Mark 2:21

“No one ever sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if they do, the patch tears away from it – the new from the old – and a worse tear is made.


fashions change over time
once patched clothes
were warned against
lest your patch fail
and you stand revealed

in an age of prosperity
we now pre-patch clothes
and otherwise destroy them
as a sign of our disregard
for signs of privilege

torn clothes no longer
speak to us of repentance
they speak volumes though
prestige flaunting patches
in front of their necessity


This is not a continuation of the fasting conversation in the last couple of verses. If so we would be wrestling with how to fast from wine, even that reported to have begun as water.

Here we have more of the Christian community finding its privileged place. A distinction between old and new is part of the ancient tradition of conversion confirmation.

When we have invested the energy to leap to another quantum level it is important for us to justify that expenditure of power by attributing power to our new state and denigrating anything and everything about our old way of seeing life. Without this either-or why did we change?

This is probably an old Aramaic Almanac aphorism summarizing in an image what is being articulated in the midst of every schism. Our (with an emphasis on “our”) radical new understanding requires a privileged position and, if it can’t be in control, there can only be a conquering or a division from which we can battle their illegitimate, heretical, blasphemous wrongness.

As this is being written a schismatic rending of the old and new is being lived out in the life of The United Methodist Church over the issue of sexual orientation but under the guise of biblical interpretation. An interesting note: it is those who are bringing a new wine, an appreciation for the continuum of human identifier, who are the ones trying to hold the denomination together while those who would hold to prejudged older beliefs are bringing the schismatic action by setting up alternative structures and seeing an irreconcilable difference between themselves and those they have labeled as out-of-touch liberals and covenant breakers.

This issue will likely be clearer by the time this book is published.

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