Musings from Mountains and Valleys-Feb 9th
Maybe it's time to let the old ways die Maybe it's time to let the old ways die It takes a lot to change a man Hell, it takes a lot to try Maybe it's time to let the old ways die
Jason Isbell (from remake of A Star is Born)
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’
Jesus (Luke 5)
Our modern obsession with the new and innovative was not a value that was shared in antiquity. Ideas and practices firmly rooted in the past and tested by time were generally seen as superior. Tradition was the foundation of faith, law, and society. I think we have much to learn from that attitude. A wine aged to its optimum development is generally always to be preferred. But even the best vintages will eventually turn to vinegar.
Every generation of Christians need to discern what are the “timeless” non-negotiable aspects of the faith verses the things that are “timely” and therefore in constant need of reassessment and renewal. Both my work as a historian and my experience as a pastor reveal that the church frequently holds on to things that don’t ultimately matter, while neglecting the core beliefs and practices of authentic Christianity. Jesus reminds us there is a danger in trying to contain what God is doing in our day in cultural frameworks that are relics of a past that no longer exists. The gospel story is also a cautionary tale of what happens when you try to force Jesus to conform to your expectations and agenda rather than listening, following, and loving him on God’s terms.
“It takes a lot to change a soul, it takes a lot to try,” but it needs to happen anyway.