“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, November 06, 2006

New wineskins/church structures

I was thinking about the whole new structures for the church in terms of a verse out of the book of Mark. Specifically Mark 2: 21-22 which says,
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 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 (NIV).
As I thought about this, I wondered about new wineskins/old wineskins and new structures/old structures.
At times it seems to me that the inclusion of persons with disabilities into traditional church structures is tearing the old structures. The old structures are being torn
-through frustration of leaders, persons with disabilities, and their families
-because of advocacy of people who "get it" for persons with disabilities
-from people being uncomfortable
-because of need for providing "extra" support to persons with disablities
-over challenges to the traditional excuses for doing nothing
-through tolerance for a very limited set of social behaviors
-by confusion over theological "curriculum" versus theological "practice"
-by groups breaking up over membership of persons with disabilities
-because of the desire to maintain the status quo
-and so on and so on
I think the old structures are being challenged by the Spirit of the Lord who has finally gotten the attention of dense people like me.
I guess you might develop new structures through the changes that the presence of excluded people bring. I mean, the reason that we know old wineskins don't work, is because people tried to put new wine into them and the old ones burst. We know that we shouldn't use unshrunk cloth for repairs, because people have ruined old garments by sewing unshrunk cloth into them. But perhaps there needs to be a time when structures get torn and burst for a while. In that way, we will then see that we need new wineskins, new structures to house the new inclusiveness we are evidencing for all people. We are in the sewing new cloth patches on old garments and putting new wine into the old wineskins phase. Hopefully, this will not lead to our rejecting the new wine, but rather to us making new wineskins to house the new wine.

The Way online, makes the following statement.
The parable of the wine and the wineskins is about putting new wine into a suitable vessel or container, and there are two vessels or containers that the Holy Spirit dwells in today:
The Church.
The believer.
So to use their example, we need new wineskins within the church and we also need new wineskins within each believer. I think they are mutually effective on each other. Believers will effect the church and the church can effect believers.



Anonymous said...

Hello, this is Julie. We communicated by e-mail a few weeks ago re the Through the Roof Summitt.

Our church had a teaching similar subject, though the inclusion of those with disabilities was not mentioned. He used the example of new and old wineskins also in regard to church structure.

My church's emphasis has been more focused on relationships rather than traditional structure. Therefore, I think we are prime for the idea of inclusion of those with disabilities.

I think the change will begin with relationships. If I can bring in one person with a disability (I've a heart particularly for those with dev disabilities)to 'do life' along side me, to attend the service with me, to attend small group with me as an equal member, (for starters, at least), maybe others will learn by our example.

impossibleape said...

Julie your heart is tremendous

examples and role models are lacking
you would be doing a wonderful thing to show such friendship in your church as you described

but more than lacking role models we are lacking the teaching from our pulpits that equates concern for the 'variously-abled' and often 'devalued' with real Christian living and witness.

Anonymous said...

What! I can't believe that you really feel that disabilities are satan. Disabilities happen. Yes, God lets bad thing happen. But people with disabilities are children of GOD just like all child are. I believe that GOD allows bad things to bring us closer to him. Everybody is created to glorify GOD. Not for our own purpose. No matter what we think.