The Bar Belle

Bar Belle goes to church

So I went to church on Sunday. It was a hippie, laid-back kind of church, so don’t think I’m gonna get all preachy on you. I’m pretty sure there’s already a prominent bar stool in hell with my name on it, but I went for my mother, who lives 200 miles away. I was invited by friends, who assured me this was not your typical Jesus-loves-you-but-only-if-you-sit-still-behave-and-don’t-make-a-scene kind of church. It was entertaining, all right. But alas, it was still church.

After the small congregation was called together and a few songs were sung, the minister/dude commanded that we meet our neighbors and give peace. Trying to merely observe and be an elusive fly on the wall, my heart started pounding. Do I have to talk to strangers? Do I have to touch strangers? I don’t know anyone. What if they ask me to confess or break bread? What if they peer deep into my soul, see my sins of keg parties past and say, “Peace be with you. But Jesus? Yeah, he’s just not that into you”?

I mustered enough courage to stand, and immediately wrapped my arms around my friend, hoping she was the only human being I had to acknowledge. No such luck. I was pushed into the aisle, like salmon swimming upstream, trying to avoid awkward handshakes and exchanges. “Peace,” they kept saying as they smiled, filing by. “Peace.” I could handle “peace.” No name exchanges? No awkward “What school did you go to?” or “What do you do for a living?” Which got me thinking …

What if, in a bar, we would occasionally stop what we’re doing and proceed to meet everyone in the entire place? But maybe instead of “Peace,” we would say the name of our favorite drink … so if anyone was interested, they could buy you an offering, so to speak. Sounds like a plan. So would that count as going to church? Peace.


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