Jared Witt l May 25, 2017
Since the early days of pitching the Castle Church concept to people, Aaron and I have frequently been asked, how are you going to do church in a brewery? The question is frequently posed with that familiar raised brow and bemused smirk which says, “Of course, the only only way you can get together to break bread is to go millions of dollars into debt in order to build a giant sanctuary with lots of stained glass or renovate a warehouse with laser lights and sound booth. It is known.”
If you don’t know from the title what I mean by “compromised,” and you’re not a little bit worried that the word “Christian” has become a meaningless term in 21st century North America, I won’t burn up valuable blog characters trying to explain it.
However, if you’re the type who already suspects there is something wrong with a religion that claims to worship a God who “lives not in temples built by human hands” and a wandering rabbi who had “no place to lay his head” but which, itself, lives in multi-million dollar campuses, I’m talking to you right now.
If you instinctively feel that blind patriotism and a faith which claims all people are brothers and sisters make uncomfortable bedfellows, I’m talking to you right now.
If you’ve never been able to reconcile worshipping the God who created the earth and called it “very good” with worshipping a capitalist system which cares only for the prosperity of a select group of humans at the expense of all other living creatures, I’m talking to you right now.
The good news is that there are some simple next steps when you realize that your religion is compromised, which I’m going to discuss in a series over the next few weeks. In this discussion: budgeting.
Budgeting can be difficult after your religion has finally been put out of its misery. What are we to do with all those millions of dollars that used to go into sacred mortgages and religious overhead? Consider this a helpful guide.
Option 1: Buy some cheap bread and wine and a $10 park fee, then give the rest of that money to anyone who needs it.
Option 2: Buy some more expensive bread and wine, and then give the rest of that money to anyone who needs it.
It can be tough finding a place to discuss a bible passage and sing songs, if you don’t have a multi-million dollar building in which to do it. But if you’re feeling intrepid, for $10 you can find yourself a fairly nice campsite fire pit. If you’d like to save yourself $10, there’s still a way. You may have noticed that most of us live somewhere already. Perhaps you could have people over to your place get your church on there.
Castle Church is actually meeting at a neighborhood Marina this week. There are lots of options when your mortgage payment is $0 per month. If you’re still having trouble determining what to do with the rest, after that LITERALLY ZERO DOLLARS dedicated to the building, you might consult Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels as a helpful guide.
Jesus might tell you to give it all to the poor. But I suspect he also didn’t anticipate the kind of figures we’re talking about these days. So don't get too austere. Consider really doing it up with the bread and wine.
For instance, let’s say your church property is appraised at $3.4 million dollars. If you are able to sell it at market value, you might consider budgeting as follows:
$20 for bread from a nice independent little mom and pap bakery.
$280 for a really, really nice…lots of impressive French words…bottle of wine.
Then give the remaining $3.3997M to the poor.
Jesus might prefer you scrounge together some other offerings for a simple loaf of bread and some two buck chuck. But given the enormous, post-religious stride you've made, I’ll tell you what: I’ll take it up with him personally if you can’t go ahead and treat yourself a little.
Cheers and Peace,
Jared Witt (Twitter: @realjaredwitt) is a pastor in the ELCA and, along with Aaron Schmalzle, is a Founding Director of Castle Church Brewing Community and Castle Church Faith Community.
How Castle Church is stirring up a new spirit in the church from a brewery in Orlando, FL.