Jesus and the Naked Grape

Well a couple of months ago my wife Davina asked me to stop in at the market to pick up a few items for a spaghetti squash dish that she makes. (It’s quite good) On the list of  items for the recipe was a bottle of dry white wine. So as I left my last visit for the day I stopped by one of the many grocers  near our home. Working my way down the list I got the crushed red tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and the dry white wine. Well truth is I did not care if it was a dry wine or not because I found a brand of white wine called The Naked Grape. “Awesome!” I thought, “This is a two-for, I get the wine and I get to come in the house and see my wife and daughters’ reaction to the label on this bottle.” I just knew it would be fun and went on my merry way to the checkout. Well I thought my way would be merry but I had forgotten that I was wearing a T-shirt designed by my friend Lance McKinnon that says JESUS. I really had not even thought about the T-shirt until I got in the speedy check-out lane. While in the line I was just in front of a Caucasian woman in her 50’s and just behind her was an elderly African-American woman in one of those slick little shopping go-karts. As I placed the wine on the conveyor the lady just behind me stated quite loudly, “Oh, I see, a Jesus T-shirt AND a bottle of wine.” I did not know what to do except smile sheepishly when all of the sudden a graveled voice from the scooter-cart said, “Well the Bible doesn’t say drinking is a sin but judging people is!” You could have heard a pin drop. I laughed nervously, took my receipt and goods, and left as fast as I could. On the drive home a slew of questions came to mind. If Jesus had invited me to the wedding at Cana would I have been too embarrassed to go knowing that he might associate himself with wine? Why was I so embarrassed by that situation? What was the big deal about having my Jesus T-shirt on and buying a bottle of wine -and a bottle of Naked Grape to boot? Why has the Christian church that I love and have pledged my life to serve shamed us into thinking we can’t be free? Have we been duped by religiosity so much that we cannot enjoy the world and all the good things the Blessed Trinity has given us? We were not created for religion. You see, the Father, Son, and Spirit created us to share in Their life of love and fellowship. The Good Shepherd said in John 10:10 that he came so we might have life and have it fully! When Jesus said ‘life’ he could have chosen a few different words in the language of the day. He could have said the word that means biological life, he could have used the word for soul, but instead he chose the word that means ‘spiritual’ life. Jesus was referring to the life he has shared with His Father in the communion of the Holy Spirit from all eternity. It is into the very Triune life of God that we have been included. This is huge! Jesus has set us free for freedom’s sake! (Gal. 5:1) And Jesus has given us spaghetti squash, wives, husbands, children, homes, football, tennis, swimming, summer camp, music and dancing, and a whole host of blessings we could never list in one blog and yes Jesus has even given us wine! The religion under which we suffer from time to time only hurts because it runs against the grain of our inclusion in the Triune life of love, freedom, sharing, giving, laughter, joy, other-centeredness, dancing, and every other good thing we can imagine and a million more we can’t even dream. It was Irenaeus who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I believe he was right! It’s past 8 PM now and I must go -there is a dram of Single Malt calling my name! Cheers!

~ Bill Winn

2 comments so far

  1. Jeannine on

    Great post, Bill! A few months ago, I posted as my Facebook status that I was working on my personal Happiness Project, and listed a few of my resolutions – things like finding more time to read, embracing my introversion by being more selective with social commitments and therefore spending more time alone, making more time for my passions and so on. (As the mother to small children, these have been challenging!) Predictably, a Christian jumped on demanding to know where was God in all this (in essence, how could I design a happiness project without mentioning God, and things like prayer, sacrifice and Bible study – and who knows, maybe extended fasting and self-flagellation as well, lol))??

    I replied simply that I believed God was in every component of my happiness project. But it made me marvel at how much of Christianity has come to this underlying feeling that it’s really not ok to be happy or to feel good even in undeniably healthy ways – and the defining of *acceptable* happiness in such a narrow, prescribed way.

    So grateful to know that what you say above is true!

  2. Gillian Valentine on

    Cheers, Bill!!


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