Oct. 9 Gathering: Good Chaos

Christian religion for most of its history has been marked by an attempt to impose order on apparent chaos. To move life from unpredictability to complete predictability.

But a close look at the Gospels reveals that Jesus wasn’t like that. In fact, the deeper we go, the more we see that Jesus himself was an agent of chaos within the ordered systems of First Century Judaism and the Roman Empire.

So what does that mean for us as people in the 21st Century attempting to follow the Way? Are we called to impose and enforce order, or are we called to disrupt systems and structures whose predictable patterns result in exploitation and marginalization?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll complete our two-part series engaging with the work of Ilia Delio on the intersections of faith, theology, and modern scientific principals. Our conversation will center around how by injecting chaos into a fixed system, Jesus invites us into new patterns of behavior that create continual and radical newness.

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 9, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub Powered By Zoom as we unpack Jesus as an agent of chaos and the implications for faith communities committed to justice and liberation.

Click here to preview this week’s video, “Radical Newness.”

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


Community Sabbath Oct. 16: No gathering

Once every 3 months or so we take a break from our weekly gatherings to provide space for rest and renewal. It’s one of the spiritual practices that are part of the rhythm of our community. We’ll take Sunday, Oct. 16 off for our quarterly Community Sabbath and reconvene for our regular Sunday night gatherings on Oct. 23.


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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Oct. 2 Gathering: The Myth of Individuality

No question about it…21st Century America is undeniably the most hyper individualistic society in human history. We live in a culture where the so-called rights of an individual are deemed more important than the common good, and where exploitation of others is seen as the necessary cost of economic and social progress.

But what if individuality is all an illusion? More pointedly, what if it’s nothing but delusion?

And what does quantum physics have to do with it all?

For the next two weeks at New Wineskins, we’ll interact with the work of Ilia Delio, Franciscan Sister, physicist, and founder of the Center for Christogenesis, in a deep dive into how the sciences of quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and unitive theory are revealing to us the deep reality that we really are all one with each other, the cosmos, and—ultimately—the Divine.

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 2, in. our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub Powered By Zoom  for the first of two segments where we’ll discuss how understanding our place in a unified universe helps inform our works of justice and liberation.

Click here to preview this week’s video, “God is One.”

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


*PLEASE NOTE: Our quarterly community sabbath is coming up on Oct. 16.


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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Sept. 25 Gathering: Crossing over to love

What do we do about forgiveness when harm hits close to home? When it’s our family member or close friend who’s been victimized? When every cell in our body cries out for revenge against someone who’s done the unforgivable?

What do we do when the trite platitudes of the church—the ones that say God won’t give you more than you can handle or that our trials only make us stronger—show themselves to be wildly inadequate to handle the anger we experience when someone we love has suffered unspeakable violence?

Can we forgive when forgiveness takes that kind of effort? Should we even be expected to?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll wrap up our Fall Kickoff Series on Forgiveness as the Root of Liberation with a powerful video reflection from pastor, author, and Bread of Life founder Rudy Rasums about a time when he had to choose in a moment between forgiveness and revenge, and how the experience changed the trajectory of his life.

Please join us this Sunday, Sept. 25, in the New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub Powered By Zoom as we discuss what it takes to see forgiveness as an act of resistance that leads to liberation.

Click here to preview Rudy Rasmus’ video, ”Crossing Over to Love”

6:00pm EDT: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EDT: 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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Sept. 18 Gathering: The Antidote

Let’s be honest. For most of us, forgiveness rarely comes naturally.

Out instinct is almost always for retribution. Revenge.

Our default setting is to use whatever power we have to control those we perceive to have wronged us. To enforce accountability on our own terms. Even to the point of violence.

Sometimes, that even applies to our inability to forgive ourselves. And maybe that’s part of why forgiveness can be so hard.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll continue our Fall Kickoff Series on Forgiveness as the Root of Liberation by considering what Nadia Bolz-Weber calls the “chosen powerlessness” of forgiveness. We’ll also revisit a bit of last week’s conversation about extending forgiveness as the key to experiencing it by discussing Sr. Melinda Roper’s statement about taking forgiveness out of the context of authority.

Click here to preview Natia Bolz-Weber’s video, “The Antidote”
Click here to preview Sr. Roper’s remarks on Living Forgiveness

6:00pm EDT: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EDT: 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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Sept. 11 Gathering: Living Forgiveness

Is receiving forgiveness contingent upon giving it?

In at least two places in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus seems to imply that in order to be forgiven, one must first forgive others. The first is within the epilogue to what we call the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6, in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount:

“If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.”

Matthew 6:14-15, CEB

The second comes at the end of Matthew 18 at the end of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant:

“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 18:35, CEB

So is Jesus saying we can’t be forgiven if we don’t forgive others first? Is there a quid pro quo for divine forgiveness? Is forgiveness conditional?

Or is there something deeper happening in these texts? Something that has less to do with transactional religion than with transformational faith?

What if what Jesus is really saying is that if you don’t forgive others, you’ll never know how to experience it for yourself?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll continue our Fall Kickoff Series on Forgiveness as the Root of Liberation with a video reflection on the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and a brief commentary from Sr. Melinda Roper on Living Forgiveness

Click here to preview the Matthew 18 reflection
Click here to preview Sr. Roper’s remarks on Living Forgiveness

6:00pm EDT: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EDT: 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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Sept. 4 Gathering: Forgiveness and Inclusivity

What is forgiveness and why do we need it?

Despite much of Christianity’s hyper-individualistic focus on forgiveness as a cosmic get-out-of-jail-free card, there’s much more to the biblical narrative than manipulative atonement theories.

According to Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation, two-thirds of Jesus’ teaching is about forgiveness…and of that, a large portion of those teachings has to do with inclusivity.

In fact, Fr. Richard insists, our greatest need may be to forgive reality itself.

Join us this Sunday, Sept. 4, as we launch our 2022 Fall Kickoff Series on Forgiveness as the Root of Liberation with a conversation about Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness and inclusivity. We’ll view a short video segment* of Fr. Richard’s views on forgiveness from Jesus’ perspective and discuss how forgiveness starts with our need to forgive the world itself for being imperfect.

*Click here to watch this week’s video

6:00pm EDT: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EDT: 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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Fall kickoff series: forgiveness as the root of liberation

Let’s face it. Forgiveness is hard.

Someone does harm to us or someone we love. Our neighbors’ political views cause us anxiety. A trusted relative or clergy person violates our confidence. Long-beloved church members turn their backs on us in our times of deepest struggle.

How are we supposed to forgive that kind of hurt? The church seems to have plenty of platitudes but few actual solutions.

And yet, there’s something about forgiveness that we know instinctively can lead us to freedom. So why is it so difficult?

During the next few weeks, we’ll peel back the platitudes and explore the ways that forgiveness is at the root of the gospel precisely because it’s at the root of liberation. We’ll talk about forgiveness not just as a way of dealing with interpersonal conflicts, but as the “narrow road” into the Beloved Community.

Join us Sundays in September in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub for our 2022 fall kickoff series on forgiveness as the root of liberation as we engage with video content* featuring Richard Rohr, Melinda Roper, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and Rudy Rasums to lead us into conversations about how forgiveness at its deepest levels changes us and changes the world.

*Each week’s featured video will be available from the Wednesday prior to our gathering through the Monday following. Watch our weekly posts or subscribe to our newsletter for video links.

Weekly schedule:

Sept. 4: Forgiveness and Inclusivity with Fr. Richard Rohr (preview video here)

Sept. 11: “Living Forgiveness” with Sr. Melinda Roper (video preview available Sept. 7)

Sept. 18: “The Antidote” with Nadia Bolz-Weber (video preview available Sept. 14)

Sept. 25: “Crossing Over to Love” with Rudy Rasums (video preview available Sept. 21)

6:00pm EDT: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EDT: 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? Our online giving platform makes 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!


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Aug. 28 Gathering: Pulling All Things Together in Love

”If we could let God’s power in us be linked to God’s purposes, we could experience the fulfillment of God’s promises.”

Dr. James Forbes

For the past couple of months our community has been taking a deep dive into the divine intention for connectedness. We’ve talked about everything from Holon theory to worship practices, and from vulnerability to how music and art can be catalysts for community.

This week we’ll wrap up our summer series on Community & Connectedness with a deep and powerful reflection from Dr. James Forbes on God as “ultimate relationality” and how our communities can reflect the love that is the divine power, purpose, and promise.

Join us this Sunday, Aug. 28, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub as we discuss Dr. Forbes’ video, “Pulling All Things Together in Love” and how we all—individually and collectively—can become agents of the Beloved Community.

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


New Online Giving Platform Now Available!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? We now have our own BRAND 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!


Featured image by Banksy, Bethlehem, Palestinian West Bank (photo by Cindy Briggs-Biondi)

Aug. 21. Gathering: God doesn’t need worship

What images come to mind when you hear the word “worship?”

Is it stained glass, organ music, elaborate vestments, and rich wooden pews and altars? An auditorium with sound and light systems, massive video screens, a rock band, and tightly choreographed production?

Is it a quiet chapel with simple amenities, calming music, and candlelight?

Is it a wooded glade painted with dappled sunlight, the fragrance of green trees and wildflowers, silent except for the song of the wind in the trees and a babbling creek working its way down a mountainside?

Whatever forms our worship takes, our hope is that in some way or another we encounter the Divine. But does the Divine require us to worship? Or, to echo the words of Catholic theologian, priest, and author James Alison, does even God need our worship?

And if God doesn’t need our worship, why do we do it? Why has worship become the most central, most visible aspect of the life of our churches?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll continue our  summer series on Community & Connectedness by discussing the difference between authentic worship and emotional manipulation, and how worship is not something we do for God, but with God.

Our discussion-starter video this week from The Work of the People features Fr. Alison unpacking the ways group dynamics in worship can actually lead people further from the Divine than nearer, and how Jesus offers himself through the Eucharist in a non-controlling, non-coercive, fully cooperative, thoroughly relational invitation into life and freedom.

Join us This Sunday, Aug. 21, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub for a conversation about worship, why we do it, and how our worship experiences make meaning in our lives.

*(Click here and enter your email address to preview this week’s video)

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


New Online Giving Platform Now Available!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? We now have our own BRAND 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!


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Aug. 14 Gathering: Hurt or Heal?

Have you or someone you know ever been part of a faith community that uses shame to control or manipulate its members?

Have you ever turned to the church for healing and been hurt instead?

Does being hurt by a faith community make you more or less likely to turn to spirituality for the healing you need?

These are some of the questions we’ll tackle this week at New Wineskins as we continue our summer series on Community & Connectedness with a conversation about how churches and faith communities can choose to intentionally be places of healing for the spiritually traumatized.

This week’s video from The Work of the People features author, speaker, and activist Brené Brown talking about ways that faith communities and leaders make that choice and the consequences of control & manipulation narratives not just on their congregants, but society as a whole.

Join us This Sunday, Aug. 14, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub to talk about how we can continue to build a community where healing spiritual trauma is among our primary core values.

*(Click here and enter your email address to preview this week’s video)

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


New Online Giving Platform Now Available!

Want to invest in our community for Spiritual Exiles and our work to create and support online micro-communities focused on justice and liberation? We now have our own BRAND 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!

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