ISSUES OF FAITH: New ideas merit new techniques

  • By Don Corson For Peninsula News
  • Friday, January 26, 2024 1:30am
  • Life

WHAT? NOW THEY have a Lutheran Deacon who’s a local winemaker, too, writing a faith column?

“They must be at the bottom of the proverbial barrel now,” you might be saying if you are a punster like me.

Well, yep, that’s me, student of things Biblical, and I do know a thing or two about barrels and winemaking after 32 vintages.

I’ve been fascinated for years with Biblical stories and metaphors about vineyards and winemaking. I especially like stories about wine at meals, be they a “last supper,” a wedding feast or just hanging out with friends wondering what matters in life. I’m hoping to share some of my serious and, sometimes, not-so-serious insights with you over the next months.

Today, I want to share Jesus’ metaphor about the inadvisability of putting “new wine” into old wine skins. The lesson is in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter Nine and, as any home winemaker will tell you, sealing up a container of not-quite-finished fermenting wine can have a very unwanted, even explosive, result. Yeast is still at work then, carbon dioxide gases are being formed and they have to find a way out or they will make one!

Unlike many of Jesus’ parables and metaphors, no one asked Him what this parable meant. The meaning was obvious. While theologians have a few nerdy thoughts only they can talk about, I think from a practical viewpoint the meaning is new ideas need new ways to get them done. Or, in another setting, when times change, doing the same thing in the old way needs to be rethought.

The lesson is a good one for this early time of the year when many of us take time to rethink our priorities. Jesus’ wineskins metaphor implicitly encourages each us to find new ways to love our neighbors as ourselves.

If you need help, invite Jesus over for a glass of wine, or if you like, a cool glass of water. He can make it into wine if He likes! Either way, He’s a good listener.


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Don Corson is an Ordained Deacon in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the winemaker for a local winery. He is also the minister for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Forks. His email is

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