May 22 Gathering: Resurrection from “The Tyranny of the Now”

What makes it hard for you to be hopeful?

What circumstances seem to make it difficult to believe that a better tomorrow is possible?

In a time when our news feeds and public discourse seems filled with hatred, violence, and victimization, how can we not only imagine a better future, but become agents of that future?

Are we doomed to hopelessness, or is resurrection possible?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll wrap up our Eastertide series on resurrection and atonement with a conversation about what it takes to move beyond historic moments of conflict and strife into full flourishing for all human beings. Our video this week will feature Dr. Robyn Henderson Espinoza talking about “The Tyranny of the Now” and how oppressive systems and structures are destroying marginalized communities through greed and exploitation…and where hope can still be found.

Join us this Sunday, May 22, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub by

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin


Get ready for Pride in the Park 2022!

New Wineskins is proud to once again be a sponsor for OutMOV‘s annual Pride in the Park celebration happening Saturday, June 4, at Parkersburg City Park in Parkersburg, WV. We’ll need folks to staff our tent during the day and items for the gift basket we’ll be giving away during the event. Contact us to let us know how you can help!


Invest in our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage a new online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!

May 15 Gathering: Resurrection as the pattern of life

What do you think about when people talk about “resurrection?”

For most of us, it probably means something along the lines of “life after death.” When applied specifically to the biblical narratives about Jesus of Nazareth, it likely invokes the notion that Jesus was raised from the dead, either as some kind of proof that death is not “real“ or to support a preferential brand of theology wherein “God” promises “eternal life” to those who believe the right things, think the right thoughts, and, by extension, go to the right churches.

But what if there’s something deeper going on? What if resurrection stories are meant not for some kind of postmortem evacuation from reality, but for a clearer representation of the reality in which all things—including us—exist?

What if theologians like Richard Rohr are right when they insist that resurrection is actually the observable pattern of all life, and that we get to participate in that pattern at the very deepest, most existential levels?

What if it’s not about escaping death, but about our role in the most elemental designs of life?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll take a deep dive into the theology of resurrection. We’ll talk about the things we’ve always been taught to believe, the options we might consider, and the implications of what that could mean for the way we live in the bodies we have in the here and now.

Join us this Sunday, May 15, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub as we continue our Eastertide series on resurrection and atonement by asking the question, “What is resurrection?”

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin


Invest in our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage a new online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!

May 8 Gathering: Running from Resurrection?

Many of us likely found ourselves “doomscrolling” through our social media feeds this week in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft ruling regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade. We’ve probably experienced similar reactions to other news stories in recent years that seem to perpetually keep us in a state of anger, confusion, and unrest.

Neurological science is now telling us that our brains train our neural pathways to obsess or fixate over negativity in a way we seem unable to do with joy and positivity. In a very real sense, conflict and pessimism can easily become our default setting, while delight and happiness require a constant, conscious choosing.

And yet, people of deep faith—especially those who embrace contemplative practices—seem to be able to overcome these “natural” patterns.

So what makes the difference?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll continue our Eastertide discussion on resurrection and atonement by taking a deep dive into the ways our spiritual practices influence the ways we see and interact with the world. Specifically, we’ll talk about the influence of resurrection on our ability to break long-ingrained habits and choose love.

Join us this Sunday, May 8, in the New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub as we interact with a video featuring Fr. Richard Rohr on how embracing a theology of resurrection enables us to be people of transformation and life in a world that too often seems to be moving toward stagnation and death.

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin


Invest in our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage a new online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!

May 1 Gathering: What do we mean when we say “Jesus died for our sins?”

human standing beside crucifix statue on mountain
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s the definitive bumper sticker slogan of all Christendom: ”Jesus died for our sins.”

Traditionally most of us have been taught that Jesus’ crucifixion was an act of atonement to a God who despises sin so much that it required a blood sacrifice to reconcile us pitiful, sinful humans to God’s perfect love.

But could there be a deeper meaning? What if Jesus’ death has less to do with atoning for our individual wrongdoings, but for the systemic sins of exploitation and dehumanization?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll begin our Easter Season with a discussion about the phrase “Jesus died for our sins” and what it means through a lens of liberation.

Join us in the New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub This Sunday, May 1, and be part of the conversation!

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin


Invest in our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage a new online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!

April 24: Community Sabbath — No Gathering

About once every quarter our community takes a Sunday off for a collective Sabbath…a time to rest, re-calibrate, and re-focus. As we begin this Easter season we invite you to take a break from the routine this weekend. Spend some time with family or friends, enjoy the outdoors, cook a great meal for someone you love, or just take a nap!

We’ll be back on Sunday, May 1, to begin a month-long series on the links between atonement and liberation, and how resurrection plays out in communities of justice.

Enjoy the week off and join us in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub powered by Zoom on May 1!


Invest in our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage an online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!

April 17 Gathering: Easter Sunday Virtual Sunrise Service

Join us at 8:00am EDT Easter Sunday (April 17, 2022) for a Virtual Sunrise Service and Communion featuring a rendition of the resurrection story from John 20 as imagined through the eyes of Mary Magdeline and read by Kriss Bodnar.

We will also celebrate a Eucharistic liturgy led by Rev. Chris Wylie. Please provide your own elements for the Table (bread, crackers, wine, juice, etc.)

REMINDER: No gathering Sunday, April 24 as we celebrate our quarterly Community Sabbath.

Good Friday Reflection

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Hung in a Tree

by Phuc Luu

On that day
That Friday
He was made to suffer
Inflicted by our transgressions
Burdened by our iniquities
Tortured by our violence
More than what he could endure
Hatred made real and palpable
Anger and cruelty against the body,
lashed out on the skin
Against all that was true, and good, and beautiful
A mob lynching of the innocent
Against the divine son
who just wanted to be one of us

Cutting down the tree to carve out a cross
Grown from a seed,
A plant whose life’s goal was to reach sun
And give air to this world
But people of power
Made it into an instrument and tool
To execute a political prisoner
Someone who was deemed a traitor because he sought a world better than our own One where we sit at the table together
Where the sick are healed
their wounds mended
And liberation is pronounced to the imprisoned
To speak against the principalities of this world
Resisting their strategies of violence
Declaring the Day of the Lord

But all these dreams were dashed on hardened hearts
Hearts not able to see God with us
Present
Breathing the same air

Laughing
Crying
Sleeping
Being with
Standing beside
Needing us, as much as we needed him

He was abandoned
Left to die
Except for the few women
Who followed him to the end
Until he breathed his last
Until he forgave his offenders
And hung with thieves
Death row inmates
Hanging their heads with him
Until the clouds darken
Their chests sunken

Until the light of the world
Was extinguished
By merciless hands
making the brilliant sky dark Eclipsing
Crucifying
God
Open God
Vulnerable God
Tender God

Who hung there
As dead
As that tree


COPYRIGHT © THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Maundy Thursday Reflection

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Water to Wash Feet

by Phuc Luu

Across deserts and dunes
Over hills and valleys
They journeyed for miles
The teacher and his disciples
Into the domains of untouchables
The undesirables
Where demonized dwell
Where the outcasts are abandoned
Their feet treading across
The terrain of their hearts

Sometimes uncertain where he would lead them
Sometimes into questionable situations and encounters
They were always together
To co-create the world
Joining his hands with theirs
One space at a time
One step at a time
Into boats across the Galilean waters
and unfamiliar territories
piecing lives together
mending the tattered and broken

They would also become the teachers
And would tend to others
As they tended to themselves
To bring healing to their own wounds
And wholeness to their hurts

But the road came to an end for their Master
And as a sign of love for his disciples,
He tied a towel around his waist,
knelt down
and washed their feet,
a symbol of his love


COPYRIGHT © THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

April 10 Gathering: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday path from the Mount of Olives to Old Jerusalem (Photo by Joe Webb)

Is there a more subversive act in all of scripture than Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem the week before his execution…the event we call “Palm Sunday?”

Theologians and commentators have long remarked about how Jesus upended Roman imperial tradition by riding in to the Holy City on the back of a humble donkey, mocking the exultation of conquest and colonization.

But what if there’s more to the story? What if this drama isn’t just about spiritual victories over the forces of evil in the afterlife, but about liberation for the marginalized in this one?

Join us this Sunday, April 10, as we wrap up our Lenten series on humanizing spiritual practices by taking a closer look at Palm Sunday through the lens of justice and liberation…and discuss the parts we can all play in overturning the imperial triumphalism of our own time.

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin


Upcoming Holy Week Schedule:


Looking ahead…

What is the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection for a liberationist community? Join our gatherings through the Easter Season (May 1-29) as we discuss various atonement theories and how they fit into a theology of liberation.


Invest in our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage a new online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!

Lent for Spiritual Exiles 2022

Lent has traditionally been marked as a season when we reflect on our mortality during the weeks leading up to the observation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

But after two full years of a global pandemic, domestic dis-ease in the US, and now an unprovoked war in Ukraine, we’ve all had enough of death and dying.

So this year the New Wineskins community is going to take a slight shift in focus for Lent. Rather than focusing on mortality, we’re going to focus together on our shared humanity.

We invite you to participate with us, whether you attend our weekly gatherings or connect through our community’s Facebook page, our Wineskins Workshops Facebook group, our Instagram feed, or here on our website.

Every week during Lent, we encourage you to engage in some sort of spiritual practice centered on what it means to be fully human. You can pick a new practice for each week, do one practice for the entire season, or pick and choose two or three over the course of the Lenten period from Ash Wednesday (March 3) through Palm Sunday (April 10).

Be as imaginative as you like! Some folks may choose to observe traditional practices like meditation, prayer, fasting, Bible study, etc., or something more creative like reflecting on items in nature, art, writing, or some combination of disciplines. You may wish to pick one or more social justice issues to learn more about and/or support each week. (See below for a list of possible practices or create your own!)

During our Sunday night gatherings, we’ll spend some time in small breakout groups to talk about our practices, what we’re enjoying and/or struggling with, and what meaning we’re finding in them.

One of our core values is a community is to be a people shaped by spiritual practices that inform the way we interact with the various spaces we occupy in the world and the people within those spaces. We hope this year’s Lenten practice will be one that strengthens your own spiritual experience and helps lead you to deep, authentic encounters with the world and Divine Presence.

Join us each Sunday during Lent in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub as we participate together in a Lent for Spiritual Exiles!

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin


NEW! Give now to support our community!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? New Wineskins has partnered with Affirm Fundraising to manage a new online giving platform to make it easy for you to support the work we do! Just click the link below to give. Recurring gifts support the community over the long-term…your assistance helps us grow and sustain the important work we’re doing together!


List of possible spiritual practices

If you need help coming up with an idea for your Lenten practices, here are some ideas. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it may help you find something you’re interested in or spark an idea for something else you might like to do.

  • Silent meditation
  • Assisted meditation (we highly recommend the daily email meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation and the Everyday Sanctuary and Pray As You Go apps.)
  • Daily prayers (Check out commonprayer.net and Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals)
  • Bible Study/Daily Devotionals (a number of online and app-based devotionals are available)
  • Fasting (including intermittent fasting for a set number of hours each day, fasting one or more das a week, or abstaining from something besides food for a set period of time)
  • Yoga
  • Contemplative exercise (prayer walking, focusing on a piece of imagery or music during exercise, etc.)
  • Social justice engagement
  • Environmental disciplines (recycling, reducing water/electrical use, walking or biking vs. driving, etc.)
  • Intentional silence/solitude
  • Iconography/studying holy images
  • Writing/journaling
  • Music
  • Time spent in nature (hiking, bird watching, sitting under a tree, etc.)
  • Sharing a meal with someone new

Image credit: Pascal Deloche / Godong on pond5.com