Alas, grading has smothered all my creativity these last 10 days! However, I have emerged to two new writing projects. The first is a paper for an international conference of Baptist theological educators in Prague (- sounds exotic!) I present a paper on "Promoting a Subversive Spirituality: New Wineskins and New Wine in Mission and Evangelism."
I am just getting wound up about it! The title refers to an amazing text in Mark 2:22. Jesus is criticised that his disciples fail to fast like serious spiritual people. But he counters that they are like guests with the bridegroom. Fasting is inappropriate and absurd. Jesus is creating new relationships, forming a new community with new spirituality. And trying to fit this into old methods, old formulae, old forms of spirituality is as ridiculous as pouring new wine into ancient wineskins:
And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins. (Mark 2:22).
The more I ponder this, the more challenging it becomes. New wine, bubbling, fermenting, calls for new forms. Jesus invites participation with him, the Father, and the Spirit in community, in kingdom, in new living. But every generation who understands and experiences the gospel afresh runs the danger of trying to fit it into old forms that cannot do justice to its freshness! Can you identify old wineskins in the way we do and think church that owe more to human entropy than to divine energy?
Its a huge topic, especially when you focus on mission and evangelism! As always, I welcome your prayers and input on my journey. What do you think?