Why I Stayed in ‘The Reformed Pub’ – A Response to Adam Powers

beerRecently, a post was put up by Adam Powers on his blog. Adam, it seems, was formerly a listener of the podcast, and also was a member of the Facebook group. He became frustrated with the podcast and ultimately the group for two reason (which I’ll mention below) and left. His recent post was an explanation of those reasons and what I’m sure he felt was an exhortation to godliness, although it came off as a bit more like a chastisement (maybe that is what he was going for).

Now, I want to get this straight. I don’t think Adam was wrong for leaving the group, I don’t think he was wrong for writing his post, and for the most part (as we’ll see) I don’t even thing he was necessarily wrong in his critiques. However, I wouldn’t have handled it the way he did, and I figured that another perspective adds to the discussion.

Adam’s first reason given (not sure if it was first in importance in his mind, but it was the first he gave in the blog) was that the Pub (referring henceforth to both the podcast and the Facebook group) overemphasized beer and alcohol, and “borders on sin, and has crossed the line at times by celebrating/flaunting our Christian liberty before God and others.” Now, in principle, I agree that it is possible to flaunt our Christian liberty in a sinful and unhealthy way. However, the Pub simply doesn’t do that. While I suppose it is possible that the Podcast may inadvertently end up in the hands of someone who might be described as “the weaker brother,” in whose presence we ought not enjoy or celebrate the gift of Beer… that seems like an kind of ridiculous scenario. Furthermore, the Facebook group, although a public group with little or no restriction on who can join, requires approval for admission. You literally cannot accidentally end up in the group. So who does Adam suppose we are flaunting our Christian liberty to. It is not as though it is a secret that alcohol is a potential topic… the podcast description on iTunes explicitly says it is… The word “pub” is in the name of the group… it seems silly to join and be surprised that people are talking about beer. Furthermore, Adam makes the statement that he is “very against Christians celebrating alcohol in any sense.” I’m not exactly sure what this would even mean? If it is not sinful, why would we not celebrate it as a gift from God?

Adam’s second reason given is a general lack of maturity among the group. Now, I love the Pub, I’ve been a member for some time now. However, I think that his critique here has some traction. Les and Tanner are good dudes, but they are the embodiment of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement. This fact likely explains why the Pub took off the way it did, and why it continues to grow. YRR Cage Stagers walk in and see the beer talk and scatological humor and cry “THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!!!” This is not necessarily bad, I think that most people in their 30s who would say (as Adam did) that they are no longer young, no longer restless, but still Reformed went through this stage. However, I believe it ought to be viewed as a sort of adolescent stage in the progression of a Reformed Christian. Being a teenager is a necessary part of being an adult, and we learn valuable lessons and develop important identity traits… but to think and act like a teenager forever is radically unhealthy. I think that the same could be said of those who could be described as the YRR crowd. This is not an indictment against Les and Tanner, or anyone else in the group, for that matter. I don’t think I’m more mature than everyone in the group, I have areas I need to grow like everyone else. However, I agree with Adam that there is a general lack of maturity in the group that at times can be frustrating and overwhelming. I don’t blame Adam for leaving…

However, at least for now, that isn’t the approach I’m taking. The fact of the matter is that the Church (and I know that the Pub isn’t a church) is intergenerational. It ought to be composed of people of all ages, genders, social backgrounds, and maturity levels. How are those who are currently YRR to learn and develop if those who have moved past Young and Restless simply leave as soon as they get old and settle down? There is a common analogy that is used to explain why people shouldn’t be surprised that we talk about beer in the Pub.

It’s like he walked into a Pub, and was upset that everyone was drinking beer.

I’d like to postulate another analogy that gets at Adam’s objection a little more.

It’s like he walked into youth group, and was upset that there were so many teenagers.

Adam closes his post by encouraging the Pubsters to “Grow up, settle down, and keep reforming.” I got no beef with that. It echo’s Paul’s words to Titus when he said “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.” (Titus 2:6, ESV)

However what Adam misses… is that the “sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness…” are supposed to stick around and show the young men how to do it.

Cheers and Amen