What does an ironic Christian look like? "One of the chief characteristics of an ironic Christian," says Patrick Henry, "is an instinctive, abiding suspicion of no-loose-ends answers." An ironic Christian "inhabits a world that is more 'as if' than 'just like.'" Henry seeks to discern the "field marks" of God's grace embedded in life's paradoxes and unpredictability.
As the gusty winds of change blow unpredictably through the church, Jesus provides an intriguing sound bite in the Gospel lesson: “One puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Fresh wineskins, as faith communities experiment with alternative worship rituals. Fresh wineskins, as local congregations adopt new administrative structures.
When the congregation I serve initiated a prayer chain several years ago, its participants were amazed at the response: healing intercessions requested for all manner of illnesses and ailments—physical, emotional, spiritual, societal. The calls poured in from members and nonmembers alike.