The Old Wine Is Good Enough

If certitude, predictability, and perfect order were so important, Jesus would have come in a time of digital recorders and cameras, and he would have at least written his ideas down somewhere–and more clearly! He would have described his task as the establishing of archives instead of a sprawling banquet of rich food and wine, as he consistently did. He said, “I have come that you might have life, and a very abundant life at that” (John 10:10). How did we ever get correct rational ideas confused with an abundant life? This happens perhaps to folks who are unwilling to let got of their attachment to their images of themselves, the world, and God. They will not let go of their attachments for a living relationship. “The old wine is good enough,” they say (Luke 5:39), and so they miss out on the great banquet that all the mystics, the prophets, and Jesus describe.

Surely God does not exist so that we can think correctly about Him — or Her. Amazingly and wonderfully, like all good parents, God desires instead the flourishing of what God created and what God loves — us ourselves. Ironically, we flourish more by learning from our mistakes and changing than by a straight course that teaches us nothing.

–Richard Rohr, The Naked Now


6 thoughts on “The Old Wine Is Good Enough

  1. Just read that recently, too. About halfway through The Naked Now and am loving it so far– though I feel like I’ll be ready to re-read it as soon as I’m finished. I love the freedom that comes from not being chained to certitude, even though it is quite the paradigm shift coming from an evangelical upbringing.

  2. That’s great. Thanks for reading and posting.

    You ever read any Wendell Berry? I’ve noticed that you read a ton of writhers that are both mystical and contemplative. Wendell Berry would be an amazing contrast to all that you read. Check him out if you have a chance.

    As a farmer, I love his perspective on farming. But his essay (also the title of a collection of his essays) “Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community” was excellent. It would be a great place to start.

  3. Hey Zach,

    “How did we ever get correct rational ideas confused with an abundant life?”

    Some of my favorite ideas on your blog are of this sort. I’d like to hear you speak more to this question of right thinking. Is there such a thing? Isn’t some right thinking necessary for a good and beautiful experience of God?

    It feels like your critiques of a right-belief-is-all-that-counts Christianity (which are normally spot on) diminish the cognitive side of life. Some may think you would hold a position that “right thinking” does not matter at all. I assume you think this is false (otherwise why try and persuade anyone of your position). I would love to hear you comment on this in the future:

    What is the proper and good role of the mind in our understanding, enjoyment, and engagement with God? What is a healthy way to conceive of our beliefs that does not make them irrelevant, but so too does not make them an idol? (No rush btw.)


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