I'm in Bowling Green, Ohio. Today is my son's wedding day. It will be good.
This morning Anita and I had some time so we decided to find a church. Never an easy task in a strange town. A chance encounter at Panera's yesterday led us to a worship at Grumpy Dave's Saloon. A college ministry called H2O holds a weekly service at Grumpy Dave's every Sunday morning.
There's a small stage. A bad sound system. There were about 50 of us on this Memorial Day weekend. The music was Crowderish, the congregation quite young, the band was enthusiastic, and God was honored.
I loved the setting. Beer brand posters adorned the walls, there were a couple of pool tables, and a big bar. It had that nice and grungy kind of feel. I was the second oldest by my reckoning and Anita was probably the only person 40'ish in the place.
The pastor was an ex-college football player. Big guy. Tatoos. Earring. Still looked like he could play. He loves God. Good message.
He was talking about being salt and light. Great topic. When he talked about us being 'salt' he wondered aloud as to whether or not Christians are viewed as taking the flavor out of life or putting it into life. He thought that we're supposed to put the 'pizazz' into the culture. He wasn't sure that's what was really happening. He thought too many Christians looked like they had signed up for a lobotomy and then sit in their churches looking freakin' depressed.
I laughed when he said it. It wasn't that I thought it was funny. OK, it was funny. More importantly I thought it had the edginess of truth to it. If I didn't laugh I might have cried. Didn't want to do that.
Lest you think he was bashing churches that don't meet in a bar let me assure you that wasn't the case at all. He was a really respectful kind of guy. I don't think you'd want to mess with him but he wasn't lobbing hand grenades in the direction of other churches.
He was making a good point. He really believes that we're called to be salt and light in a world that's struggling to make sense of itself. He was challenging his young crowd not to fall into bad habits. He told the story of talking to a buddy about Christ. The friend told him to back off, that he was a Christian. This pastor said, "Dude, I couldn't tell." A week later his friend came back to talk. He was troubled. It bothered him that his life didn't speak the message of Jesus.
It bothers me when my life doesn't speak the message of Jesus. What about you?
I realize that if I don't watch myself I can take on the habits and attitudes of those I hang out with. Because I hang out with lots of Christian types I find myself caring more about what happens in our little 'club' than I do about what's happening on a Saturday night at a place like Grumpy Dave's. I start to speak Christianese. And after awhile I realize that, if I'm not careful, the 'pizazz' of my life with Jesus is in danger of getting sucked right out of me. Not good.
It was a good morning in Bowling Green, Ohio. Worship at Grumpy Dave's. It got me thinking.
Do something. Go up to someone you hang out with, work with, go to school with, socialize with, coach with ...and ask him/her. "Is there anything about me that makes me different from anyone else you know?" Listen carefully. See if they mention anything of 'Jesus' who wants you to be salt and light. If they don't start to tremble a little bit. Maybe you've gotten yourself that lobotomy the Grumpy Dave pastor talked about. Instead of being salt and light you're just tasteless and dim.
Think about it.