. And what we come up with is a pretty straightforward reading: the cost of discipleship is high, and one had jolly well better be prepared to pay it if one wishes to be part of Team Jesus.

Luke, of course, works in layers here, as he does throughout his gospel. And so we must remember Luke’s agenda…to paint the Jesus saga in terms of a new Exodus movement.

So what are we to make of this teaching in that light? What else could Luke be telling not only his original audience, but us today, about what it means to be a disciple? Why is it important? And why should we care?

Join us for a special Labor Day Weekend edition of New Wineskins this Sunday, Sept. 4, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for some dynamic conversation about this fascinating passage as we wrap up our summer Lectionary series.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

May 1 Gathering: Revealing Revelation


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pond5.com

It’s without question the most debated, most misunderstood, most terrifying book in the Bible. So much so, it almost didn’t even make it in.

With its bizarre symbolism, violent conflicts, and epic scale, it’s no wonder Revelation has captured both the Christian and cultural imagination. Add to that our fascination with wanting to know the future, and you have a formula for an instant bestseller.

But do we truly understand what St. John’s vision is really all about? Have we imposed our own contemporary context on an ancient type of literature to the extent that we’re misreading the story?

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll peel back some of the mystery behind Revelation and discuss some of the ways its been misinterpreted and misused to create a fear-based religious construct.

Join us at the Marietta Brewing Company and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

April 17 Gathering: Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble!


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pond5.com

Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way.
I can’t wait to look in the mirror.
Cause I get better looking each day.
To know me is to love me.
I must be a hell of a man.
Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,
But I’m doing the best that I can.

–Mac Davis

 

Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.

— Jesus (Matt 5:5, CEB)

Why is humility so difficult? Honestly, it’s like the moment you think you’ve got it, you’ve lost it! Is pride that strong of a force? Can we ever overcome it?

And yet, if we think about the people we admire greatly, most of us would have at least one person on that list that exhibits great humility. What is it about humbleness that’s so attractive, yet so difficult? Could it be that our humility might be the most compelling thing about us and our churches? How might that effect the way we “do church,” not just on Sunday mornings, but every moment of every day?

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about humility, what it looks like, and some of the ways we can start to practice it better. Join us at the Marietta Brewing Company and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

 

April 3 Gathering — Crucifixion and Resurrection: Theologies of the Cross


cross

It’s without question the most identifiable symbol of the Christian faith. It is central not only to the celebration of Easter, but to the very identity of the people who follow Jesus. We replicate it in our sanctuaries, wear it on our necks, tattoo it on our bodies, mount it in public spaces, and display it in our homes.

But what exactly does the Cross mean? Why was Jesus crucified, and what is the significance of resurrection? While these might seem to be fundamental questions, there is quite a bit of scholarly and theological debate over theologies of the Cross and the various atonement theories different faith communities embrace.

Is it critical that all Christians agree on these matters? Or is there room for honest and deeply felt differences of opinion and doctrine?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll take a look at some of those theories and discuss what meaning(s) we can appropriate from the Cross (be sure to check our Facebook page for links to articles discussing the “penal substitution” and “Christus victor” theories). We’ll also talk about how seemingly contradictory theological perspectives might manifest themselves in how we live, and how we can seek to allow them to exist alongside one another among people of goodwill.

Join us this Sunday, April 3, at the Marietta Brewing Company as we resume our ever-other-week schedule after our Easter break and enjoy the challenge of digging into a little deep theology. Come with an open mind and open heart (not to mention an open appetite)!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm