The Drunk and the Hypocrite
by Jon Foreman
Switchfoot's Jon Foreman on what churches can learn from bars.
I’ve played music in churches and bars all my life. In many ways, these two gatherings are very similar. Both sets of “regulars” are looking for meaning, carrying out a ritual of sorts—hoping to find purpose, something that makes sense of the pain.
At first glance, it might seem the Church is a better place to look for hope than the bottom of a bottle. Every day, alcoholism and drug abuse destroy families, ruin careers and wreck communities. On the other hand, theological beliefs and misunderstandings have been blamed for divisions, divorces and wars around the world. The trouble with each institution lies within us. True, alcohol feeds a different fire than pietism, but neither a drunk nor a hypocrite look very good in the daylight.
We carry our problems into the church the same way we carry them into a bar—they just react differently in each location. Unfortunately, the sins that exist within the walls of the Church are harder to spot.
Pride, for example, can hide incredibly well in the religious community. I rarely hear the words “I don’t know” uttered at church. And yet the triune Creator of time and space will always be wrapped in mystery and holiness. Why not start in the seat of humility? Surely all of us have gotten a few things wrong in our attempts at Christianity.
Isn’t it pride that causes divisions among us? When we begin to slander other believers in the name of God, we know we’ve gotten off course…
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