Hey Bar Church.
It is I, the lost intern, I return this next week. I have been MIA from BarChurch for the past 5 weeks. If you did not notice this, it is okay, I only resent you slightly. I have been all over the world. And by that, I mean I was in Springfield MO for two weeks, then for three weeks I was on an island off of the coast of Honduras, called Utila. It is often referred to as the backpacker island, for a lot of young backpackers reside there amongst the islanders. One backpacker tried to sell me a necklace with a “unicorn tear rock” on it and I said, “I thought unicorns were extinct?” Anyways, I digress.
Apart from weird run ins with backpackers, I experienced and learned so much on this trip. I went with a group from my school, Greenville College. 32 of us stayed on the island for three weeks, immersing ourselves in the culture, learning how to scuba dive, and taking classes that covered Christian Unity. Immersing ourselves in the culture meant that we would learn to barter, eat the island’s famous dishes, go to some of the local churches, explore the island, get to know the islanders, learn about the history of Utila, and learn how to properly apply sunscreen, as we were much closer to the equator than most of us on the trip were used to. I, myself, got a terrible sunburn, which then blistered because I got a sunburn on top of a sunburn. So I am now an advocate for SPF 100. Apply it vigorously. Unless you want your face to look as if you took a curling iron and rested it on your cheekbones for a couple minutes.
But besides my terrible sunburn, backpackers trying to convince me unicorns were still roaming around, and certain foods wreaking havoc on my poor innocent stomach, I rather enjoyed my time spent on the beautiful island of Utila. I enjoyed my class the most, because we only met 5 times, and our assignments were intriguing and very doable. For example, we read a book that focused on reading the Bible through hispanic eyes, and we were to do a “dislocated exegesis” daily. Which basically means we were to read the Bible in places we normally wouldn’t and reflect on how it influenced our reading. Places we normally wouldn’t read the Bible included a grocery store, a very bumpy taxi-like vehicle called a tuk tuk, and of course, a bar.
When discussing the various places we had read the new testament in one of our class meetings, I brought up the reading I did in a bar. One student in the class had an intriguing idea, what if we brought the church to the people? What if we met them where they are at, even if that is in a bar? What if we had church in a bar? And I said something along the lines of, “It’s interesting that you mention that, because it just so happens that I work for a church that is located in a bar.”
A dislocated church. In the New Testament, you will often find that Jesus is often found in places that were very unexpected of him. He does this because Jesus has a bit of a track record for meeting people where they are at. And, after all, where two or more gather in his name, He is there with them. The building doesn’t make a place holy, Christ does. That is something that was reinforced for me on this trip, and made me even more excited for this new chapter in Bar Church’s life. We have an incredible opportunity to reach the people of St. Louis, and help them to know God, and become deeply committed followers of Christ. Let’s make it happen, BarChurch, we’ve been blessed with this time of renewal and opportunity.
Intern Sarah Stone