Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Concert tickets and bars and so on and so forth

Yesterday we bought tickets to see Elton John when he comes to town (April 21). Our seats are clear at the top, and they are "limited view" seats - which means we are actually seated on the side and behind the stage - but it still cost $100.25 for two of the cheapest tickets they had (by the time all the other charges were added in). Jane and I debated over whether or not it was worth it, and I finally just went ahead and bought them. My justification is that... we don't spend money on much else. We don't belong to a country club (or buy golf clubs and all those accessories), we don't belong to a gym, we don't spend money on hunting equipment, we don't have pets that require a lot of money, we're not into technical gadgets or tv's or gaming systems or cars or clothes or... really not much besides going to an occasional movie and eating out. So seeing a small number of concerts and eating out a few times a week are probably our only two indulgences. Plus I would rather support a concert in Fort Wayne like Elton John than all the "big" country names they seem to bring to town (at least I guess they are big names - I've never heard of most of them). So while some might see $100 for a performer we aren't real big on to be wasteful, I could make the argument that there are plenty of other wasteful things out there. I think at some point you've just got to decide what's important to YOU, and maybe what's important at the moment (different things will be of different importance during different life stages).

This also brings me to the other thing I've been thinking about. Most people in our church know that Jane and I frequent this bar and that we've made friends with quite a few people there. And every now and then people will make comments about us drinking with "those people" but that we rarely if ever drink with church people. I don't think I have done a good job explaining that the reason we go to these bars is NOT so we can drink with "other people"... We do it because (1) It is a place for us to hang with non-church people; it's a chance to be around people that don't relate to us as the "pastor and his wife" and allows us to see the world from a non-church point of view. And (2) we drink with "those people" because we want them to know we are "one of them." It's not about the drinking, it's about the relationship-building. I suppose there are church people that could possibly benefit from that type of relationship-building also, but for the most part that's not needed. We have other reasons for being together, and I don't really feel the need to try to "fit in" with the people of the church - I think we already do in other ways. I don't know... as I try to explain it it doesn't come out right. I mean, I have no problem having a beer at a wedding reception - if the situation calls for it. But on the other hand, I have no problem NOT having a beer at a wedding reception. That is not really why we are there. However, if we are trying to connect and build a relationship with people gathered around a bar, I think it IS important that we fit in there. To sit at a bar and not drink - while not a problem for most people - I think would look different for me as a pastor. I think people would think I was there with ulterior motives. In fact, many STILL think I am there with ulterior motives.

Anyway... maybe both points are lame attempts at justifying things to myself, but that's what I was thinking about. I don't want to be wasteful with money, and I don't want to step over the line in regard to alcohol again; but I also don't want those things to be stumbling blocks to what we really want to do: which is living and enjoying life and helping people find their place with God. Concerts and bars are not really the point... but people and relationships are. I think.