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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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. ;-)
- 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.