A news article recently drew attention to the phenomenon of people gathering to drink beer and sing hymns. And then my pastor mentioned “Pub Theology” in his sermon on Sunday, which is apparently a popular phenomenon not just here in Indianapolis but in many other places. This is their logo:
It sounds more like the informal gatherings at the SBL annual meeting than like most churches I’ve been to – and that isn’t a bad thing, from my perspective. But there are drawbacks. It is well known that theologizing while intoxicated has led some people to engage in dangerous exegesis.
But seriously, it certainly does seem as though it would make sense to explore not only this but other ways of rethinking the format of church. Having people sit facing one direction and be spoken to, with some responses of sitting/standing/kneeling and singing, may have made sense in times past. But now it seems to make more sense to have the actual venue reflect a focus on fellowship and discussion. And so whether beer is served or not, having the band play, people sing along or not (words still on a screen) as they see fit, discuss, eat, drink, study, and fellowship, in a venue that looks like a place where it is natural to do those things, seems like something that more congregations ought to explore.
Have any readers of this blog been to a venue where church was more like a pub, or a coffee bar, or a dining room, and if so, what was your experience like?
On this subject, see also my post “The Future of Churches.”