Things have gotten really busy for me since the last time I wrote anything here. As predicted, my new calling is pretty time consuming, especially this week considering that this Sunday is ward conference. I am looking forward to having this week over and done so that we can get things back to normal, or, at the very least, figure out what normal is.
Tina has been a great support. She is very understanding about how I have these meetings that will go on often for undetermined lengths of time. The biggest help has been having an agenda and while the meeting is happening, determining if an item really needs discussing. I have found that some things on the agenda can be handled with a phone call or an email. I wonder what it was like for bishops who did not have cell phones, email, and other modern technologies which make communication easier.
Here is more or less the spiritual thought I shared in last night's bishopric meeting. I like reading the New Testament. I also enjoy reading books, essays, and articles that help explain things by putting them into their proper context. That's what N.T. Wright does in his "For Everyone" commentary of the New Testament. In a very engaging and readable way, Wright provides background into the political, religious, and cultural issues of Jesus which helps to flesh things out one would not normally get from the text if they were to read it straight through. One example of this the putting new wine into new bottles found in the Gospel of Luke.
Wright makes something clear very clear. Jesus was not a reformer. His message had little, if anything, to with reforming the current norms and culture of his time or anytime. He was not a tinkering politician who believed that a new program, initiative, or appropriation of funds for an already existing program would fix Israel. What was needed was a complete and utter turning of things upside down. He was going to make a new Covenant, not only with Israel, but with the whole world and establish a new kingdom.
As I think about the wine skins and the new wine spoken of Luke and its' context within the New Covenant/New Kingdom framework, it tells me something. It tells me that reform is not the answer and, in fact, will make things worse. Reform is not a sustainable solution.
Individually this means that each person needs changing to contain the new wine God will put in them. Everyone needs to be reborn such that they may be vessels to contain the spirit God will put in them.
This might sound esoteric to some, but this message really speaks to me.
As David McCollough would say, "That's my post."