If you know me at all, you know that my interests in beer and religion are both relatively high.
That’s why when I came across Castle Church Brewing Community in Orlando, Florida I jumped at the opportunity to report on the “brewery church” for the Religion News Service (RNS).
Beyond the surface phenomena (and all the beer+religion puns like, “frothy faith”) there was a deeper resonant story at Castle Church that I wanted to tell — a story of church changing as we know it, of 30-somethings looking for home, and issues surrounding notions of class, gender, and race.
The story I wrote for RNS touches on these themes and invites you to reflect a little more on the significance of a brewery that is a church, a church that is also a brewery. As you read the story, enjoy the gimmick. Sure. But beyond the “beer church” novelty, take a moment to reflect on questions such as:
What can a “brewery church” tell us about American religion? American Christianity?
Why — at this moment in time — is such an idea popular let alone feasible?
Who might be attracted by such a model? Why?
Who is potentially marginalized by such a model? Women? People in the neighborhood north of Orlando International Airport that can’t afford craft beer? Good ole’ Florida boys looking for a Budweiser? Is this just a place for cis white males who want to play Settlers of Catan, drink beer, and debate Augustine?
These questions and conversations are still fermenting in my own mind (sorry, couldn’t help another beer pun!) and I don’t have any ready answers after my reporting. Furthermore, each of the people I interviewed for this story — Rev. Jared Witt, Dr. Annie Blazer, Jeremy Carnes, and others — had also thought about these issues and had some weighty and worthwhile comments to make on each.
With that in mind, I invite you to share your thoughts, send your questions, or post a comment on this blog or at ReligionNews.com by clicking the link below.