Where God Has Been, And Where God is Leading me

Where this past year has taken me:

I know in the past few months it seems I've made kind of a quick shift in my apprenticeship from all things Common Cupboard to Winemaking. This may have been a surprise to you; however, looking back at the past year and looking forward to my future in the wine biz, I don't think it was as fast of a transition as it appeared. In fact, I think I was slowly being prepared for part of what Mike and I envision for the vineyard's mission. (Tip of the hat to you God....) 

Over the past year having to do things like develop my Food and Theology course, and think through the importance of food. I've grown both in my biblical literacy and my understanding of biblical theology (biblical theology shows the unfolding of God's revelation as it progressed through history.) Basically I've grown to love a good story, and want to share God's story with others.....

I've kind of developed into a Bible nerd. Hell, I'd even say it's become my biggest passion. Just in advance: If you and I ever get talking about theology, forgive me... I tend to get little preachy/ranty. 

But I didn't used to be this way, so what changed? 

I think I have Anglicanism to thank for that. It's made me realize that "matter matters." I would of never known how physical Christianity is without it. For example, the importance of sacrament in Anglican worship. The classic definition of sacrament is: "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." In simpler terms Sacrament is an encounter with God and his people through something material. So take Communion for example. Through faith, God's presence and grace are imparted through the bread and the wine. How? It's a mystery - deal with it. 

Knowing this has changed the way I view the world. I often wonder what else God makes himself known through, and how I can live more "sacramentally." It's broadened the ways I interact with God, and helps me know how He interacts with me. I'm saying all this because all this theology has lead to a more of passion for matter, IE: Wine. I think it's made me a good fit for This new Vineyard project. And FYI, Mike Agrees:

"Last summer, when Jared asked me to be the “farm liaison” for the Common Cupboard, I had no idea this was the beginning of both a friendship and working relationship fueled by food and theology. Fast forward one year: I quit my cushy government job, launched a farm winery business, planted a 2-acre vineyard and have Jared working on the farm with me as my first employee, actually, “apprentice” is more accurate at this point. Lots can change in a year when you follow God’s leading and take a big leap of faith!

A bit of back-story: I grew up in the Okanagan around endless fruit orchards and back yard gardening. The wine industry hadn’t taken off yet in the Valley and wine was nowhere to be seen in my upbringing. I come from a long line of teetotalers (my Grandma was actually in the Temperance Union) so wine, or any alcoholic beverage, was absent from the dinner table. I was never much of a partier in my teens and pretty much followed my parents’ non-drinking policy until I graduated from my non-drinking Christian university. Ironically, I discovered wine at an art event in my last week of college. It was more of a cultural epiphany than anything. Red wine being served alongside some nice cheese while conversing with friends at a film screening… it was amazing! And it had nothing to do with getting drunk.

This was the start of a long journey discovering my passion for wine, food and farming. All the while, rebuilding a healthier theology around the abundance and beauty that God has given us through His Creation. I realized now that I grew up in a Christian sub-culture that was skeptical of the physical world and valued the spiritual world above all. My years at The Table have been transformational in helping me see how Christ’s incarnation brings meaning and value to both the material and spiritual aspects of our existence. I don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying a beautiful meal at a restaurant or spending hours in the “Wine Bunker,” aka my basement, crafting the next vintage to share with friends and family. I now see this as another form of worship. Through the creative acts of making wine, tending vines or making a meal I’m directly communing with God by both perpetuating and celebrating His Creation.

Taking the leap into farming and winemaking full time has become a form of ministry for me. The opportunity to do this work has only come through the blessings of a few key relationships God has brought into my life in recent years. These people have provided mentorship, land and financial support and ultimately made the dream of a farm and winery materialize far sooner than I could have ever imagined. Just as I’ve been blessed by these relationships, I see the farm winery business as a conduit for God’s blessings to flow into the world, whether literally into a glass of wine or through the relationships built with neighbours, customers, employees or the land itself.

This brings us back to Jared. I’ve started to refer to him as my CTO (Chief Theology Officer) or The Vineyard Priest. It’s been amazing to have someone working alongside me in the vineyard and cellar who deeply understands the concept of living out our lives sacramentally. That matter matters. The theological foundation Jared has received through his apprenticeship at the Table is so important to the work we are doing on the farm: Christ revealed in common life. I’m honoured and blessed to have Jared working with me at the farm as part of his apprenticeship. As he works more and more with his hands this coming year, may he experience God’s grace through grapes!"

~Mike Rathjen


Financial Update and Need

I became a Table Apprentice because I felt I had a calling to risk. This was unnatural for me. For example, before I started this journey even the word risk gave me a bit of anxiety. But just over a year ago I had to make a decision, and the option that seemed scarier also felt like the right one in my gut. So I decided to go follow it, and I became and Urban Missionary at The Table. Boy, am I glad that I did. The amount of personal growth over the last year has been staggering. Maybe you've noticed? let me know if you have, It's nice to get feedback. 

One of the major ways which I think I have grown is that I've become less selfish/self absorbed. This is due to a number of factors, but here's just a few:

1) Many of the people I've spent time with during the past year have been risk takers who have taught/shown me (knowingly or unknowingly) how to trust God. It's made me more aware of my need for others and for God. 

2) Being constantly vulnerable. This takes multiple forms in the apprenticeship. for example: speaking in front of people with little experience, leading/facilitating small groups with little experience, figuring out how to manage your time and self motivate with little or no experience. Reaching out to people you barely know and asking to spend time with them. I could go on and on, but basically everything I've done so far and can expect to do in the future is something new in which I can't rely primarily on myself or my skills. It's taught me to be humble. And it's taught me to have a healthy neediness for others and for God to help me. 

3) Having to fundraise has taught me a lot about my standing with God. Being financially dependant on others has been one big metaphor for learning to become spiritually dependant on God. God's grace has been communicated to me in this way.

So what does this have to do with my finances? I think God was calling me to risk a over a year ago because he knew was a leader(even when I didn't), and he wants me to lead in a particular way at my church in Victoria. But I needed time to develop some skills, and I needed the space for the Gospel to take hold of me. One of my favourite preachers/teachers is Tim Keller. I listen to him speak a lot. He once said "You know that The Gospel has taken hold of you when you go out into the world not looking to see "who if I hang out with will make me feel good about myself?" Oh no, you go out there and you say "who just needs someone to hang out with them? You go out there not looking to be affirmed but to be affirming." This one quote has stuck with me for about 6 months now. It's the thing that got the wheels turning in my soul. It confronted my Idols and began to change something that was extremely high on my list of values....me.  It's the reason that I started to consider moving out on my own, because I wanted to have the ability and the space to bless people. 

Well, As it turns out...I've found a place to live. I move in at the Beginning of July. (thank you for your prayers.) Not only is it a good place for some one on one mentoring and small group hosting, but it's also in the same building that fellow table apprentice Eric Guthrie is moving into as well. We are already plotting and scheming ministry and mission opportunities together for our new place, which is in a neighbourhood of Victoria not substantially populated by other Tablers. Loads of potential!

But with following where I believe God is calling me comes with some added financial cost. My Rent is increasing, So I need some help. Here is what I need:

I need to raise $2600 in order to cover these new living costs, either through one time gifts or monthly support, or upping your monthly support. Would you consider partnering with me again, as I continue to go where I sense God’s Spirit is leading, In order for me to live out The Table's desire to see Christ revealed in common life?

If you'd need more information reguarding donations or have any other questions at all, please feel free to contact me at 250-508-7372 or at jared@tablechurch.ca

Thank you for helping to supply my needs this past year. You've personally had a hand in my development as a person and child of God (that's pretty cool!). I deeply appreciate your support, and thank you for all your generosity. 

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.



Things you can pray for:

-Please pray for this new living situation. That God would be tangibly present there as Eric and I seek to bless others in this new way.

-Please pray that my financial needs will be met.