New wine, new whine

Allow me to whine a bit, if you will. You can’t keep doing new things in old ways. Why does everyone try to force the “new” thing Christ is doing into the antiquated, worn-out, tired and contrived methods of ye olde dead white guys?

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some dead white guys: Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-fallutin’ Greeks.Β  I’m not like the Jonathan Edwardses or Reinhold Niebuhrs or Henry Ward Beechers. I’m a new creature, living in a new time. Even though I’m the same type of substance as those who have gone before, I’m new wine.

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.Β  No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. Luke 5:37-38


Forcing the new into the mold of the old ruins new and old alike. I don’t teach in the old style. Those constraints would diminish my impact. I don’t write in the old style. My words create my voice, and I am in the here and now and not the there and then. I’m new wine.

New wine expands. It increases. It pushes the limits of the wineskin and reshapes its container. I’m new wine.

And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.” – Luke 5:39


Wine gets better with age. Even though you can’t pour new wine into old wine skins, it might be possible to pour old wine into new wineskins. I may not want to follow every tradition or ritual of my faith, but that faith has a rich and storied history.

I can learn from that. The same Spirit that fell on the day of Pentecost, the same Spirit that lit a fire in Peter and Paul, that same Spirit is the good wine in me. That Spirit is the old wine. That same Spirit is enabling and encouraging and engulfing the new thing. The Spirit is the new wine.

If you were a bottle of wine, which vintage would you be? What would your label look like?


36 responses to “New wine, new whine

  1. Id be a 1980, and my label would be a flaming uniform with machine-gun horns and a sweet sweet hot fudge tail.

  2. When I read that passage I always seem to come back to this: I want to keep my heart pliable to His message. It may change or look different over time, but in the end, I want to be receptive to it.

    About the wine, I have no idea. A red one, maybe? πŸ™‚

  3. 2011 bottle of grape juice. My logo would be a pair of glasses and a beard.

  4. i’d be a nice Australian Shiraz, any year. my logo would be a bearded camera.
    and I hope that I get better with age, like wine.
    btw, what cheese did you pair with your whine???

  5. I am a Johnathan Edwardserest…lol…But I take his old wine and make it my own new wine. “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” and the 2nd great awakening…too good for ME to pass up…

    Don’t know about those other dead white guys you mentioned…lol…

    I don’t know anything about anything about wine….I did see that “sideways” movie with the depressed wine expert…but yeah…i didn’t get it….i’ve only tasted wine like 3 times in my 28 years of being in this word….so i have no idea about wine years and lables….

    BUT, It would be cool to be like a Dr. Pepper can in the 50’s! lol…

    • I don’t know much about wine, either, but I can’t agree with your Dr Pepper comment! EW!!!

      I think taking cues and ideas and understanding from the dead white guys is a great way to connect with the history of the faith, but the Spirit didn’t stop revealing the nature of Christ at the turn of the 20th century.

  6. If I were a bottle of wine, I think I’d probably be a Merlot, 1981 vintage. The label would have a Welsh Corgi sitting in an easy chair next to a hearth, smoking a pipe and reading a piece of classical literature (maybe some Dostoevsky).

  7. Beautiful (the writing, not you. don’t let the new twitter photo fluff you up) πŸ™‚

    I would be an old French red wine. I would be sweet, yet a bit bitter. Old, yet introducing a new flavor. Red, yet a hint of orange. I would be the type of wine that when it hits the tip of your tongue, it would raise the hair in your arms and when it goes down to your belly, it would be perfect enough to let out a big burp, which is the seal of satisfaction.

  8. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

    I don’t wanna be separated from the vine — I wanna bear fruit continually! That way maybe you could snag one or two or three grapes while waiting in line at the checkout.

  9. fine words Herdy, just grand!

    I’d be a 1974 Barbera. Smooth. That’s right, smooth.
    The label would be a picture of Moe – staring into a glass of Barbera. #bromance FTW!

  10. Kristin,

    My question would be, “What is the new Christianity that you do not wish to see put into the wineskins of olde dead white guys?”

    Could you give specific examples of the new Christianity you walk in, and examples of the old wineskins you do not wish to walk in?

    As to wine, I have my eye on South America, specifically Chile, as they are really coming into their own. There are some exceptional vintners down there putting forth incredible wines. My personal choice lately has been a 2008 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon. Ridiculously easy to drink and rich in depth. Pairs excellently with heavy foods, but doesn’t dull your taste buds.

    • I’m talking about programs. We just had the fight trying to amend the church constitution so that new ministries could be added or defunct ministries dissolved without a 6-18 month process, so that the church could be more responsive to the needs of the congregation and the community. That’s an old wineskin. I want to see more fluid ministries that work together to see people enter into the family of God.

      Moreover, don’t even talk about changing the 3rd worship time to be less liturgical than the contemporary service (which is code for old liturgy, but with songs from the 1990s).

      • Ohhh, I get it now. You are having an issue with your local church. This post wasn’t really addressing a bigger picture. I get it now.

        I would say that any “church” that has a “constitution” and all that is moreso a business than a local reflection of sons of God. Church politics and by-laws and all that hoopla smacks of man’s need to regulate even that which is above their station.

        The more programs a “church” needs the less it is a church and becomes more of a community center with references here and there to that Jesus guy. We don’t need programs, we need pilgrims.

      • you’re right. I’m just a stupid woman. What do I know about ministry? I don’t serve a country club or community center, I serve a living God. I’m really tired of having to answer the questions you never put to men on whose blogs you comment.

      • Is the comment you’re replying to missing, or was this to mine or whose? On the “just a stupid woman” comment.

      • no, I replied to your comment. the comment to which that was a reply should be visible.

      • I see it now. When the page loaded for me your “stupid woman” response was at the bottom without Donald’s post to attach to for some reason. So the site confused me.

      • Kristin,

        You said, (to me, I think, or was it to Jonathan B?)
        >>”you’re right. I’m just a stupid woman. What do I know about ministry? I don’t serve a country club or community center, I serve a living God. I’m really tired of having to answer the questions you never put to men on whose blogs you comment.”

        Goodness! Was this directed at my comment? What in the world would lead you to believe I would consider you a “stupid woman”?

        I have no idea as to what you would or would not know about ministry. My life is my ministry, and even then it is not mine but my Father’s to begin with. Not a program, but a lifestyle with the impetus on relational evangelism. Just like Jesus is with me, so I seek to be with others.

        If you don’t serve a country club or a community center, then why all the programs at your church? Can your very relationship with God my Father not be a program in and of itself, far removed from formalized religion?

        Tired of answering my questions I never put to men on whose blogs I comment? Of course not. The men on whose blogs I comment are not saying what you say.

        I am curious as to why your comments to me sound and appear to be rooted in passive-aggressive anger. I surely have not a thing to debate with you about, but I do have legitimate questions I am asking for answers to. Your answers. From you. I ask questions because this is how I familiarize myself with bloggers who say they are believers. There is nothing to read between my lines, Kristin.

        I do hope we can dialogue with maturity and forthrightness and you will refrain from this attack mode in further correspondences. I am not your enemy. I do not wish to be your enemy. I have an enemy already, and you are not him.

        Is this an agreeable approach, or shall I presume that you would prefer me to not visit your blog again?

    • Donald, your aversion to church organization and “programs” is a tad bit too strong. There is a balance. If you think the early church was not organized or had “constitutions,” I would quickly point you in the direction of the Council of Nicea (which, basically, wrote the Christian “constitution” in the Nicene Creed). I would argue that disunity and chaos is the sin to fear…perhaps it is pride that leads some men to bash church authority when they believe that their own personal revelation is the one true path to righteousness.

  11. I don’t drink, and I don’t know anything about wine. My label, however, would be purple – or have purple in it, though…and a maple leaf (for my country)…and I have no idea what else.

  12. Like Shelley, I don’t drink, so my wine would be completely non-alcoholic. Considering water is almost all I drink right now, maybe a grape-flavored fizzy water? The label would probably be a deep blue with silver trim, with a coat of arms including a heraldric lion and lamb representing Christ, and a Roman soldier in accurate armor. Because every Easter season I am reminded that nothing disturbs my ability to “drink in” the spiritual grandeur of a Church passion play like getting the Roman soldiers’ armor wrong. :>

    I admit, the overall rant makes me a bit wary. Adding and adjusting ministries is one thing. But the overall rant could be used to justify all sorts of things as being just “old dead white guy” things. I’ve seen too many churches throw out sin, hell, divine judgement, calls to righteousness, and all sorts of other things in the name of being contemporary, relevant, and/or inoffensive. Not saying that’s what you’re meaning, just saying you need to be careful, as people throw out all sorts of things from the Bible and from the Church because they’re not “new”, up to and including Jesus.

    When Jesus was originally making the statement, it was in answer to why His disciples didn’t behave like the followers of the Pharisees and of John. To which His answer was basically that His followers are something new and different than those around them. I’m not sure you’re not using the verse out of the context for which it was intended here.

    • I’m not sure you’re living like the Early Church, either. I’m also I’m not trying to be inoffensive as a Christian. I’m not trying to be “liberal.” I’m saying that I don’t preach like Edwards or write like Neibuhr. Part of that reason is that God has giving me my own voice. Does your writing sound like the Church fathers. You still preach Christ crucified, but I seriously doubt that your advocating selling all your possessions and living in a church commune, either.

      • I wasn’t meaning to accuse you of being liberal, Kristin. I don’t think of you as being that. My concern was that without the context you’ve started providing in the comment section, your rant by itself could just as easily be used by those who are to justify all they do. You had specific things in mind that upset you, but without them the “new whine” is very open to interepretation and doesn’t obviously distinguish itself from the arguments the “liberals” use.

        You have your own voice, and I enjoy that voice or I wouldn’t be continuing to read. πŸ™‚ I don’t think God expects you to blog only in Hebrew and Aramaic because the Early Church didn’t write in English. πŸ˜‰

        Take it that the debater in my brain is trying to warn that your own words can be used for things you never meant without the context of the topic you had in mind.

  13. I’m glad you guilted me into reading this, it was fantastic! Seriously.

    I would be a ’79 Malbec. Because ’79 was the year all things perfect were made. πŸ˜›

    • I’m pretty sure I was made and launched in ’80, so, I have to disagree with you slightly, but totally agree on the fantastic part of your comment πŸ˜‰

      • Jonathan B

        I’m just sitting here realizing I’m older than both of you. Thanks for making me feel old again. πŸ˜›

        1976 was the best year, because they minted me and bicentennial coinage (but not in the same factory).

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