Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lessons from the Bar

Yes, you read that title correctly. We went to a bar last night. A piano bar, in fact. And we had a blast! Why were we there? We were invited to Tricia's friend's graduation party taking place at the "Howl at the Moon" in Baltimore (the feature of this place is that there are two pianos dueling and live music that everyone sings along to). This is a childhood friend of Tricia's that has come onto our "turf" only in the last few years. She comes to our house and our church, but we have not been to her turf yet, so we went last night!

As you may imagine, it is not every Saturday night that I am out at a bar. In fact, this may be second or third time in my entire life (and the first time since being married). So, this was quite new for me. I have been wanting to go to one for awhile, so I am glad that I was invited. I did a lot of watching and thinking. I am always trying to learn...for the church...for the kingdom.

Okay, so where am I headed with this? Since leaving there last night and throughout the day today, I have been reflecting on what I learned from the experience. I contemplated whether to blog it and decided that I would (wifey endorsed it). I am not dumb, I know it will make some of the more spiritual Christians mad, but who knows...it may spark some good conversations. Here goes...things I am thinking about:
  1. People want to have fun after working all week!! They have a LOT of fun at the bar. We need to have more fun at church. Fun factor needs to increase! We are so stinkin' serious so stinkin' often. Why?
  2. Music breaks down walls. People love to sing together especially when they all know the songs and they dig up memories from different seasons of their lives. Secular music (whatever that is) is familiar music! People know it and they sing it. And plenty of it is morally neutral and totally harmless. We need to stop being afraid of it at church. Not advocating for trash music here, but I am advocating for good music! What's wrong with a little Billy Joel?
  3. No alcohol is needed for a great evening! We did not need to get drunk to have fun. On the contrary, the lady barfing and stumbling on the sidewalk when we left was miserable. We on the other hand, were not!
  4. Not every Christian can handle this. Maybe you would be too tempted or lack self control if you were in this environment. If so, don't go! You need to know you!
  5. People love community. They get it in full at the bar. Affection, attention, compliments, sharing stories and laughter! Could not help but notice that happening all around me last night.
  6. Tricia and I left after a great time with a spring in our step and romance in the air. Even got me a little smooch in the back of the cab. Something about a night out together seemed to spark us. Not sure how to explain it any more than that, and I am sure that you don't want me to. ;-)
  7. This was key: my presence (people we were with knew I was a Pastor/Christian) made people less likely to get carried away (brought balance) and more likely to see that just maybe they COULD be a Christian, after all. Not to mention, they were honored that we would come.
The whole experience made me think of Jesus. He was good at being where the people were. Even the "sinners". I think he may have been on to something. He knew some of the basics of how to win them. And it was not by distance and finger pointing.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd say that was a win! UCJ

Anonymous said...

That was an awesome blog.....thank you for posting what most Christians are "afraid" of talking about.

Rachel Compton

Mommyof3gifts said...

thank you for your transparency.. and wisdom. So glad you guys were able to have fun! This was very well written.. I think it is so important to see what others enjoy and what draws them there so that we as the church and Christians can reach them.. as well as nurture appropriately those who are in the church. and Yes! we should bring more of that into the church!

Tricia said...

I had a lot of fun that night too. I really do enjoy hanging with my friend and her mom. We had a great time listening to the music!!!

Thanks sweetie for being real and talking about being like Christ!!!

Barbara Chandler said...

I had a similar experience last night. Not at a bar but a small town coffee shop in Downingtown. My group from Church and I went there for a bible study and were there for about two to three hours. The people who were there before us were still there after we left. They used a lot of foul language, some had a gothic style, some had rainbow hair, some Mohawks. I was a little uncomfortable at first and questioned my leaders’ choice of setting. However, when I looked past all that, I saw what you saw, Noah, people who laughed (a LOT), enjoyed each other, and had something in common. Surprisingly, what kind of coffee or Latte you chose was just a start of a conversation that turned into a friendship. Nevertheless, our Young adult group, who was there for a bible study was, DEAD. We actually started to get annoyed with each other. Not in a mean way but just frustrated, I don’t even know why. It was a pretty insightful experience.

Pastor Noah said...

Appreciate all of your thoughts so far. Got some emails too. Look forward to more who may weigh in. Especially those that disagree or see things differently. That often helps us learn even more!!

jcoats56 said...

I'll drink to that!

Anonymous said...

You and Tricia where in my neck of the woods and you all couldn't call us? (Neck rolling, hands on hips).

Jaye and I once had a similar talk about this in reference to a sports bar. Great post. Love you and Tricia.

Cat