Getting to It

Brad Cullen

The following e-mail is from a woman who lives in the Philippines …which is important because she sees clearly that she does not have to understand, intellectually, some of the crazy seeming things I write.

Neither do I need to understand them intellectually, but please look at what she does with what I say …and then please ask: “What is her frame of reference?”

Usually, my old missionary-magazine-editing instincts take over and I change and correct e-mail sentence structure, even punctuation and other little “nit-picky” things so that they conform to certain “commercial” writing standards that I follow; whether those standards are universally correct is not the point, the point is she gets it. BUT …because she is highly intelligent and articulate, her need to understand with her intellect sometimes obviously gets in her way …she admits this. ME TOO!

Exact quote: —

there are so many things you say that I feel sometimes are sooooooooo beyond me! 🙂 but my spirit sorts of leap joyfully whenever which is why I know you speak truth and that your words resonates “spirit to spirit”. They are Words that sticks hard to my mind and consciousness.
Whenever I get to the point of not understanding on a literal sense ,that is when I speak “soon I will understand..” and those times do come (my aha! moments!) and I just got one this morning (it is Sunday morning now here, as I write this email) : the words I HAVE and WANT NOTHINGS ELSE. (In the course of miracles there is a part that says : “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God.The main difference between us AS YET is that I HAVE NOTHING ELSE. This leaves me in a state of true holiness, which is only a potential in you.”
and now I understand…
Thank you.

[End quote]

What now?

I just saw a picture of a wineskin – and I’m actually getting a “green light” to discuss this here. I have to confess that I have to get rid of a lot of resistance to even mentioning it …HELP!

We all get locked in our own creations sometimes, break the resistance to open the door, cry for help.

I’m laughing, literally, if you’ve ever heard of holy laughter, this is it! I’m being cleaned up! The reason I was resisting it has to do with a word study which I was in the middle of in 1989 – how can I remember the year? I even remember the month, December, I was getting ready to leave Alaska and had been asked by a small group to share with them.

A little history is in order here. I had taken a post as a (yuck) co-pastor in a church in Alaska. The small group referenced above came as a result of some Wednesday night activity where I was exploring with perhaps seventy adults what I, at that time, thought was the “only scriptural basis for having church.”

Several members of that Wednesday night group began to openly question why, since I was one of the leaders of the church, did I not oppose some of the blatantly traditional stuff that went on that had no basis in the Bible. This slowly worked its way into a full-blown “church split” …and I had been the catalyst! Not a comfortable realization.

Don, the co-pastor (we did not refer to ourselves as such, in fact we had changed the bulletin and the sign out front to read “co-custodians” as I had made that a condition of accepting the position) agreed totally, but we both realized there was no way to bring the church abruptly out of its quagmire of stifling traditions.

They asked Brad but he was already out the back door.

One day, two of the young men from the Wednesday night group invited me to lunch …that certainly sounded pleasant enough, but I was in for a shock. They told me that there were about thirty of them who were leaving the church to start their own fellowship. That part wasn’t a surprise.

That they rejected my urging to not leave was no surprise either. What was a surprise was that they said all thirty had voted to invite me to come help them get a fellowship started that was consistent with what I had been teaching.

I had already made plans to leave Alaska and resume my work as a self-described, self-supporting missionary in the Pacific. I had already made plans to resume a business relationship and my partner was picking me up at the destination airport with my car and had already taken care of the living situation for my family.

Don already knew I was leaving and had already used up all his persuasion on me not to leave, “because we were such a good team,” and had actually finally become supportive – I told him about the new “wrinkle” and he just shrugged his shoulders and certainly didn’t blame me …a long story, not for here. Don and I were old and good friends and remained so.

Okay, back to the word-study, you guessed it …wineskins. Three of the Gospels give slightly varying presentations of Jesus’ parable about putting patches of new material on old clothing and new wine into old wineskins – old wineskins would burst and the new wine would get dumped onto the ground and a patch made of new material won’t survive the first washing.

The more research I did, the more I realized how the parable had been (and still is) misapplied. So, what am I supposed to learn here and what am I supposed to share?

Don't waste the fruit, get a new wineskin, everyday.

Finally I get it, for me, and that it is okay to share: We are created to receive and create “new wine” daily, but if we become hardened in our old ways which are different for each of us, we cannot contain the new wine – it will simply seep out and not affect us.

No condemnation or judgment here, just an admonition to me (and okay to share it) that it takes an alertness and a commitment to be renewed, moment by moment, by the SOURCE and that we must bring every thought captive to the SOURCE – by whatever other title or name – which is part of the new wine.

It is the discipline of bringing EVERY thought captive that keeps this wineskin pliant and flexible and able to contain “new wine” (and must not be confused with fads or movements which at best are only the shadow of reality of I AM in you and me).

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