Jay has been lamenting the divide between Southern Baptists and their beer. You know, it was darn pesky of the Lord to hang around in taverns and make wine when you think of it. In addition to the work, however, of Rev. Taffy Davis in Macclesfield, England, Jay found one US pastor who has followed in the steps of the Big Guy and brought the word back to the tavern. Good stuff.
This is what you might call "Buddhism-lite" though. It is performance, not preaching. After their first session on the stage, which lasts about 20 minutes, they sit down with the audience for a drink and a chat. One of the monks gets a bag of balloons out of his pocket and starts sculpting balloon flowers for some of the older ladies sitting around the room.Hmmm...that last bit makes it sound a bit like a pick up line: "Hey good looking - that's quite the soul you have there." The BBC has a short video of the monks in action at the Chippie Sound Music Bar in Tokyo. Be warned - having watched it, I am still not clear which beer goes best with "Ohmm".
"Many Japanese don't want to come to temple," Hogen Natori says. He is standing behind the bar where he has lit up a cigarette as he chats with the drinkers. "They think Buddhism is very difficult, and deep and serious, but Buddhism is much more than that - exciting, funny even. I want to spread this kind of teaching." He feels people are more receptive in a bar, when they are drinking and with friends.