Laodicean Pastor Creates ‘Jesus + Beer’ Bible Study And They Meet In A Bar

"It's a thing," said Dault. He offered as proof a podcast called Homebrewed Christianity, recorded by "guys that brew their own beer and like to smoke cigars."
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“It’s a thing,” said Dault. He offered as proof a podcast called Homebrewed Christianity, recorded by “guys that brew their own beer and like to smoke cigars.”

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: All my life, both lost and saved, I have battled alcohol. Having been raised in a hard-drinking, German Irish family and having my first drink at age 11, there are some things so deeply ingrained that only death or the Rapture will remove them. But drinking is not a good thing, it never leads to good things, and it certainly has no place in the church or in the Body of Christ. Make no mistake, the Bible at no time condones habitual drinking because ultimately it will lead to drunkenness, which is a sin. If you’re a Christian who struggles with alcohol, let me encourage you to keep fighting and never quit. The Bible, speaking in any dispensation, calls us to soberness and holy living as much as it is within us to do so. Fight the good fight. 

The big screen at Bernie’s Tap Room in Waukesha flickers with a baseball game between Texas Christian University and Dallas Baptist. The players are nearly life-size.

But the action on-screen is lost to the 15 people seated at two long tables in front of the game. They are deep in conversation about Jesus, church and life, stopping occasionally for a sip from the pint glass at hand.

Jesus + Beer is in session.

In and near Milwaukee, some people are getting a little faith with their froth. Assemblages like Jesus + Beer are part of a national trend of groups combining Bible study with elbow-bending. Sometimes, it’s just easier to talk religion over a beer, one pastor said. It’s also an idea that goes back to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

Brandon Brown, pastor at Collective MKE church, said he started Jesus + Beer because “people have left traditional church structures but still want to talk about Jesus.”

And he liked the selection of brews at Bernie’s, 351 W. Main St.

“That’s the trajectory of my life,” said Brown, whose Bay View version of the monthly Jesus + Beer sessions meets May 17 at Tonic Tavern, 2335 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. “Beer’s actually a late addition. Jesus’ love was there from the beginning.”

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” Ephesians 5:18 (KJV)

J. Patrick Hornbeck, chair of the theology department at Fordham University in New York, says pubs represent a space of freedom that churches don’t always offer.

“It gives people permission to say a little more,” said Hornbeck, who says pubs offer something of a theological lubricant. “It’s something more of an equalizing force.”

Drinking beer and talking religion played a role in the Protestant Reformation, said Steve Jerbi, pastor at All Peoples Lutheran Church, 2600 N. 2nd St.

The Reformation was funded by brew that Martin Luther’s wife made, said Jerbi, who hosts a monthly meeting at the Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust St., where people of all faiths — and, as often as not, no faith — drink beer and talk religion.

“This week, we had a Reconstructionist Jew, a secular Muslim, a candidate for the ministry in the Baptist church, a lesbian and a middle-aged mom,” Jerbi said.

“Part of it is that I enjoy having a good conversation over a pint,” he said. Jerbi’s group has been meeting since the Public House opened five years ago.

David Dault, head of the nonprofit Chicago Sunday Evening Club, said the relationship between religion and alcohol can be chronicled through the Reformation. Look for which countries had beer as their main alcoholic beverage as opposed to wine: Catholics and wine vs. Protestants and beer.

As in Luther’s day, perhaps, “craft beer allows you to nerd out about the technicalities — about hops, about mash time. People that geek out about theology have a similar craft,” Dault said.

“There’s a certain technical pride in both creating something and playing with holy things, intoxicating substances. Things that are spiritual in both senses of the word.”

Dault points to a current “theology hipster subculture” in which groups of men with beards and pipes host hard-core discussions of orthodox theology.

“It’s a thing,” said Dault. He offered as proof a podcast called Homebrewed Christianity, recorded by “guys that brew their own beer and like to smoke cigars.”

Recent patrons at McBob’s, 4919 W. North Ave., might have seen Dan Quakkelaar and friends sharing a few beers. They were identifiable by Bibles crowding the table.

“It does sometimes get looks — a bunch of guys with their Bibles out, drinking beer,” Quakkelaar said.

Christopher Boucher doesn’t go to church. He doesn’t read the Bible. But the 26-year-old global product manager is a regular at Jesus + Beer.

“In traditional religious settings, you need to be formal. You need to know all the sayings that go with all the different parts of the service,” Boucher said. “You might feel obligated by the collection plate.”

The night’s discussion is never written in stone, and tangents are welcome, Boucher said. As a result, he said, “not only do people listen, they respond.”

Caroline Moan, 53, sits at the same table as Boucher. She followed Brandon Brown from his former church, Elmbrook, to his Jesus + Beer group.

“Some people think Christians are not supposed to drink,” Moan said. “Brandon is not afraid to go beyond what the establishment thinks in a very respectful way.

“He wants people to understand there is a role and that it’s OK to bring alcohol into a Christian’s life. I think that’s part of it,” she said. “The venue is purposeful.” source

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” Habakkuk 2:15 (KJV)

 

NTEB is run by end times author and editor-in-chief Geoffrey Grider. Geoffrey runs a successful web design company, and is a full-time minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to running NOW THE END BEGINS, he has a dynamic street preaching outreach and tract ministry team in Saint Augustine, FL.
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