Friday, August 24, 2012

Bars, Jesus and Beer 2


I turned 21 at the beginning of the summer, and I have learned a wealth of information from sitting and working in the bars.  I’ve also learned the power of a beer.  First, I shall speak of the almighty beer.

My first six-pack of age, I split with my older cousin.  We had always been close, but never anything more than surface level for the most part. 

As soon as we popped the first top, all vulnerability sprung loose and the tears began to flow.  She spoke from her heart and for the first time in her life, she realized that I wasn’t just a Christian, I was a human, and I loved people and their problems.  She realized that we were more alike than we thought, and that mistakes mean nothing in God’s eyes.

It doesn’t always work with liquor, but something about beer connects people.  It says, “Hey, there is no judgment here.  We’re just two people drinking beer.  Everything we say is one hundred percent accepted and connected.” 

That’s the power of beer.

It never fails.  Every single time I have a beer with someone, I learn a little bit about their deepest fears and greatest hopes.  Many times I don’t even have to mention Jesus before they start pouring out their beliefs and desires for the Lord.  They tell me the gifts they have that they don’t know how to use, and how their mother cut them deep right after Sunday morning church.

I think there is something magical underneath that old metal top.  It’s like the Holy Spirit fills the gap at the top of every bottle, just to ensure genuine honest conversation.  Quite honestly, I think they should put a warning label on each bottle.  Or maybe even use it as an advertising campaign. 

Want to really get to know your friends, try a crisp, refreshing bottle of Bud Light.  Guaranteed to bring spiritual revelation and human connections every time!

Then try putting this powerful little Jesus Juice bottle in a BAR!

Bars are what churches are supposed to be.  They are full of people who know they are broken.  They are full of people who are searching and hungry, not perfect.  Everyone is vulnerable and ready to be comforted.  
When you walk into a bar, you feel safe...in a weird way.  You feel loved by everyone inside.  As you pass through the doorway, people everywhere turn to see who you are.  They look at you, smile, nod their head in approval, and sometimes even holler out.  Then you get to the back where your friends are… 

“HEEEYYYY Buudddyyyyy!!!  WHAT’S UPPPPP???” They yell out with big fat grins and huge plans for you.  Then your best friend throws his arm around your neck and pulls you up a seat.  He tells you to wait right there while he buys you a fresh beer (on his tab of course.) 

While you are waiting for him, the other three guys at the table introduce themselves and instantly let you in on the running joke of the night.  They tell you how to play along and assume you are going to be their best buddy for the whole night, if not longer.

No one ever feels judged in bars.  No one ever feels judged with beer.  Put the two and you have the most awesome, vulnerable mission field ever heard of!

Story after story after story people pour out when they don’t feel judged.  I hear grown men say they wish they could be better fathers.  I hear women say they wish their mother’s understood.  Coworkers admit their deepest fears and everyone spills their opinion about the Jesus guy.

A lot of times when religion comes up, I hear hurt broken people.  They aren’t even angry at the church because they at least know they are sinners.  Yet the church people are angry because they don’t accept the fact that they too are sinners.  The openness sinners display towards everything, leaves room for a casual heart-felt conversation in the Spirit.

The bar and beer take away the judgment and stress of these conversations, while an understanding companion brings healing and love.  Tell me why this doesn’t happen more often in other places? ...especially church.

I always get the surprised face and excited comment, “You are so understanding for a Christian!  You don’t argue or judge.  That is so different.”

Tell me something people.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Again, I think Jesus would have been in a bar.

"..I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners."
Mark 2:17

(Please note, I'm not justifying drunkedness because that is obviously against the Bible's teachings, and I do have my views on drinking responsibily and biblically..this is just a post to share with you my perspective on bars vs. churches, and how the atmospheres of both should be flip-flopped.  Remember, this post is not labeled "to drink or not to drink."  That is not the topic here.)