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

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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

Dec. 3 Gathering: Advent, Incarnation & Expectation


Advent Calendar

It seems like when we were kids, December was the longest month. The lead-up to Christmas was full of eager anticipation for the big day as we opened our Advent calendars to reveal new treasures day after day after interminable day, and in our impatience for the payout, time seemed almost to stand still.

And then something changed. With maturity and the responsibilities of adulthood, it now seems like the season just sneaks up on us and is gone before we know it. In our frantic busy-ness we hardly get to enjoy the weeks leading up to what is arguably the most popular, if not most theologically important, day of the year.

Maybe consumer culture really has won Christmas. Or maybe we really can recapture that sense of excitement and anticipation as Advent unfolds.

And maybe the secret is incarnation.

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about how viewing Advent through the lens of incarnation can help us focus more, rush less, give more meaningfully, and truly enjoy the lead-up to Christmas.

Join us Dec. 3 in the 167 Side Room of the  Marietta Brewing Company as we celebrate this first Sunday in Advent together by sharing stories of incarnation.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Sept. 10 Gathering: “Peace on Earth”


Peace and Multiracial concept

It’s something we sing about in Advent and Christmas. We call Jesus the Prince of it. We pass it to one another on Sunday mornings in church.

But what do we really mean when we talk about peace? Specifically, “Peace on Earth?” Is it just an absence of conflict? Or is there something more, something deeper, that we’re called to strive toward?

To be honest, “Peace on Earth” seems like a concept way too big for us to do anything about. Sort of like global warming or education reform.

But what if there actually is a path forward? How might we find it? Beyond cheap platitudes and religious-speak, is there really a way peace on earth could actually be realized?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll try to unpack exactly what “Peace on Earth” means and what it might look like if it could actually be achieved. Rather than focusing on barriers, our dialogue will be more solution-oriented. So come with all your hard questions and crazy ideas!

Join us Sunday, Sept. 10, in the 167 Side Room of the  Marietta Brewing Company to add your voice to the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

June 18 Gathering: God as Father? (a Fathers Day conversation)


medieval-stained-glass-god

Referring to God in masculine terms has drawn plenty of examination in recent years. And it’s certainly clear that the creator of humanity transcends gender.

But much debate exists as to whether it’s appropriate to refer to God–or at least the first person of the Trinity–as “Father.” We have to ask ourselves whether such identity is harmless, or if it may actually make God less accessible, especially for people for whom their families of origin have left less than favorable impressions of what a father is.

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll talk about why we identify God in masculine terms, what our alternatives might be, and why it may or may not matter.

Join us Sunday, June 18, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for what promises to be a fascinating Father’s Day conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

April 9 Gathering: The Scandal of Holy Week


holyweek

As Christian congregations the world over enter into Holy Week–the days leading up to Easter Sunday–we reflect on Jesus’ last moments on earth and their meaning in our lives.

But how did the first Christians view the stories of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday? Were these just feel-good reflections, or did they have deeper cultural meanings with social and political ramifications?

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll reflect on the Passion stories that guide our worship of the resurrected Jesus and look behind the scenes to see what deeper significance they might have for us in our present contexts.

Join the conversation this Sunday, April 9, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

March 26 Gathering: Stories of Forgiveness


“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” –Matt. 6:14-15 (ESV)

Forgiveness may be one of the most difficult concepts for us to understand.

Part of the reason may be that we get forgiveness tangled up with forgetting. We think forgiving someone who has wronged us means condoning their behavior or allowing them to continue to do us harm.

But what if forgiveness is actually a way of making us more free? What if it’s a key that unlocks something remarkable in us, that allows us to take relationships even deeper?

What if we began to see forgiveness as the ultimate expression of love?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about what forgiveness means for us in different contexts, why it’s so hard, and what real forgiveness really looks like. We’ll share stories of how forgiveness works in our lives, what it means, and how to walk that difficult road.

Join us this Sunday, March 26 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company and bring your stories about forgiving and being forgiven into our conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm