Badass Church and Saints©
By Night Train
“The church is filled with hypocrites, liars, adulterers, cheaters, abusers etc…” I hear that all the time and guess what? It’s true. Another one is, “Oh, I don’t need to go to church or a building to connect with God.” And you would not be wrong.
What amazes me is how we all have become masters at making excuses out of circumstances, or people, out of our control to justify our own behavior. What a crock. You know what? I am the worst sinners of saints and I refuse to stop owning my end of the bargain, showing up where and when I should. As a society we have grown way too much into an enabling and accommodating sensitive bunch. “If it doesn’t feel good then don’t.” Isn’t that how the saying goes? Taking the easy path produces easy and weak men/women. Easy or weak men/women produce hardships. Then hardships will produce strong men/women. Which side of the fence do we want to be counted in? Are we sheep or lions?
Where am I going with this? There is not enough space here to say all I have to say about the church and the judgmental, legalistic, weak hypocrites I have crossed paths with over the last 20+ years. I have been among them wearing the same mask of “holier than thou” and fake purity when in fact I was as they are, saved but rotting in the core of my wicked soul.
I knew something was wrong, very wrong. Wrong with it all. Until I heard the song, “Oceans”, by Hillsong UNITED (Youtube it!!!) where the song pleads our Maker to take it all so He can teach us how to truly walk a life that is genuine in all our imperfections. This song stopped me in my tracks. I felt it from within, deeper than I ever was accustomed to. I knew at that moment my Maker heard my heart’s prayer and that things were about to change. Fast forward and I lost it all in 2017. I’ll spare you the details. Let me just say that looking back, I am so thankful. It kicked my ass in a severe way and that is what I needed, still do sometimes to be honest. Today, I am not perfect but I’ve been happier than ever whether I sit among hypocrites or saints. That is, in church or not. Know why? I learned about having compassion even towards those who hurt me. It truly is freeing!
Point is, with all the judgment and hostilities coming at me from the heart of the church, I was resolved to sit my ass in that pew every Sunday even if it killed me, no matter what. I was resolved to never quit going to church, even if the arrows kept coming from those I had come to believe loved me most.
So what? We all face hardships to a degree. There truly are forces out there that seem to want to take us down through depression, adversity, negativity, self-pity, or whatever else. Those forces win when we give up making the right decisions. Getting us to drink or use or whatever, in order to numb our pain is what these forces are after. Getting us to stop hanging out with people or in environments where our crap is going to be called out is exactly their objective. I say hell to the no!
There are hundreds of churches around where we can go and make things right in our soul for our own sake. There are churches of all sorts at least somewhat approachable if you aren’t used to it. If you are a Christian biker (or not), you can reach out to the “Christian Motorcyclist association” https://cmausa.org/. I am certain they will gladly help you find a church you can fit in. Be patient in the process and don’t let it wear you down finding that home church.
One of my favorites is “The Salvation Saloon”, where hundreds of bikers have been gathering now for decades. Former police officer turned Pastor, Paul White, who is a long-time friend and officiant of an event for me shares from scriptures each Sunday. There are a lot of badass saints in that community, you can take my word for it. I’ve heard a few testimonies.
The Salvation Saloon began as an outreach ministry to the biker community and to those who would not seek out God in traditional ways. It began as the “Traveling Saloon Gospel Show”, where they would travel to bars presenting the Gospel message in unique ways. In other words…if people would not go to church, church would get to them… on two wheels.
The demand grew for weekly services instead of just every couple of months. Thus, the “Watering Hole Church”. Since then, many lives have been changed. Lives that would not have been changed by traditional means. A unique transformation took place. What used to be a biker church is now a church for people of all walks of life. You will find diverse groups of people worshipping God and loving each other in an accepting and non-judgmental atmosphere. They say the “Salvation Saloon” is not just a church…it’s an experience. The church members have come to be known as, “Saloonatics.”
Where do they meet? In a bar. Yes, in a bar. Pastor Paul tells me “Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, that wherever people gather together in His Name…He would be among them. Well, He has not failed to show up at a single service and prove that He is alive and well on planet earth. He’s still changing lives and meeting needs. So, have a drink at the Watering Hole. Jesus said, “if you drink of His water…you’ll never thirst again”. Only He, can truly satisfy the soul. So belly up to our bar.”
Former Hells Angel President Barry Mayson says, “I thank the Lord for this vision and the heart to reach the lost. I was so blessed to preach at the bikers bar church.”
“Call it a miracle, but the watering hole is transformed into something called the Salvation Saloon. On the same bar stool where someone got stoned on Saturday night, someone else gets saved on Sunday morning.” – St. Petersburg Times
Looking back, I’m glad I lost it all. I’m glad I got hurt and went through hardship. And I’m thankful for the sinners and the saints in and outside of church who disappointed me, as I am sure I disappointed them too. It kicked my ass, helped me grow the heck up, own my crap, and not blame everyone else for my flaws.
Friends, be lions! Not sheep. Get your butt in gear and own this gift of life.
*Photo Credit: 323 Photography Studio