Church, bigotry, beer, hatred. Wow! I can’t say that I ever thought I would be seeing these words all in the same article; specially an article about a church. I have again been shown that anything is possible.
So, the article I am referencing here introduces us to The Greater Purpose Community Church in Santa Cruz, California. This church apparently left their church building and moved into a restaurant with a bar.
Now seriously, “church and beer” is not a shocking proposition in these times. Should it be? I can’t say that it would appeal to me, personally, but obviously does so to others. Should we find this disturbing? I don’t think so.
This story mentioned another church also serving up beer. Admitted, I was somewhat more accepting of the two intertwining as I read on and learned that these churches apparently have a “two-drink-limit.” The pastor of the second church even joked about how his sermons get better with the second drink.
As I read this article, my mind envisioned the traditional, fundamental, churchgoer cringing in utter disbelief. In my mind, this churchgoer held a bible in one and and shook a pointing-finger with the other.
Briefly meditating on this story brought several more thoughts to mind. The first is as I mentioned above. The next was of realizing, unfortunately, that today would anyone really care one way or the other.
Within the realm of a real conversation on the subject, I would think there would be a variety of differing opinions on the subject of mixing beer with a sermon. While perhaps there are many today, who would surmise that a couple of beers will be the undoing of us, I see just as many would disagree.
I have never drank beer on a regular basis. I can recall one six-pack of beer lasting me nearly a year. I don’t believe neither beer or wine will bring about the end of civilization. Be certain however, I am not referring here to excesses of beer and wine. While the bible tells us that most everyone consumed wine and beer to some extent, we are clearly told not to drink in excess, (Eph 5:18, 1 Peter 4:3, Rom 13:13, Prov 20:10).
Now, what had gotten my engines running about the article was when I read the line explaining how the pastor of this church has hopes of creating “a place of safety for those who have justifiably left the church, due to bigotry and hate-filled theology.” However, I must refrain from commenting on this because the statement was not further explained in any way and I will not jump to concluding what this pastor is referring to precisely.
Now this paragraph, found in his church’s “About” section on their Facebook page and website explains that they “will embrace you regardless of your faith, personal life choices, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political preference, social status, or economic standing.”
My initial thought on reading this statement was, why. Why is it necessary for any church to print this; include this on their website or Facebook Page? I sometimes forget that there are churches that actively shun people due to those things mentioned; that is utterly sad. It is truly reprehensible that any church would actively shun and even turn away people for such reasons.
Our work as preachers and ministers of the Christian gospel is to lead people to Christ. Our work is meant to introduce (or reintroduce) people to Jesus, as the Christ. It is not our job to change or attempt to change a person in such profound ways. That it the work of the Holy Spirit of God.
As preachers and ministers we are to ensure that everyone is welcomed and given the opportunity to meet God through Christ; to walk with them, and to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, in giving us the Great Commission in Mathew did not say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, EXCEPT FOR…”