Beer and Hymns anyone?

Ok, I’m afraid I might step on some toes with this one but I’ll do my best to not make them bleed.

If you’ve know me for more than half a second you know I’m a singer. I play a little guitar but I would never call myself a musician. I’ll leave that calling to those way more patient and skilled than I. I love to write songs, sing songs, harmonize to songs, talk about singing. . . when I was a young girl if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have said a famous singer.

I’ve recently come upon an event that apparently is taking place surrounding some pretty big church’s across America. This event is called Beers and Hymns. The name changes from church group to church group but the intent is the same. Come out to a local beer selling establishment put a drink in one hand and a song sheet in the other and reminisce to the church gone by.  Sing “When we all get to heaven” and bring a friend.

Now, first let me say I have absolutely no issue with beer. There are some pretty amazing blends out there that my good friend Doug turned me on to years ago that I enjoy on occasion after a long hard day.  In fact my favorite is a good chocolate stout.  I also love hymns.  One of my favorites hymns has always been His Eye is on the Sparrow and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. These songs remind me of growing up at Church in the Barn where I used to watch my mother practice week after week as she sang with the quartet. I have such fond memories of those times.

So here’s my issue with these gatherings; what exactly are we trying to accomplish? What I mean is that many of the fliers for these events say invite a friend as if this is a way of outreach. I get the feeling that the intent behind many of these gatherings is that if I show my friend how cool church is they might come on Sundays. Does church have to be cool in order for us to invite people to join us? Does showing our friends how we sit around in a bar or drinking hole and sing songs about Jesus make us cool?

My other concern is that this type of event takes away reverence for holy things. No, hymns aren’t only to be sung in the house of God but I feel as though many church’s are demanding church to look more and more like the world; to get the world’s approval. It’s not an issue of where the songs are being sung its the manner in which they are being sung.Where is the holiness in this setting? Where is the connection to the church or to God?  We are trying to integrate the secular with the sanctified and this kind of thinking has led us to accepting the pressure from the world to change what Christianity is really about (it’s Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays etc.)

My hope is that before you partake in one of these fun nights out that you consider the statement it makes to the world around us. Does this help the cause of Christ or does it hinder it? You decide.

I’ll keep my beer and psalms separate.



2 thoughts on “Beer and Hymns anyone?

  1. I totally agree with you on keeping the holiness and reverence of hymns. I also have a problem with making church “cool” and secular and trying to make it look like everything else around us. One of the things I fell in love with about Orthodoxy was the rich holiness and other-worldliness. In our parish we might have beer or wine during a coffee hour potluck on a feast day after Liturgy, so it’s not the beer that I have a problem with. It just seems like the person would be trying to camouflage Christianity by singing in a bar.
    This was a great post!

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