Every Monday night, Uncle Charlie’s bar in Cheyenne, Wyo., hosts “Bibles and Beer,” a discussion that routinely pulls in people of all faiths — and an atheist.
As many as 45 people have shown up, some toting Bibles. Some might have a drink; others stick to water. Some talk; others mostly listen. There are only a few ground rules: Avoid debate and stick to the text to be discussed that week.
“There really is not a focus on drinking,” insists the Rev. Rodger McDaniel, a Presbyterian minister who organized the weekly gathering more than a year ago. “But at the same time, it is a much more relaxed atmosphere than in a church basement. If I put this on in my church, I don’t think we would have five or six people.”
Across the country, faith is becoming bar talk. The trend combines the traditional religious charge to go where the people are with the reality that a lot of them are in bars. Organizers include those from mainline churches, those building churches and bar owners and brewers. Some are trying to push the model nationally, taking an ageless yearning for meaning and purpose to places where people often go to try to wash their worries away.
“It is good to bring the word to wherever God is, and God is everywhere, and people are everywhere, too,” says Joe Beene, owner of the Drunk Monkey Tavern in the Tulsa suburb of Glenpool, Okla. Last year, Beene began live streaming Sunday morning services from Tulsa’s Celebration Church into his bar. “The people who come in here on Sunday mornings are people who want to hear the word but won’t go to church.”More at the link. The last thing Jesus told his apostles to do before he returned to the Father was, "Go!" And the apostles went - over almost all of the Roman-ruled world at the time. They did not hang a sign outside the Upper Room saying, "Holy Spirit comes here weekly, join us."
I suppose that is at the heart (and in my heart) of why I invite you to come to Detour July 15 - nothing more than for those who are willing, to help them find a spiritual home and a family of believers who will help them grow in Christlikeness without trying first to turn them into Methodists or Baptists or Catholics or Church of Christ or what have you.
Nothing more than that, but certainly nothing less.