You may have heard that this blog is moving to The Wineskins Network. If so, you might be wondering if that is true. The answer is “yes” and “no.” Let me explain, but first I need to explain some things before I can explain the upcoming changes.
I grew up a member of The American Restoration Movement. Over time, The Restoration Movement – which began as a unity movement in the church – splintered into three branches, Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and Disciples of Christ. I’m a child of churches of Christ. All of my life I have been and will be shaped by people who developed their faith within those churches.
When I was in college, and for much of my twenties, “Wineskins Magazine,” – which later became “New Wineskins Magazine” – was THE outlet for thoughtful, forward-thinking, may I dare even say, “progressive” conversation within churches of Christ. I loved it. Back in those days there was no Internet, no such things as blogging, and a monthly dose of fresh thinking from my preaching heroes like Max Lucado, Mike Cope, Rubel Shelley, Jack Reese and others kept my spirit afloat. One of my professors, André Resner wrote a little piece called “Christmas At Matthew’s House” which sparked my imagination and was the inspiration for my book “Scandalous: Lessons in Redemption From Unlikely Women.”
I loved “Wineskins”! It was fresh air to a young man struggling to figure out ministry and who God was. During those days, “Wineskins” was one of the few places I could turn to hear voices of women and other Christians outside my Christian tribe. It was there I read interviews with John Grisham and Tony Campolo. In short, the first iteration of Wineskins increased my theological vision in ways that still ripple through my soul. If you’d told the 25-year-old me I would one-day be a Featured Author for Wineskins, I would’ve assumed half the ministers in churches of Christ were dead!
But money is a reality of life and “Wineskins” didn’t have a ton of it. Long story short, the magazine had to be re-imagined as an online e-zine. Even that was before blogging and previous to the Internet becoming the go-to place for thought, reflection, news, and information. In recent days, my friend, Keith Brenton has served as the online curator of Wineskins, but his journey has been difficult of late and he, as he does, had thoughtfully and prayerfully handed Wineskins over to some young, energetic, creative ministers.
A few weeks ago, the good folks at Wineskins approached me about becoming a “Featured Author” for their new look, new approach website. Frankly, I was apprehensive at first. While I trusted the people backing the project, I felt that you and I have built a fun, open community at The Palmer Perspective and I didn’t want to lose it. Plus, many of you have little or no exposure to my faith tradition and we, together, talk about issues facing American Christianity, not just one tribe of American Christianity.
So, we struck a deal; a deal I’m sure they struck with several other Featured Authors. That’s where the “yes” and “no” answer comes in. Yes, I will be a Featured Author at Wineskins (I’ll let you know more about that in the coming days). They will post my articles and readers will be able to comment and connect over content on that website. Each post, though, will link right back here, so we can maintain our distinct voice and brand. But “no” I will not really be “moving.” If you read The Palmer Perspective via RSS, are a subscriber via e-mail, or just check in every now and then, you don’t have to do anything differently. The Palmer Perspective will be right here where you’ve come to expect it.
The upside is that many more readers will be exposed to our content and community. We are a community that engages and shares content about loving our LGBT neighbors, race and the church, the important and overlooked realm of spiritual formation, and other topics some bloggers wouldn’t touch. As a friend of mine said last week, “Sean is an equal-opportunity offender.” I take that as a great compliment. I hope that means I’m pressing us all to let God and the scriptures speak through our cultural, racial, political, and theological biases.
I don’t want to ever lose that.
You won’t lose or miss a thing in the move to Wineskins. Hopefully, our conversations will only be enhanced and made stronger. I know that’s what we all want.
Before you go, could you help us out? Wineskins needs some cash and we need it fast. This weekend is the 15th (pay day). Please make a donation to Wineskins to help get this endeavor off the ground. It doesn’t have to be much, every dollar helps. I’d greatly appreciate it.