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:: Monday, May 05, 2003 ::

Raising [One At] The Bar

I saw an intriguing Relevant Magazine article over the weekend. "God at the Pub" by Jeff Conkin discusses how a group of Roman Catholic priests are bringing Jesus Christ to their local taverns.

I posted a brief comment thanking the author for the inspiration to actually go out and do what I've been talking about doing for a couple of years now. I have seen several comments respecting the "stumbling block" theology to which I would like to respond here.

We have to start with the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The incarnation alone will give the "stumbling block" theology its proper perspective. When God came to earth in Jesus Christ, the "holy" entered the "profane." Jesus lived amidst sin and among sinners his entire earthly life. The expectation of the day was that when something holy touched something impure, the holy thing was profaned (made "unclean") by the contact. "Righteous" people would not touch anything or anyone remotely unclean for fear of contamination.

But then the strangest thing happened: Instead of being profaned by his contact with the unholy people around him, Jesus began to make them holy. He touched people no one else would touch. He took righteousness to a place where no one had ever seen it before. And somehow, in doing that, he didn't come off looking like a stiff. Somehow I don't think that the tax collectors and "sinners" would have liked him nearly so much if he had sat at dinner with them looking embarassed and detached the entire time - embarassed by their bad jokes and detached from their lives.

But then an awful thing happened: The righteous, holy people (along with other un-righteous types) killed Jesus. His holiness and righteousness were overcome by the sin of the world and the sin in the world. Or were they?

Even death - the most poisonous and insidious aspect to people's sinfulness - could not destroy Jesus' holiness and righteousness. Yes, the world's sinfulness destroyed Jesus Christ. But the story didn't end there. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead - proving once and for all that holiness and righteousnes trump sin, evil, and death.

So when we go to a bar, we go in the strength of Christ. We enter a pub in his righteousness and holiness. We do not stand in our own strength.

Is going to a bar to do evangelism dangerous? Yes. Of course!!! Jesus' mission to earth was so dangerous that it got him killed. Why would ours be any different?

:: Matt 5/05/2003 03:25:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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