An article in The Globe & Mail explored the increasing prevalence of regular theological discussions and Christian study groups taking place in pubs and bars in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Organizers of these religious-themed pub nights say the gatherings increase their reach and “blur the line between a secular space and a sacred space.” One organizer, Pastor Ahren Summach of Ottawa Valley Vineyard Church, admits it’s a questionable venue, but he says he gains “more authentic discussion, more honest questions, and a little more honest sharing.” The meetings tend to involve an hour-long informal discussion of a faith-related topic, especially topics relating to questions from the unchurched, such as “Is Jesus God?” and “Why would a good God allow suffering?” Some groups even experience an evangelistic aspect as bar patrons spontaneously join the discussion from time to time. Some invitees have declined to attend because they felt uncomfortable in the venue; others were concerned about how their churches would respond to their attendance. Jeff Graham, an executive with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, said even Catholic groups have begun initiating these bar-Bible studies, but he maintains that drinking too much alcohol is a “serious matter” and that “mixing religious discussion and alcohol can happen, but mixing religious discussion and drunkenness cannot.”
What do you think of a pub or a bar as a venue for religious discussion? What would your church think of this idea?