Mixing beer and Bibles, missionaries fill the pubs
Outreach is occurring in some very unorthodox sanctuaries.
is a popular weekly event in Melbourne, Australia, aimed at “amateur theologians aged between 18 and 40 and any clergy who wish to enjoy a drink or two with anyone younger than the average parishioner.”
In Norfolk, Virginia, Holy Trinity Catholic Church regularly lists in the weekly bulletin “Theology on Tap” at a local bar and grill. There a regular crowd gathers to ponder Christianity over a glass of ale … or milk, whatever suits attendees, who often include local university students and sailors from the nearby base.
In New York City, Jay Bakker, son of disgraced televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, preaches in bars while sipping on iced tea since he’s been sober for 14 years after a tumultuous childhood in front of TV cameras.
In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Uncle Charlie’s Grill and Lounge hosts a weekly “Bibles and Beer” discussion that routinely attracts people of all faiths – and even an atheist, reports Kevin Moloney for USA TODAY. “As many as 45 people have shown up, some toting Bibles. Some might have a drink; others stick to water,” he reports. “Some talk; others mostly listen. There are only a few ground rules: Avoid debate and stick to the text to be discussed that week.”
The idea of Bibles and bars may be highly offensive to devout teetotalers and worrisome to recovering alcoholics. After all, in some circles, it’s not a matter of discussion whether the wine Jesus miraculously made from water at the famous Cana wedding was actually unfermented grape juice.
Southern Baptist spokesman Dr. Richard Land says he’s never tasted beer and doesn’t want to. “While the Bible may be subject to various interpretations concerning alcohol consumption (as well as the nature of the beverage consumed), Southern Baptists’ understanding of the issue has been exceedingly unambiguous,” the jovial Land wrote in a recent column, noting that the convention has regularly passed anti-alcohol resolutions as far back as 1886. “We often have been reminded of the potent question from Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps: ‘What Would Jesus Do?’”