The Resolved Church has received a bunch of unwanted response from Christians who took issue with the SD Reader article I wrote about them. (Sheep & Goats June 23, 2005) In the article, Pastor Bragg said, “Beer is one of our core values.” Subsequent discussion has flared up in numerous sources:
World Magazine (100+ comments and counting)
Sharper Iron Forum (11 pages and counting)
Pastor Bragg writes an article to defend the criticism:
i feel as if i must defend and clarify a certain element of the resolved, and comments made by myself concerning who we are and what we do. if you have checked out the press section of this website, you have seen that there has been quite a bit of discussion from people about the infamous comment i made in the sd reader article: “beer is one of our core values.” for those of you outside of the church world, within the realm of “churchspeak,” core values seen as a necessity for all churches to establish in order to be successful. it is as if you have to have the clever and profound media-savvy, commercial-esque snips of information that define who you are as a church and how you do ministry. i don’t know if that definition is even accurate, because i don’t even really know what core values really are. i don’t think anyone really knows anymore. scholars maintain that the definition was lost somewhere in the 19th century (that is completely false, and a faint tribute to “anchorman: the legend of ron burgundy.”) frankly i am not much of a fan of the term. it seems to me that the church has been sucked into this trap of operating like a business, and we have to promote our faith in a tidy powerpoint-like presentation for people to buy whatever it is that we are selling. it’s straight pragmatism and it isn’t found in the good ole’ bible. well i don’t like the idea of marketing the gospel for anything. and i don’t think that the church operates in a bullet-point system. i think it’s messy, and in many ways, indefinable. i can’t coerce the nature of what the church is into well-packaged little fortune cookie statements that will appeal to the masses and make them want to come to church. when i said that beer is one of our core values, i was using seditious and provocative language to refute the idea that the resolved operates under a business mindset that prints core values and purpose statements over all of its literature and propogates the program of the church over the content we are attempting to communicate. the reality is that the gospel is our only core value. we treasure and love it above all other things. saying that beer is one of our core values is as accurate as saying cut-off jean shorts or cherry slurpees at 7-11 are our core values. we just don’t buy into the whole church as a business thing. church is a family and a community. church is the kingdom of God on earth, the living testimony to the world. yes, we like to drink beer, but no, we are not alcoholics and we don’t get drunk in order to preach better sermons or to make people think christianity is cool. we just don’t believe that we should refrain from enjoying something that God has granted us freedom to partake of, regardless of the tradition of the american church, which has avoided the issue entirely out of fear of making a mistake or being misunderstood. i don’t think we are revolutionaries in this, and i don’t think that it is a big deal. drew, the author of the article in the sd reader, did what any good writer would do, and used the comment as an attention grabber, which it most certainly was. but please, do not think that we are all about alcohol, and don’t judge the resolved on a single article written about us. when it comes down to it, if you come to a resolved service, you are going to be confronted with the gospel. it makes us uncomfortable, because it is offensive, but it gives us great comfort because it is our only hope in this world. all that being said, i have a terrible propensity towards sarcasm, and i have learned that sarcasm isn’t always best communicated in the black and white of printed media. so i will save my humor (which i find quite hilarious) for live audiences, and attempt to communicate in a serious and solemn, humorless fashion from now on (that was sarcasm). if this topic is of any interest to you (alcohol and the church), check out “drinking with calvin and luther,” by jim west. it is a good read and well worth your time. that is it for now kids, now go finish your homework before dinner, because homework is definitely a core value.