This article appeared in Statesville Free News and can be found in it's original form HERE. Big thanks to Amy Fuhrman for joining us that evening.
For several months, the “Water into Wine” discussion group has been popping up in my newsfeed on Facebook.
Billed as "a group that seeks to have honest conversation about faith in the 21st century” — and held at one of my favorite Statesville haunts, Wine Maestro — the notifications caught my interest.
And so, on Monday evening, I found myself in a diverse group of faiths and ages, pondering the week’s topic — does God intervene in our daily lives? — over a round of beer and wine.
The “Water into Wine” discussions are a collaboration between Carrilea Potter; Associate Pastor at Broad Street United Methodist; Wes Pitts, Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian; and Justin Cox, Student Minister at First Baptist. Each gathering, the group focuses on a different topic of discussion, and the group leads the direction the conversation takes.
At Monday’s meeting there were people from different faith and life backgrounds — all participating in a robust and personal discussion about if and how God acts in the lives of humans.
Participants gathered in a circle and shared their thoughts and experiences, from moments where they felt the direct hand of God in their lives — an accident avoided, for example — to moments that made them question their faith and God's role in it, like mass genocide or natural disasters.
The conversation veered in many directions, and it became clear just how personal each individual’s connection with their faith was, as people shared how they made sense of one of the most difficult questions: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Many of the participants had different views, from the concept that God intervenes in many life moments to the thought that God equips people with the tools to deal with life’s troubles and allows them to do so ... or not.
In the end — as with so many questions in life — no one answer was reached. But the group did agree on the idea that humans are all connected in ways not immediately clear, and that God works through people of faith to make things happen.
One member of the discussion summed up his beliefs using the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to make his point.
“God didn’t intervene there, he didn’t take him off the cross and save him … I think he does the same in our lives,” he said.
Another participant voiced his acceptance that some answers may not become clear in this lifetime: “I’ll let you know when I get to the other side,” he said.
The next "Water into Wine" discussion will be held on Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Wine Maestro in Statesville. Participants are asked to bring canned goods to donate to Iredell Christian Ministries. The topic will be "Faith and Justice."