Christians, what are you holding onto?
The decorations of Christianity are coming down, being boxed up, and put away.
Evangelicals, we have our camps,
and I have the feeling that Jesus is telling us that this culture we’ve created has become an idol – something we just don’t want to let go of.
But when you take all those away, is Jesus still there?
I wonder if he’s coming after all of it in order to save us.
Deconstruction – a widely used word covering many experiences – is not demolition, but a reexamination of what we believe, and why we believe it.
But the many people questioning their faith, or more accurately, questioning the way we practice our faith is a threat to my generation of those who grew up in Evangelicalism. We are tempted to look back to former days and decades with nostalgia and a burning wish for things to be “the way they were.”
The Church is Broken
If you read just a few pages of the gospels, you discover Jesus was a deconstructionist. When Jesus experienced pushback from the religiously powerful – the Pharisees and the teachers of the law – he used the metaphor of wineskins.
Jesus’s new, radical message of God’s Kingdom both threatened and frightened the established religious order. It meant they would lose influence, status, and power. Jesus was inviting everyone to follow him, including “tax collectors and sinners.”
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’ ” (Luke 5:37-39)
And this made the religious leaders confused, scared, and then angry.
Jesus points out that maybe the religious just can’t handle the message of Jesus’s love and forgiveness. He called them old wineskins that can only handle the old wine of religion. This new wine of love and forgiveness can only be accepted by new wineskins – people that are not holding on to tradition and old teachings, but just follow Jesus.
That’s why we, the “moral majority,” overwhelmingly voted for someone that so clearly didn’t share the values of Jesus – because we’re desperately afraid of letting go of what gives us comfort. We’re scared of losing the old wineskins.
When I write or speak of Jesus’s love, I see my generation’s eyes widen with fear.
“What about His holiness?”
“That sounds pretty liberal.”
“You’re ignoring God’s wrath.”
And the old wineskins begin to burst.
Becoming a new wineskin.
Talk to him today. It doesn’t matter about what – just talk to him.
Invite him into your present moment and day. Tell him that you belong to Him. Make yourself an offering.
Look for opportunities to “be Jesus” to others throughout your day (you’ll be amazed, by the way).