In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why We Need a Community

Tonight, J and I hung out at one of our favorite bars in town. However, this night was different than other nights. The bar is closing in one week. I'll be out of town for the closing party, so this evening had to suffice as my last hurrah for the establishment.

I'm not a frequent bar-goer, but this place was somewhat special. It's a gay bar (shocker). I got into going on Sunday evenings when they would play showtunes (how stereotypical can I be?). I would go and get one drink and sit for a couple of hours, listening to the music, or watching the screens to see these songs that I knew very well.

There doesn't seem to be any good reason for the bar's closing, at least none that I've seen. The customer base was good. It was only open for seven years, and was chosen as the best gay bar in several publications. So what happened? I'm not sure.

I've gushed quite a bit in this post about how much I appreciate my circle of friends. Many of my friends never went to this bar with me. Only a select few shared the same passion for showtune night (J definitely shares that passion). I'm surprised that I'm the type of person who feels like he's going to miss a bar. I mean, come on, it's a BAR. But it was my favorite bar.

Now, for those of you who don't drink, or who wonder why a bar would be special, I have some thoughts that might bring you back into the loop. We need a place where we feel we belong. It's not always the type of place where "everybody knows your name". Rather, it's a place where you feel safe. The only time I've felt truly safe is with my dear friends and family. We need to find those places and those people who can make us feel like we belong there. Without it, we have nowhere to ground ourselves.

Belonging is an important part of identity. The Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg has helped to develop a Circle of Courage. One of the major components of this circle is belonging. If we don't belong, then we can't ever develop into full people. Of course, we need to grow beyond just belonging to a certain place. But belonging is where it can all begin.

I've always been interested in identity development as a theological phenomenon. The Circle of Courage makes a lot of sense to me. It gives us an idea of why a place is so special. I mean, I'm sure I can find another place to go with my friends. But will I belong there? I'm not sure.

So long, Boom!


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