You Can’t Make This Shit Up

9 April, 2009

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 120 proof Spirit . . . .

It must be really hard to start a new church.  There are a good number of goats out there (and goats are impossible to lead (kind of like cats)).  A new church needs sheep.  And let’s face it:  in any community, the number of sheep stays pretty steady.  In many, it is dropping.  Few, if any, non-believers (goats) are going to join the fold.  You might get some interdenominational transfers or converts from other religions, but your pool of sheep is limited.

So you have to have a hook to convince potential transferees.  I’ve seen gas cards offered up as a bribe for attending a church.  Many churches just use the old standby:  come to my church or be damned in hell forever by the one loving god yadda yadda yadda, blah, blah, blah.  In a field this saturated, you need a really strong advertising concept.  How about liquor? 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A fledging [sic] Arkansas church will see if distilled spirits can mix with the Holy Spirit this Easter weekend. A new Little Rock church called The River will hold both of its Easter services at The Rev Room, a bar and nightclub in the city’s River Market.

Pastor Shane Montgomery told KLRT-TV that it’s an effort to attract a new audience to his nondenominational ministry.

However, bar employees say it’s not yet clear if their liquor license will allow them to serve beer and booze during a Sunday morning service.

The church said it would also like to hold Mother’s Day and Father’s Day services at a bar.

Drinking on a Sunday morning.  Almost makes me want to go to Easter Sunday services (not really even close, but I’m going for effect, here).  And down South, there have always been those willing to imbibe in the early hours (I once got shot by a drunk around noon on a Sunday), so this might be a winning idea. 

The Catholics serve wine, but wine is rather effete.  Down in Little Rock, I suspect that beer and Jack Daniels are (within a certain subset of the population) the drink of choice.  Maybe they will gather some Catholics into the Bar Church.  Maybe on Father’s Day, they can round out the service with a NASCAR race?  And Mother’s Day?  Give her salted nuts as opposed to flowers.  Sure.  It’ll work.  Maybe have an absinthe day to mix a little wormwood with the gall.  Or hold a service in a stripper bar and let the church keep 10% of the stocking stuffers.

I spend part of my time here mocking religion.  I do not hate religion.  I detest some of what is done in the name of religion, but I don’t hate it.  I mock religion partly because it is so damn easy.  I mean really.  This one is like shooting fish in a barrel.



  1. Very strange, I’ve never heard of the ‘bar church’. Certainly a new approach to church marketing…

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  2. I do not hate religion. I detest some of what is done in the name of religion, but I don’t hate it.

    If it wasn’t because I’m almost sure you don’t live in that town, I would think you are just saying that to justify your trip to church for some free booze. 🙂

    I once went to a Christian dance where the music was praise and worship. Basically, after the service, they got rid of the chairs and started dancing.

  3. Lorena: So far, the only states I have never been to are: Alabama, Alaska, Hawai’i and Arkansas. So no, not only do I not live there, but I’ve never even been close. And if I want to visit a bar? Well, Northeast PA can be described as “More Bars in More Places.”

    I once went to a Christian rock concert because my girlfriend of the time wanted to go. I’d rather attend an Easter service at a bar.

  4. I could see a more cynical person making a drinking game out of the sermon. (One shot for each time he assumes something true with only the bible as verification.)

  5. Kate: Damnit! That would have been perfect. Why can’t I think of these? And, using your rule, they would be way over the legal limit before the sermon was at the halpway poing.

  6. Kate:
    The drinking game is brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

  7. I’m pretty sure they’ll start serving out champagne on silver platters in future church services. That’ll give the ushers something to do. And it would really put the service back into a church “service”.

  8. And in MO, they’re gonna have a cage fighting Easter.

  9. Incredible!

  10. Chappie: Kate wins. What she wins, I don’t know.

    Temaskian: Thanks for stopping by. I don’t think champagne would go over too well. Too French for real ‘Mercuns.

    Philly: Thanks. Now I have a picture in my mind of Jesus clubbing a Centurian over the head with a cross. Now I need to bleach my mind.

  11. There are no weapons in cage fighting. Jesus would have to get you in some sort of hold probably, and force you to tap out or maybe cut off blood flow to your brain long enough to force unconsciousness. From what I’ve seen of cage fighting, knockouts don’t happen to often.

    Now for the “service”, I just picture fighters posturing with a LL Cool J rip-off..

    You can call it a comeback
    He rose again…
    Don’t you dare doubt
    You betta pray
    ‘Cause sinners know they can’t rest
    They’ll all get sliced and diced
    Competition’s payin’ the price
    I’m gonna knock you out.
    Jesus said knock you out.
    I’m gonna knock you out.
    Jesus said knock you out.
    I’m gonna knock you out.
    Jesus said knock you out.
    I’m gonna knock you out.
    Jesus said knock you out.
    Don’t you call this no regular Easter
    Or I’m gonna kick your keister

  12. Sorry, Philly. I’m not a big one for any of the new fighting (or old pro wrestling). I take it that the voice over would be done with a stadium announcer panache? And who (or what) is an LL Cool J?

  13. You really are out in the wilderness, aren’t you?

  14. No. Just (culturally) far older than my years.

  15. You say it’s easy to mock, but if I’d known about this when I was 15, I might be the Pope today.

  16. Postman: But the Catlicks only drink wine. Very effete and French and all. Not a manly drink. When did you ever hear someone say, “My, but this Budweiser has a wonderful nose.” Southern bars (actually, bars anywhere in the states (excepting just a few)) are heavily into beer and hard liquor. You can’t become Pope by drinking Scotch (they are, after all, Calvinists). And a Calvinist Pope?

    Sorry. Mind wandering.

  17. Lets see if I get this straight…Go to church on Sunday and get loaded and then on Monday go to the bank and open a new account and get a new shotgun, hhmmmm sounds like biblebelt ‘merica ta me. You gotta love the ingenuity.

  18. Tau: Yeah. Ingenious. And scary. I wonder if Sweet Home Alabama is one of their hymns (TIA: I am a Skynyrd fan (though more the blues stuff than the souther rock)).

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