I had an interesting dinner the other night. My guest was a ruling elder at one of the largest (if not the largest) Presbyterian churches in our fair city. Over our second scotch and after a lengthy discussion of the original series Star Trek movies, he suddenly shifted the topic. He brought up everything we had previously discussed including English and Celtic history, swords, scotch, Calvinism, and Trek. Then said how it was so rare for him to meet anyone who was Reformed and interested in all of these things. I was stunned, this is the world I live in. I, apparently, take for granted the fact that I am surrounded by men who find these kinds of topics to be as common as air. And yet here was an older man who had not found anything like that in his substantial church.
That evening has made me far more grateful for what I have. As I write I am holding down my table at Hammer and Ale for the men who join me weekly for our lads night. We started with four and, frankly, I have lost count of how many count themselves as part of our fellowship. We start here over a pint then progress to dinner and finally to my deck for cigars and a whisky tasting. All but our new, and now resident, papist are deeply reformed and all are nerdy. We tend to be out late into the night jovially debating, or discussing. It is all very hail fellows and well met, and at the end, though tired, I am always edified.
I am grateful for this group first because, in the providence of god we have found one another. But more than that the genuine goodness of this group is, apparently, astoundingly rare. To the outside world it probably would look something like an average group of men hunkered around at table over pints, occasionally exploding with laughter, but that is all. In reality there are all manner of little moments of correction, encouragement, and “spurring one another on to love and good deeds.” And all of that held together by a web of our intertwining likes and ultimately our faith which is the strong tether that grounds all.
I have stumbled into something good. I hope to share it soon with my new friend. And I greatly look forward to seeing what he gets and what he will give.
“Drinking beer with friends is perhaps the most underestimated of all Reformation insights and essential to ongoing reform; and wasting time with a choice friend or two on a regular basis might be the best investment of time you ever make.” Carl Trueman, On the Virtues of Wasting Time*