Wine, blood, and Prosperity Gospel

There’s a part of me that wishes that Jesus’ transformation of my life was like one of those info-mercials.  I wish that there was some prayer that was as easy as an 800 number.  I wish that if I would get a bunch of stuff, I wish that if I order now, they’ll double my order, and rush it to me with some sort of other irrelevant bonus gift.

Of course the best parts of me don’t feel this way.  I work at being more mature than all that.   But it’s a temptation.  And I’m not alone.

There are people who believe that Jesus brings about an increase in our physical situations:  Wealth, or health, or stuff.

There are of course, many problems with this belief.  One is that it’s really an act of idolatry.  It’s taking our cultures shallow materialism and pretending that this is not only consistent with Jesus message, it’s going so far as if this is what Jesus actually said.

If somebody were of a rather knuckleheadish mind set, they might say, “Look, Jeff.  Jesus transformed the water into wine.  And you’ve been all focused on how this is a metaphor for what Jesus wants to do.  It’s a transformation outside of us.  Therefore, the transformation that Jesus promises is an external one.”

If somebody said that, I would tell them that they are of a rather knuckleheadish nature.  And then I would say that they aren’t looking at the bigger picture.

Because the wine is Jesus blood.  It comes from his inside.  And it’s meant to be taken into our insides.  It’s about inner transformation, not outer accumulation.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Wine, blood, and Prosperity Gospel”

  1. Hi Jeff, I’m not disagreeing; but I was wondering if maybe water stood for matter generally in the Biblical world; like how everything was created from the primal sea in Genesis 1. Then maybe wine, which is water that has gone through some processing, natural and unnatural, to have an uplifting effect on us, stands for the new creation, which we have a part in bringing about: I’m reminded of the “let us make humanity in our image” line, and wondering if it is addressed outside the narrative to those hearing the story.


  2. Welcome back, Enigman. You’ve found some interesting ways to express some ideas I’ve been trying to express. Sometimes, water does seem to stand for very ordinary reality.
    As for who God is adressing before humans are around, this is an interesting question. It seems that either it must be adressed to those outside the narrative, or it is a way to express the communion with the trinity.


  3. It does seem nowadays to indicate triunity, but I wonder, if that was what was meant, why it would have been in the old testament, where it more clearly indicated part of a conversation with others than the one God, presumably angels (and hence that the angels were involved in the act of creation, despite creation being clearly by the word of God)… that is, if it indicated triunity, would one not expect more indications of triunity (given that it was divinely inspired)? And even if it was a somewhat obscure but divinely inspired indication of triunity, it would be surprising that the grammar wasn’t presumed to be a mistake and corrected during the period of the old testament. (On the other hand, I’ve not heard of my interpretation anywhere else, which indicates that it is probably false:)


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