Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I’m going to be honest here.

For the past month or two I have, for the first time that I remember, dealt with depression. No, that is not entirely true….I am depressed. (See how in just a few words we can distance ourselves from what we consider “wrong” in some way and make it sound so much better?).

I admit it. I exhibit all the signs of it. I checked. Everything is so easy to find nowadays on this thing called the Internet. Actually I did not have to look it up. I just knew it.
I’m sad. I cry a lot. I have lost a lot of desire to do much of anything that I found satisfying before. I’m dreaming a lot when I do sleep. I dream constantly about running into different members from my CLB. When I don’t sleep I am besieged by thousands of thoughts. What if? What about? Why? What can I do? What will they do? What will they say? I swing from anger and then back to compassion and then to sadness and then to numbness with startling quickness.

It is hard to admit depression. It would be easier to admit it much later, after, hopefully I have figured out what exactly is wrong with me and “conquered” it. But I need to admit it now.

But you know what? I can hear the voices screaming in my head how wrong it is to feel this way. Some of them sound a lot like my own as I have leveled some of these words at others. Voices that say things like:

Just be happy for crying out loud.
You need to get your head wrapped around the “truth” of the Word
Just get up, take a shower, put on your makeup and you’ll feel better.
Just set up a time with me and we will pray against this spirit of depression.
If you would just get back into fellowship with the believers in our church you would feel better.
Of course you are depressed. Look at your giving. God is not blessing you.
Maybe if you spend some time, early in the morning, in prayer and connecting with God, you'll be better.
You say he is depressed? Well of course, he broke covenant with our body and is now out there all on his own.
You just need to speak the Word. God’s promises will not return void.
Get under our covering and God will rebuke this demon of depression.
We have been given the spirit of an overcomer. You can do this.
We have a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind so if we are truly walking with God the spirit of a sound mind it will keep away any depression.
Don’t hang around people who are depressed. You will start to believe that the gospel does not work. They will steal your faith.
Depression is a sign of a very unstable person. Certainly not mature in the things of God.

Shall I shut them up now? You get my point.

I’m sorry Daughter….many of these were leveled at you. Please forgive me.

One of the funny things about living in this kind of toxic church belief system is that for some it was the CHURCH that caused their depression. Or at least what we were teaching in the church. Did we ever step back and say, “Oh, my God, what might we be doing that is causing this person to struggle like this.” Would that have been a good question to ask ourselves?

Another reason it is hard to admit being depressed is because if my old CLB ever heard that I was struggling with depression right now they would have been given the match to light the wood stacked at my feet. It would prove just how wrong and unstable and full of demons that I now am. My one ray of light has been Husband, who has been so patient with my tears and crazy – unlike me – behavior. He has said time and time again, “Honey, you are right where God wants you. He has something to teach you and show you about yourself and him.” I don’t know what I would have done with anyone less understanding. Best Friend and one or two others have also been so encouraging and not judgmental in this whole process

But then yesterday I looked onto my computer and read a bit of what someone else is going through. Heidi at Live With Desire was one of the first people that gave me hope that I was not crazy in coming out of our CLB. Monday, she again did that for me. In her Thoughts About Depression she says some simply amazing things. Please, please take the time to read it.

If you have ever struggled with depression, or are depressed now please read her post.

If you have never struggled with depression – you too need to read it. It will keep you from saying all the stupid things above and wounding people even more.

Thanks Heidi…And Husband….And Best Friend….And all the friends who now surround me. Your grace to me is amazing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Prayer Story

We have been reading and talking about prayer these past few days. I have a story that makes me smile every time I think about it. Mind you, I’m not sure if the theology behind this is really true. I could probably pull some Bible verses around it and make it sound just as good as any preacher that I have heard lately but I will spare you the Bible gymnastics. It is just a story. My story.

During one of days that I knew we were going to have a meeting in our CLB (church left behind) I was in deep anguish. I wanted to do everything so perfectly. I wanted there to be no room for deception in our own lives. I wanted no one to be able to point any fingers that we were not completely like Jesus in our handling of telling our pastors that we really, really disagreed with them. (Now, I realize that, 1) I can’t be perfect enough and 2) people will believe whatever they want to believe)

Anyway, one morning about 4 months ago, I could not sleep. I got up crying. As I came downstairs I saw the couch and I dropped to my knees sobbing. I cried for a few minutes and then started praying/sobbing, “Please Jesus, please come and be here with me. Please come and be here. I need you. Please don’t leave me alone to do this, please come and be with me.”

This went on for many minutes. At one point I actually took a breath. I was not in the listening mode but all of a sudden, in my thoughts, I felt like I heard Jesus say in a bit of a rebuking kind of voice, “I am here!” Now I don’t know what God sounds like when he speaks to you but this the tone of his voice was as if he was trying to get through to me so I would stop begging Him to show up. He also sounded like he had said it a few times already and I had just not heard him yet.

Of course I immediately thought of all the verses that I know that he would not leave me and of his omnipresence that I had been taught all my life and sheepishly said, “Thanks Jesus, thanks for being here.”

I then took another deep breath and began to frantically tell him all about what I was worried about, what had happened, all my fears and panic for what the day would bring. Again, at one point when I paused to catch my breath I thought I heard him speak peacefully again. He said, “I know all of that, I was just sitting here with my Father talking to him about all of this. He knows all about it and he loves you.”

Again verses flooded through my mind about Jesus sitting on the right hand of the Father and interceding for us. (I’m a good Bible student when I am pushed to be)

But the thought and picture of this brought such sweet peace to me that morning. I realized that he really was talking to the Father about this. That they really cared and that they had not left us alone in all of it.

But then a crazy thought crossed my mind and came flying out of my mouth. “Jesus, if you are there, talking to the Father about all of this…. I mean, if He is right there being all God and stuff…. and knowing everything like he does….and you guys are talking about it right?..... could you please tell me how it is going to turn out. What is going to happen?”

Again, in my mind I heard him say back to me. “No, He hasn’t told me what is going to happen yet but that is ok.”

I decided at that moment that I probably better not push this one. If he wanted me to know ahead of time, he would tell me. (and if he had told me I would have probably really screwed up and asked for the lottery numbers too for the day)

But it does make me smile…and cherish that morning on my knees…and think about all the theological implications….and again brings peace to me knowing that they talk about these kinds of things…right?

And maybe just listening and breathing right now is really ok.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Prayer Without Throwing Things

Cindy asked me to contribute to today’s sycroblog about prayer. I told her that at this point in my journey the words that have surrounded my experience of prayer in the church mostly make me want to throw things. I don’t really know what I can contribute to this discussion but here was what I was chewing on all week as I thought about my emerging prayer life.

First a list of the words that now make me oh….so….tired. What prayer is not to me right now.

Prayer warrior, intercessory prayer, prayer of faith, praying in faith, The prayer of faith, unceasing prayer, prayer and fasting, prayer of salvation, prayer march, soaking prayer, prayer meetings, prayer requests, warring prayer, beseeching prayer, foxhole prayer, persistent prayer, strategic level warfare prayer,

(By the way, if you don’t get what some of these are, you must not be in a church as “special” as ours was.)

watchman prayer, prophetic intercessory prayer, spiritual breakthrough prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, praying women, praying wives, praying moms, travailing prayer, deliverance prayer, prayer shield, prayer walking, prayer lines, prayer teams, prayer leaders, prayer towers, prayer rooms, prayer closet, house of prayer, prayer shawl, prayer rug, overcoming prayer, enlarging prayer, healing prayer,

Are you tired yet?

prayer cloths, prayer oil, kneeling in prayer, shouting in prayer, standing in prayer, weeping in prayer, prayer partners, availing prayer, city wide prayer, hidden power of prayer, prayer evangelism, answered prayer, prayer journal, call to prayer, prayer language, prayer in tongues, edifying prayer, expectant prayers, personal prayer, 10/40 prayer window, miraculous prayer, praying through, praying for, praying over, praying around
and on and on and on…..

So without all the trappings of prayer that once made up my life, what is it now? I really have a hard time explaining it.
The closest word that seems to describe it is breath.

You know how it feels to get up in the middle of the night to a crying baby. You go in and change, feed, and rock your child. Along sometime in the dead of night this infant that you have given everything for, finally decides to sleep. As I held my children like this, them breathing softly, it was my favorite time in the world. They were completely satisfied, relaxed and at peace. I was totally enjoying just being there, holding them and listening to their breath.
It was miraculous. It was complete.

Husband asked me on our Friday night date what I was thinking about prayer. I told him that I was having a hard time describing it. He then told me to close my eyes and tell him what God looked like when I thought about prayer.
I told him that God was seated, leaning forward, not speaking, just breathing and listening for my breath. He was not mad at me, (a good jump for my imagination) or impatient, just intent on being with me and listening….both of us…just listening….and breathing. I, listening to his breath and he, to mine.

Right now that is prayer for me.
For once, I’m not saying much. For once, I’m not demanding that he say anything.
For once I just want to be held and be at peace and just

Monday, August 20, 2007

But They Didn't Call.....

Didn’t they realize that even though we disagree on church things I still love them and their family?

But they didn’t call.

Maybe their invitation got lost in the mail. Wouldn’t they call then to see why we did not RSVP?

But they didn’t call.

Don’t they realize that even though we disagreed sharply and are not now in the same church, nothing would have stopped us from joyfully attending their daughter’s wedding?

But they didn’t call.

Do they not remember the times I stood up for their daughter? I was the one who encouraged her when everyone else wanted to give up on her. Don’t they remember how I loved her and believed in her?

But they didn’t call.

Do they understand that I spent the week before her day crying that I was going to miss her wedding?

But they didn’t call.

Do they understand that somehow I thought that even at the very last minute they would call and say, “What in the world are we thinking…Of course we want you here…Please come.”?

But they didn’t call.

Don’t they remember that we were family? Family can disagree on the huge, important things and yet come together on the real things, right?

But they didn’t call.

Do they understand that I spent the time that the service was going on silent, thinking and praying that God would be there in all of his love and fullness?

But they didn’t call.

Do they think that just because we left, we don’t love them or care deeply for them?

But they didn’t call

Don’t they know that despite our differences we still rejoice at every good and perfect gift that comes to them from the Father?

But they didn’t call.

I don’t write this to garner your sympathy. Father’s love and abiding presence is the only balm for such things. I also do not write this to garner any support for “my side.” There is no “my side” nor do I want you on it.

I write this for the same reason that I blog at all. I write so that when you experience hurt that decisions like this bring, you will feel that someone else has maybe felt it too and that they said that God would be there in the midst of their tears and heartache (and at moments…anger).

He was.

He called….He came….He cried with me….He never left…He understood.

He even understands why they didn’t call.

And He loves.

Personality Test

OK, I bit.

Others that I read are taking this test so in the interest of peer pressure and a mild curiosity I took the test too. I was not suprised. Mostly I think I'm a bit of an ass. I have waited so long because I am a bit schizophrenic. On one day I can take it and answer questions that if taken on the previous day would be answered differently. So here is what I am today. Right this minute. I am a:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I wish I were less introverted, and leaned more toward the feeling, intuitive and perceiving side. I never like myself very much when I realize this. I don't know how my outgoing, feeling, intutive and perceiving friends and Husband put up with me. But it is raining outside today and so it fits the mood.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Faith With Her Sleeves Rolled Up

I love reading others' thoughts. You never know where Father will feed you from next.

I got this piece from a blogger that I am reading - Redemption Junkie. Heidi Renee got it from a blogger named Max Hsu. I don't know who he is and have never been to his site (except for this post) but these two paragraphs have captured something in my heart the past few days that have kept me coming back to read it again and again. I am assuming that he wrote it. He writes:

Eventually we will walk into the light
Hope and faith seem related, but faith is the one who stays when hope has left with a whimper. When hope gives up, faith rolls up her sleeves and asks; " What needs to be done?". Faith is the strong one. Faith does not have the luxury of self pity and despondent despair. Faith is what makes us put pen to paper when we feel like we have nothing left to say and there is no ink in our proverbial pen. Faith pushes on when hope flees. Doubt is hope's other face and who knows what face will show up because hope and doubt are flip sides of an emotion.
Faith is knowledge and action and faith remembers that we've seen hard times before and that in those hard times our needs were met and the water flowed and we had what we needed when we needed it. Faith knows what hope forgets. Faith is what enables us to become more than we are because faith is belief in action. Faith and courage are the true cousins. While we may doubt that we can cross the desert, faith knows that we can take the step we need to take today and that with enough steps, eventually we will walk into the light.
Create and live in faith.
I just love the words that when hope gives up, faith rolls up her sleeves and asks: "What needs to be done."
Another blogger was talking about faith on his blog the other day (John Carnes - Notes From the Journey) He was discussing the passage where Jesus was rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith. He points out that it was in response to their question to Jesus of, "Teacher don't you care that we drown?" that Jesus tells them they have little faith. Could it have been Jesus saying to them, "Don't you even have enough faith to know that I care for you?" (I have always understood it to mean that Jesus was ticked that they did not have enough faith to calm the waves and perform the miraculous - things that I usually suck at and thus felt guilty for not having enough was such hard work being 'church lady')
So when I see the words that Faith says - "What needs to be done?" I realize that much of her job is to help me walk into the light that Father really does care for me - even amidst the waves and uncertainty of this life.
And maybe, if I absolutely know that He loves me - no matter what - I will maybe even - sometimes - be able to rest in this love and perform the miraculous.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Today I closed down my personal Blog.

It was a blog that I had first opened when in my CLB. Many women and surprisingly a few of the guys were regular readers as I explored what it meant to live in Jesus. It was like personal devotional of what I was learning each day. When we left our church a few months ago my posts got fewer and farther between. I just could not write about all that I was learning because to do so would maybe disrupt husbands and wives from walking in unity with each other. My beliefs are so different now that I could not "teach" these new things to those who would not even come to speak to me.

So I ended it. It feels as if a part of me has died today. My only hope is that God will one day restore the relationships that once were.

Here is what I posted about two weeks ago to close the site.

This will be my last post on this blogpage – __________. I will keep this message up for a few weeks and then close the site down.

I started it while still a leader at (CLB). Unless you just happened to stumble across this small pebble of a blog spot, you knew me at (CLB). About 3 months ago we made our decision to leave the church. Believe me it was not an easy decision. I/we cried for months. We kept asking God for wisdom and the ability to stay. Instead we believe He moved us out. We were called to take a different path than what _____ and _____ believed they were to take.

We had wanted to sit down with each person – those of you who were reading this site -and give a better explanation and affirm that we still loved you with all our hearts and wanted an ongoing relationship with you but after the public meeting that was held we did not feel the freedom to do that.

I feel that in writing on this blog and having you read it – without having a face to face relationship with me- is not right. If you don’t believe you can have a real relationship with me then you should not be reading what I am thinking and feeling and learning.

So I am asking you for a few things. If you wish to follow the journey that God is taking Husband and I on, please at least email me and ask for the new site that I will be blogging on. That is the least amount of contact that I would desire.

If you want a real relationship with me and are wondering why I have not contacted you, please understand that we don’t want to cross any lines of trying to “deceive” you as has been publicly stated or putting you into the place where you are uncomfortable with my contact. Therefore I think I will leave it up to you to contact me. Know this. Those of you who have lived in my house and have been part of my family in various ways, I want your friendship still. I never changed. I only made a decision of who I was to follow. In that I did not choose ____ or ____ should not interrupt our friendship. We would still desire a relationship with them and their family.

Also realize that if we are truly being shunned in any way by you and your family, this is behavior befitting a cult – Not truly grace filled, brotherly love kind of behavior. I ask you to think hard about this.

I realize that you may have somehow come to believe that we did not want to have contact with you. That is not true and is easily confirmed anytime you wish to visit with us. At least come to yell at us. Something. Anything. This is ridiculous. We have not sinned to the point of someone refusing to fellowship with us. Check your Bible. If you are hurt, please talk to us. We never meant this to hurt you. We fully expected to be able to sit down and talk this through like adults.

Just know this – We will always welcome you into our hearts, arms and home. If it is a day, a week, a month or even years. Goodbye from ___________. I hope to talk to you soon.

Another nail in the coffin, Huh?

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Good Fruit of NOT Tithing

Here is something that I did not expect today.

I was grateful for my washer and dryer. Let me explain.

It has only been a few months since I researched tithing in the Bible and began to believe that it just wasn’t in the New Testament and even when it is in the Old Testament, did not represent anything like what I have always been taught. (Read this for an excellent study on the subject.)

I had been taught and taught myself many things about the tithe. (This could be actually included in the meme from last week about Things I Learned in Church that Didn’t Prove True and What I am Learning Lately.) We believed some of the following:

1. God loves cheerful givers. But those that don’t cheerfully tithe – he is not happy with.
2. If we don’t give God our 10% off the top of our income, he will actually take more than that. Things would break, unforeseen bills would pile up, health would be affected, etc.
3. If we gave more than 10% (offerings) we could expect GREAT blessings financially. We could expect God to bless our things from not breaking down, our health to be better and those extra financial burdens to disappear.
4. If you were having a hard time financially – you needed to look at your giving record to see what the problem was. God was true to his promise so it must be something you were doing wrong.
5. More giving actually obligated God to back his promise up. He owed you!
6. You could judge people’s giving by how their finances looked without ever knowing what was really going on. If they looked to be poor or struggling – they probably needed counseling on their giving.

Oh. My. God. How could I have swallowed all of that. Even writing it out makes me ill. (It is interesting, so much of these beliefs happened by direct teaching but others happened because of someone’s “testimony”. Doctrine and practice was shaped without ever backing up anything in Scripture.)

Anyway, yesterday I was standing in front of my washer and dryer. (I have a large family and so there is not one piece of equipment in my house that I probably need more except for running water and toilets that flush).

It was then that I realized that God was not obligated to me to give me anything. The fact that my washer and dryer work and were not broken was just a gift for the moment to me. I was not paying God off financially to give me a better life. He didn’t owe me anything. I had not brought my “tithes into the storehouse” this month and yet God still loved me. The washer and dryer working had NOTHING to do with how much I gave or didn’t give God. (Explains why all those Heathens have working washer and dryers. Always wondered about that.)

I never understood my attitude toward God was that of those who have to pay the police under the table to protect them. Here, I owe Father a huge debt for the love he gives me and what he did on the cross with Jesus, but he is not like an unrighteous loan shark that is coming after me to smash my car in with a baseball bat and break Husband’s knees if we don’t pay up. I realized that I could no longer have the attitude that I could pay God off to protect my stuff. God was not to be bought with my tithes and offerings!

Now you would think that this would produce fear in me as now God could not be controlled. But no, instead it produced gratefulness for what he has given me and a deep seated trust that if they did break down or things start going wrong or bills piling up, it would not be an indication of God’s love for me or my supposed lack of obedience to him. We could walk in relationship – responding to each other even as I may have to go to the laundry mat for my 11 loads a week. Conversely, if good things are experienced by me – like a working washer and dryer – I am just sooooo grateful for all he gives me.

Not tithing produced gratefulness.
Not tithing produced relationship.
Not tithing produced sanity.

This looks like good fruit to me.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wineskins-In Response to the Wine

I have a guest writer today. This couple is wonderful. They are wonderful because 1. They have forgiven me for the abuse that I helped to perpetuate while they were here at our CLB and 2) They are just wonderful people. Did I mention that they are wonderful?

Anyway, God is teaching them much about the Kingdom. I wanted you all to read what he wrote about wineskins the other day on his blog. The insights he has on this topic were truly freeing. I hope he keeps writing.

He writes:

My wife and I have been now to about 20 churches in the last year. And to be honest, there have been very few that we have felt did church right. Last Sunday we left our normal church – which is a great church but not super exciting per se – to visit the slickest, most produced church I have ever been to. It was the one of the rare times recently that I have heard real quality musicianship at church, but everything else – from the 20 minute offering talk in which the pastors wife sounded like she was addressing toddlers, “now smile everybody, because God loves a cheerful giver” to the multiple book plugs in the middle of the sermon - was quite disturbing.

That night I had a dream in which I saw a crowd of people wearing goatskins over their clothing and all heading in one direction – so many that they began to look like a herd of animals because of the skins. It was the people of God in mass trying to get God to bless them in the manner of Jacob, by deception and by disguise rather than as sons and daughters. (I admit I was recently listening to Jason Upton talking about Jacob and Esau). The message was: God is not blind, such that he will fall for our disguises. At the same time, he is no respecter of persons and he does not withhold his hand of blessing. Indeed he even blesses those who are disguising themselves, but it’s in spite not because of the disguise.

It’s easy for me to be very critical about the way a lot of churches are run and to think, “I would set things up much better than this.” And while I generally think God agrees with me :) I don’t think He gives the issues nearly as much weight as I do. That night I also heard God speaking about the idea of the “wineskin” (I remember thinking that the people wanted to use their goatskins as wineskins). Everyone is trying so hard to make sure that they have the perfect wineskin, especially in terms of church structure. I’m starting to lean towards the idea that the Bible is not exactly clear on what the ideal church structure is and that is so for a purpose: because church structure is not what He cares about, but rather the hearts of men willingly following Him. There are a few things that he clearly does not like – like lording authority over one another and everything that constitutes religion – but he has not prescribed the ideal ‘wineskin’ that is for all time.

In fact the whole passage in Matthew 9:14-17 (below) that introduced the ‘wineskin’ to church parlance was about originally Jesus’ response to why the disciples weren’t currently fasting. He says they do not fast now, but they will fast when the bridgegroom is taken away and backs this up with 2 examples, that of putting unshrunk cloth on an old garment and that of putting new wine in an old wineskin.

Matthew 9:14-17 – Then the disciples of John came to Him saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Taking the approach that we should lend a lot of weight to the simplest, most obvious explanation of a scripture given its context, we would have to say that this talk of a wineskin is not referring to how a church should be structured or should operate but rather is a metaphor that captures why the disciples do not fast now but will fast later. The focus of the metaphor is not about containers, as cloth is not a container of anything. What is common to both metaphors is reading the situation and taking the appropriate measures given the situation: if you have an old cloth use an old patch, if you have new wine, use a new wineskin, and by extension if the bride groom is here don’t fast, but when he is gone then fast. To me the closest scripture that relates to this one is the reference to the Sons of Isaachar who discerned the times and knew what to do.

Now we can also infer from the passage that because it specifically mentions the disciples of John and the Pharisees fasting (both symbols of the old covenant, John being hailed as the greatest of that era), that Jesus may be using the wineskin metaphor to refer to the new covenant, whose wine had not yet been poured out – either by his blood at the cross or at Pentecost depending on your interpretation of what is the wine. In either case the context still seems to speak more to how our hearts respond to the new covenant than to the structure or organization of the church.

I do not deny that God often speaks from a passage beyond its original context so I won’t say that this passage cannot speak about the church, but one thing is clear in the passage: the wineskin is a response to the wine, not the wine to the wineskin. So whatever we want to apply this verse to, it cannot be changed to mean that we should prepare a new wineskin before the new wine comes. Rather, a straightforward reading of the passage indicates that we should choose the right response (wineskin or patch) to the season we are currently in.
In addition, Jesus does not mention that any time is spent designing the wineskin itself. I don’t think that wineskins were complex mechanisms. Jesus seems to indicate that they basically came in two versions: “new” and “old.” Our task is not to pick from a host of options or possible customizations: leather interior seems to be standard. Like many of his teachings, the choice He gives is binary: right or left, old or new, life or death. If he presents us with a new gift we must choose which will be our hearts response: receive it as something new, or try to fit it into the box we made yesterday; follow the lead of the Holy Spirit or repeat what we did before.

“If you build it, they will come,” is often quoted in churches though, perhaps surprisingly, these words do not from the Scriptures, but rather from Field of Dreams. The story of Noah would indicate that God can certainly work this way, so if you hear God whispering theses words, by all means get to the cornfield and start working. But the problem is often the one thing common to many churches throughout Christendom, from house churches to mega churches to virtual churches, is the idea that if they just can get the wineskin right they will get the new wine. Half these churches’ time is spent painstakingly perfecting their wineskin and the other half pondering how the other wineskins out there are getting old.

I am starting to believe that God cares a lot less than we do about whether a church has 50,000 people and a pastor with a botox smile on the cover of his new bestseller or a handful of homeschooling ex-Mennonites in a poorly decorated ranch house. While both of these thoughts make me cringe, He seems to have much more grace than I do and is pouring out wine without measure to whoever will come to Him thirsty. There are things that churches do that probably make Him go crazy. Particularly grieving must be when churches misrepresent His heart towards His people. But, for future church planters, I don’t think the answer is to focus on designing a better wineskin. I think it’s just to get better at wine tasting.