My Pastor Blessed the Bar

Reason #36 why I feel like I’m in exactly the church God would have me in: One of my pastors, Ed Marcelle, was invited to perform the “blessing of the bar” for St. Patrick’s Day at Brown’s Brewing Company. And of course he said yes (hence the video below). He could have recoiled in disgust at the invitation to partake in this “worldly” ritual at an establishment of “drunkards” and “sinners”. But he didn’t… and that’s really the point here.

The blessing of the bar isn’t a pagan ritual, nor is the bar (called The Taproom) unholy in some inherent way. In fact, since Terra Nova Church meets right next door it is a great spot for us Terra Nova types to gather. Some of us even meet there once a month for Theology at the Taproom. The folks at The Taproom are our neighbors and Ed Marcelle would readily call it an honor to call God’s rich blessing down upon a great gathering place with great ales. There are many principles at work here, but I think chief among them is the calling to affect our culture. This is a clear Biblical command and articulated most clearly in Mark Driscoll‘s outstanding book The Radical Reformission.

Inevitably, there’ll always be the chorus of legalists, isolationists, and curmudgeonly saints who invoke one of many false dogmas to not-so-nicely disparage this “blessing of the bar”. To these confused folk either the ale is evil, or the bar is evil, or the people in the bar are evil… blah blah blah. Whatever. I can’t help but want to suggest they read a Bible in their own language for a change of pace (yes, that was a subtle KJV dig). :-)

Anyways, without further blabber, here is the video from the St. Patty’s Day 2007 blessing of the bar by Ed Marcelle. I wouldn’t have missed this anti-legalistic pilgrimage for anything… I was there on the second floor and you can hear me in the video yell “MARCELLE!” when he is introduced.

u comment i follow 17 Comments

  1. Posted April 9, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Hey Steve,

    Nice post! One clarification, it was the 2007 blessing. We weren’t even mug club members last year at this time.


  2. Posted April 9, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Oops! Good catch. It’s fixed.

    …and good selection of chronological milestones. :-)

  3. Posted April 10, 2007 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, there will be the obligatory chorus of legalists and isolationists who invoke one of their many false doctrines to disparage any “blessing of the bar”. To these poor confused folk either the ale is evil, or the bar is evil, or the people in the bar are evil… blah blah blah. Whatever. Perhaps they should read a Bible in their own language for a change (yes, that was a KJV dig).

    Wow, you probably did not mean this, but it sounded to me sort of like, “if you don’t agree with this, or with me, you’re a looser and a legalist”.

    Cool clip though.

  4. Posted April 10, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Mike :: Point taken. I need you to keep me honest. :-) I just changed the statement to refer specifically to the event I was speaking of rather than ANY blessing of a bar (which included contexts that indeed could be quite wrong).

  5. Lance
    Posted April 11, 2007 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm. Interesting. I don’t disagree with anything you said so I wonder why a “blessing of the bar” makes me uncomfortable. Maybe my strict Baptist upbringing? I’ll have to think more about it. In the meantime, I’ve never been to a place called the Taproom, but it looks familiar. I’ve played a few gigs at the Rolls Touring Co. in Troy years back. Has it changed its’ name?

  6. Posted April 11, 2007 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I think Rolls was different. Circa 1995 several of my RPI classmates used to hit Rolls to hear some folk acts tha they really liked.

    The Taproom today is what used to be the Troy Pub & Brewery… on River Street.

    And I can understand the “discomfort” factor with something called the “blessing of the bar”. I spent most of my childhood in a fundamental Baptist church (no alcohol, no dancing, no movies, and for sure no so-called Christian rock music). Because of this upbringing, and despite how super-humanly impenetrable I like to regard myself as, I’m still finding non-orthodox dogmas within my psyche that require de-programming. It started with my incredible subconcious discomfort at doing church without pews (stupid, I know)… and it hasn’t really stopped.

  7. Lance
    Posted April 12, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Yeah, ’95 might have been about right. I got mugged outside Rolls one night before a gig. Fun fun. Hey, sounds like we went to the same church :-) . I used to argue the evils or lack thereof of rock music with the youth leaders. It wasn’t hard because I was steeped in music and most of them knew nothing about it other than the rubbish they read about it killing plants and stuff. Anyway, I try to leave feelings out of the equation and just look at what the Word says, but you’re right – it’s hard to whip upbringing and tradition into line sometimes. Now church without pews… let’s not be too radical. You *DO* have to draw the line somewhere…

  8. Heather
    Posted April 12, 2007 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Gosh, I’d hate to see what you guys think of a catholic mass where we bless the alcohol… lol :)

    On another note, sorry to hear you are leaving. You’ll have to let us know how working in the real world is.

  9. Posted April 12, 2007 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Lance :: Ha ha… yeah it does sound like we went to the same church. :-)

    Heather :: Yeah, I’ll do that. Although you should get out, too, while you’re young. :-)

  10. Posted April 14, 2007 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Steve, I can’t watch the video. Is it you or is it me?

  11. Posted April 14, 2007 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    tara :: I think it’s you. What browser are you using? When you go to can you see other videos?

  12. Sarah
    Posted June 4, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    That was a great video! I had a friend give me the site because she thought she saw me in the background… but it was not me. I wish it was because everyone looks like they are having a great time!

    I loved the first sentence of your post. I love when people feel this way!

  13. Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I can’t watch this video. What happened?

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  1. [...] a very different note, Steve Mooradian, at Negative99 posted a clip showing his pastor blessing and Irish pub; and they’ll be mixed thoughts on that one for [...]

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