Life with Jesus

Meeting Jesus at a Motorcycle Bar

I’ve only been to a bar once. It was in College Station and some friends were in town and everyone wanted to visit Northgate, the local bar scene. I presented a weak protest that I had nothing to wear- all of my brightly colored shirts and cardigans neatly fit into my “dress like a Skittle” phase and I knew that wouldn’t fly at a club. My friends dragged me to the mall to find something, but everything they picked out was either:

1) Too expensive

2) Covered in sequins, which made me look like a disco ball

or 3) Cute, but had a giant gaping hole in the armpit to show the excellent workmanship and high quality of the garment

I ended up wearing this (in the middle)- a black tank top with red plastic pearls and ill fitting jeans.

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Okay, so not the most stunning outfit ever, but I was engaged to Alex and I wasn’t planning on trying to attract any male gaze. This is good, especially since I was wearing ear plugs to protect my hearing, and ear plugs don’t usually bring boys to the yard.

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Anyway, we’re going to my second bar…today. That’s right,  Alex and I are going to a motorcycle bar for our Easter service this morning. I heard about it from I Am Second on facebook. Obviously, this event speaks to me because I am a kindred spirit with motorcyclists (because of my scooter) but also, because I’m interested to see how Jesus moves in a bar (and no, I’m not talking about Him getting down to Ke$ha…maybe).

First things first, though. This is a motorcycle bar that is off Harry Hines in Dallas. Harry Hines is where you go if you want drugs, a strip club, or prostitutes.  When I searched for the bar, their home page has pictures of, what appears to be, women trying to drive a motorcycle with their bikini-ed breasts and just now on their facebook page, they posted a “sexy Easter bunny” video and, though I haven’t watched it, the screen shot is of a woman pushing her boobs together like she’s trying to make them talk. Both my religious and feminist sensibilities are deeply offended, thankyouverymuch. In the video announcing the service at the bar, the owner says that there will be a “Bloody Mary” bar during the service. He says, “Don’t feel bad about wanting to take a little nip on the Easter Sunday cause the Lord did it hisself!”

Internally, these things- alcohol, boobs, you name it- make me want to throw my hands up and say, “Really, Jesus? You’re coming here? To a motorcycle bar where people get drunk and objectify women by looking at that?”

Sound familiar?

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? (Mark 2:16)

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1)

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.“Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Luke 7:34)

Religious people haven’t changed much. We believe that, in order for God to be present, the pew cushions must be straightened, the aisle must be vacuumed, windows cleaned, hair brushed, shoes shined, hats off, fake smiles on, behavior modified. Then and only then, can God come.

But that’s what the Pharisees thought too.

Jesus flipped their world upside down. He didn’t often hang out at the pastor’s house- He was over on Harry Hines, hanging out with the prostitutes and drunkards. He was at a house in South Dallas, fending off eager drug dealers and weeping with mothers who had lost their sons to gang violence. He was in the gay-borhood, eating dinner with people who had been hurt deeply by the religious. He was at a motorcycle bar, with all of its problems, on Easter.

He didn’t come for the healthy; He came for the sick. And He meets US wherever we are- prideful, drunk, angry, homeless, victimized, lustful, vengeful.

We honor Him when we remember that.

12 On hearing {the Pharisees ask again why Jesus hung out with the outcasts of society}, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

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