J.R. Briggs

Attempting to behold the miracle long enough without falling asleep

  • Costco Milk Containers and the Kingdom of God

    March 7, 2012


    Several months ago, we bought milk at Costco. Big mistake. The jugs had a cool new design to them, shaped more like a square-ish cylinder than a standard milk jug shape. After we finished the milk jug, we promised never to buy milk from Costco again because 75% of the milk from the container landed on the kitchen counter — and not in the glass or in the cereal bowl like its supposed to! It’s the only time I’ve ever called a consumer product hotline and complained. Walmart/Costco will give you its reasons for the change: innovative design, lower production costs and more efficiency for stacking, shipping and storing in their stores – and yet it defeated the entire purpose of transporting milk easily from the container to the cereal bowl. Design fail.

    Costco chose style, efficiency and saving money over function and purpose – and thus, defeated the purpose and missed the point of milk containers. Much like many of our churches in North America. Costco milk containers may be the modern-day equivalent to the new wine/new wineskin paradigm Jesus spoke about. It’s not about the container that matters most to Jesus. It’s about the milk. 

    Posted in: Uncategorized

Recent Comments

  • carol longenecker hiestand said...


    at least you got a blot post and a good one at that, over those confounded costco milk jugs.

    03/7/12 5:06 PM | Comment Link

  • Richard Standley said...


    Great comment!
    Love the analogy.
    Style over substance.
    You said it all….
    If only we could get it into our hearts and minds that Jesus doesn’t require us to “do” anything, but to “be” his hands and feet.
    Marketing Jesus like a fast food franchise becomes simply another voice in this international Babylon of countless voices all vying for our attention.
    “Buy me! Buy Me!”
    I hope you don’t mind, but I’m putting a link from my blogsite to yours…..this is solid gold
    thank you!

    03/8/12 9:15 PM | Comment Link

  • Mark Steinacher said...


    I’ve been thinking about this since you first posted it, J.R. There is something rattling around in the back of my brain that just will not come together completely. So, here’s a shot anyway. o.0

    The North American evangelical passion for abstinence has led, to my mind, to a misunderstanding of what Jesus means by “new wine” and “old wine”. With the exception of Beaujolais, which is consumed at an astonishingly young age, most wine is aged. Red wine, in particular, not only can be aged for a long time, but often is better when aged. Indeed, one of the eschatological promises delivered by Isaiah (25:6) is for a banquet including the “finest of wines” (NIV). The King James (although I hate to admit it), has an edge here, in terms of letting us in on what is going on. It has “wine on the lees”; wine being aged in bulk with grape matter still in the container. It has to do with extracting as much tannin as possible, as well as developing the flavour.

    So, my conundrum has to do with what Jesus actually meant by “new wine in new wineskins”. I find it hard to hold to the popular charismatic interpretation that the older churches are so dead that God’s blessing can only come through new movements. That ignores, or misunderstands through lack of exposure, the reality that ‘old wine’ is preferable (even for Isaiah).

    So that gets back to your basic point, that the container is not the issue, but the contents. So, what should it mean for us to live in expectation of the “finest of wines” from the eschatological banquet? Are we actually supposed to dig deeper into our collective past, our history as God’s elect and called people, the “old wine”.

    I’m not speaking dogmatically on this. I’m hoping some folk will offer some thoughtful responses on this. The standard interpretation, as you said, is probably “off”. Where do we go in following the Bible’s lead on this?

    03/29/12 12:19 AM | Comment Link

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