Aug. 18 Gathering: “The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…”

In Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus tells a series of parables about the kingdom of heaven. We know that’s what they’re about because they all start with “…the kingdom of heaven is like….”

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted seeds.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast.

A treasure.

A merchant.

A net.

So what is Jesus getting at? Who was he talking to and why? What does he even mean by “the kingdom of heaven?”

This week at New Wineskins we’ll continue our summer series on the parables of Jesus with a discussion of the “kingdom of heaven” parables in Matthew 13 and the implications for how they can inform the way we exist and behave in our world today.

Please plan to join us this Sunday, Aug. 18, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company and bring your voice to the conversation!

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

Feb. 26 Gathering: Focusing through Lent

Hands framing distant

Today’s Christians embrace a wide variety of practices during the season of Lent. From giving up sweets to embracing new spiritual practices, there are many ways to walk through the season of introspection and repentance that Lent represents.

Regardless of how we choose to observe Lent, it is primarily a season of focus. Whether we choose to abstain from a thing or a habit for this six weeks, or add a new dimension to our spiritual lives, or engage in some sort of weekly discipline, our goal is to focus on Jesus and the coming remembrance of his crucifixion and resurrection.

At this week’s New Wineskins gathering, we’ll talk about various ways of observing the Lenten season, how those practices help us focus on the Passion narrative, and discuss possible ways we as a community might engage the season together.

Join us Sunday, Feb. 26 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we examine our Lenten practices and the deeper meanings behind them. Add your voice to 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


Oct. 2 Gathering: World Communion Sunday Instructed Eucharist


For centuries, the celebration of the Eucharist has been of central significance to Christian communities. Whether it’s celebrated daily, weekly, monthly, or at less regular intervals, nearly all Christians participate at least occasionally in Holy Communion.

But have we lost some of the significance of this ancient and holy rite? Has it become little more than another ritual we methodically march through occasionally, more out of obligation than for transformation?

This week at New Wineskins, we will celebrate our first Communion together as a community in observance of World Communion Sunday. But since we are a people called to look beyond the ritual into the deeper meanings of Jesus, our service will be slightly different.

Led by Father Steve Peck (Catholic Universalist Church) and Rev. Joe Webb (Provisional United Methodist Deacon), we will participate in an “Instructed Eucharist.” This ceremony allows us to examine and reflect on the various elements of the Communion service in order to help us understand and recapture some of the deeper meanings behind why we do what we do, and to allow Jesus to encounter us in new and profound ways.

Please plan to join us, and perhaps invite a friend, to what promises to be a deeply meaningful New Wineskins Gathering this Sunday, Oct. 2, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Aug. 7 Gathering: Luke 12:32-40 — Are You Ready?

CC via Creative Commons. Copyrighted work. Some rights reserved.

CC via Creative Commons. Copyrighted work. Some rights reserved.

“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps lit. Be like people waiting for their master to come home from a wedding celebration, who can immediately open the door for him when he arrives and knocks on the door. […] But know this, if the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he wouldn’t have allowed his home to be broken into.You also must be ready, because the Human One is coming at a time when you don’t expect him.”

Luke 12:35-36, 39-40 (CEB)

This passage from Luke’s gospel is often treated as a challenge to be prepared for Jesus’ second coming. But Anglican bishop and theologian N.T. Wright hints that the message from Jesus to his disciples has more immediate implications.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll continue our summer Lectionary series by looking at Luke 12:32-40. The passage begins with echoes of the Sermon on the Mount (“where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”) and ends with this warning about preparedness.

So what is Jesus getting at? If this isn’t about the second coming, what is it about? What do “treasures in heaven” have to do with servants waiting for their master? Are there hints in the text that point us to a warning for Israel that still holds true for us today?

Join us this Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Marietta Brewing Company as we unpack this fascinating package and discuss how to apply it to our lives today!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

June 19 Gathering: Breaking the cycle of violence

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

In the wake of last Sunday’s mass killings in Orlando, communities of faith across America have been seeking ways to respond. Through prayer vigils, calls for justice, and other acts of support, churches have been at the forefront of our collective expression of grief.

And while those responses are appropriate and helpful, it seems eventually we always find ourselves plowing the same ground of identifying and arguing over where the blame lies for these heinous acts. Whether we fault immigration policies, gun culture, mental illness, or some other factor, our quarrels end up consuming us and, ultimately, nothing changes.

But what if there’s something else we can do? Rather than arguing over where to place blame, can we really do anything to change things? Can faith communities play a role in reshaping culture away from violence as our default response?

In essence, that’s the heart of Jesus’ kingdom announcement. That death and violence no longer reign.

But can we actually live that life? And, if we can, what might it change?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll talk about how faith communities can lead the way toward not just individual redemption, but cultural redemption. Join us at the Marietta Brewing Company as we discuss ways to break the cycles of violence in the world around us.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

May 1 Gathering: Revealing Revelation

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