Nearly every Tuesday I go the Old Spot in downtown Salem – a comfortable British styled pub with down to earth staff. I just hang out to see who will pop in for a pint or two and little talk about whatever subjects come up for the night. Last night, we discussed humor, sorrow, anger and other emotional responses and when they crossed lines of inappropriateness. After everyone else left, I turned to my writing and re-writing of the Burning Religion book project. Then Sam and Scott wandered in about 11:00pm. I was really happy to see them, and we sat around told jokes, and shot the bull (I wanna know we always shoot the Bull’s feces and leave cow’s pile alone – is this really just a guy thing?)
Sam and Scott are former Catholic/former Catholic cool dudes, who don’t go to church, but don’t have a chip on their shoulder about church and God either. They are fun, and funny, and honest. The kind of people church ought to be filled with, because it might keep our ears to the ground of life.
As the evening ended, and we stood out in the rain all preparing to walk home, the best conversation of the evening happened in a few short Bully minutes. I went something like this:
Scott: You know, I’ll bet Jesus nut-shotted a couple of His disciples.
Sam: (with a slightly uncomfortable look on his face, and looking at me) Well, I don’t know about that…but maybe He did whatever the equivalent was in those days. He was probably a pretty fun guy.
Me: Yeah, I could totally see Him kicking Peter between the legs.
Scott: Yeah! like, “Take that for denying me three times.”
Me: Well yeah, I guess there was a reason He renamed him Peter.
Dear Pastors, If you don’t hang out with some cool dudes like Scott and Sam, you gotta get a life outside the four walls of the staid church environment. I may not be into the “cage-fighter Jesus,” but I am totally into hanging with real people telling silly jokes, and in between those spaces talking about the deep things of real life. It keeps my ear to the ground of culture and life. This is one of the places we learn to navigate the impossible space between the church and the world.