Open Bars

Do you know who does church better than churches? Bars.

I come from a small town that definitely has the same amount of churches as bars, or the same amount of bars as churches. I grew up in a church where the social hall of the church was directly above, maybe even owned and operated by, a bar.

Similarly, the bars all have their denominations. You have the Hunky Club, for the Hungarians. The Romanian Club, for the Romanian’s, The SOI, for the Italians. The Saxon, for the Germans. The Polish Club, for the Polish. The VFW, for the Veterans of Foreign War. And of course your NonDenoms™️ are present as well. West End Cafe. The Keystone. The Shelby. The Moose Lodge. Hazel Manor.

The masses pile into their services. They take their seats at their respective pews. They greet one another. If there are membership dues, then it goes into the offering basket. They receive their sacraments of Whiskey and peanuts. And often times you can hear the faint hymns of George Strait, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams.

And in this time it’s what the bars do better than churches. It’s honesty.

I have vivid memories of being young and with my family in one of these cathedrals. You end up overhearing those life stories when it’s a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. They didn’t think you were listening. But I was. There was no child care readily available.

But these houses of worship and prayer delivered sermons on life and death. Studies of meaning and purpose. It was raw because it was real. It wasn’t polished with smoke machines, or lights, or cool backdrops. It was genuine people, listening to genuine concerns, all done with a gentle heart.

And to top it all off the brothers and sisters in Cuevo did more than just the “I’ll pray for you…”

They bought you another round. They visited with you for hours. They welcomed you no matter how you looked or smelled. They didn’t care how much money was in your bank account. They just invited you in. Loved on you with open arms and an open stool.

I hope we can plant more bars.

Oh, did I say bars?

I think you know what I mean.

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