Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ecclesiology and Hooters

After reading the title you may be expecting a play on words or you may be thoroughly convinced that I have lost my mind...if you weren't before now. But you should understand the title to be exactly what I mean to talk about today.

I love Buffalo Wings! I like the spice and I like the chicken. Until several months ago I firmly believed that Hooters had the best wings in town. Since I love wings and since I thought the best wings in town were at Hooters guess were I would go for a lunch once or twice per week? Right, Hooters. For what its worth, this isn't a fact that is a new revelation to my wife so erase any thoughts you may have of me sneaking off under the cover of darkness to indulge in one of my favorite lunches. In fact, Brook has often joined me for meals at Hooters...She really gets the fact that is revealed in a less than subtle way that is printed on the back of the shirts worn by the Hooters' Girls..."Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined".

So anyway, about 4 or 5 months ago I found another place in town that has bigger and better wings than Hooters and that effectively ended my lunches from Hooters. By the way, if you live in my area and wish to sample these little boned-pieces of love, affection and acceptance otherwise known as awesome buffalo can find them at On Tap. But anyway, this past Tuesday I headed toward On Tap, as the Lord intended, since Tuesday is "half off wings day" at On Tap. Unfortunately there was a wreck that prevented me from making it to On Tap so I had to turn around and find something else to do for lunch. My mouth was watering for wings so I was limited in my choices. So back to Hooters I go.

So I walk in Hooters and see a familiar face behind the bar. It is the same bartender/waitress that use to take my order. She sees me and says something like "long time, no see"...except cooler and I say hello. Her face instantly becomes serious and she says "Look!" Which seems to be a universal word when used in that way meaning, pay attention, I have to ask/tell you something. She continues, "I told my boyfriend what we talked about several times when you were in here and he didn't really think it was possible. I told him that the next time you came in I would ask you more about it and even see if we could come sometime." It was at this time that i remember having a remarkably deep conversation with her on several occasions about ecclesiology and what we were attempting to be about as a community of believers.

Like so many people, she nor her boyfriend feel welcome or at home in traditional churches but she really desires a faith community...some place where faith seems to intersect her life as well as the lives of those around her in a lasting, meaningful and relevant way. She went on to tell me that her boyfriend said he would like to try something like what we do because it sounded weird and different. I just smiled...understanding that anytime a community of faith in the Bible-belt is called weird or different it is likely a good thing. As a Hooter's Girl I imagine that she has plenty of people ask for her number so i wasn't about to go down that I turned the tables on her, I mean , why stop being weird and different now? I gave her my number and told her we would love to fellowship with her and her boyfriend any time that they are ready to hangout with us. I told her the only rule we have is that we love and we insist that people belong...way before or maybe if they never believe. She smiled...understanding that we are living out exactly what she has been hungry for.

Speaking of being hungry and Hooters and Jesus...if Jesus walked the Earth today and was culturally relevant, would he say something like, "Man does not live by buffalo wings alone..."? I would like to think so.

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