The Theology of Cigar Lounges

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The Theology of Cigar Lounges


When I first started going to cigar lounges, I overheard one of the lounges’ staff discussing eschatology and 70 A.D. with a customer. I jumped in and came to discover that Tom was an Anglican priest and college professor- when he wasn’t working the floor at the lounge. We had some rather heated discussions on Calvinism that ended with each other shaking hands and calling each other heretics. Since then we have become friends.

Last week, while I was scouring the depths of the humidor for my latest smoke, Tom ran into the humidor, shut the door and taking advantage of the privacy of the room, asked me if my ears were burning the other night. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.

He told me that he was teaching his college class about logic, and he used me as an example of how two people can have radically different theological worldviews but still appreciate each other and discuss matters of importance.

I was blown away. (Is that a cigar pun? Well, I guess it is.)

I never thought much of our theological conversations. They were not purposefully evangelistic. In fact, you might even use the term “friendship”, to claim they were more rooted in friendship evangelism. GASP! Did I say such a thing?

I did.

Cigar lounges have taught me the importance of getting to know other people simply for the sake of getting to know them. Would I love to see Tom repent of his attacks on justification by faith? Would I love to see Tom join my church and become Presbyterian? Certainly I would! In fact, I pray he does. He knows where I stand, I know where he stands, and that open honesty without an open evangelistic agenda (that would come from a one-shot talk via street preaching) is refreshing.

Now, obviously I am not against street preaching. Anyone who knows me, knows that. But sometimes we can be so focused and absorbed on the immediacy of evangelism that we forget the importance of just being active in the community and loving others. In fact, we can sometimes completely neglect the sovereignty of God in our evangelism, by rushing to read the script with someone.

So many times out of a faux concern for someone, we pounce on them with the Gospel points in such a way that it’s obvious that there is no genuine concern for the one being evangelized. Instead, the motive is on the evangelist’s ego, pride, or standing with God. Cigar lounges have taught me that as a Christian, evangelism really is the center of everything I do. My discussion of politics, my enjoying sports with strangers, and my asking others what sort of work they do is all centered around Christ. It’s impossible, as a new creature, to be non-evangelistic. The Gospel comes up in everything I talk about, everything I do, and every time I interact with people.

Does this mean that we don’t have to share law and gospel? Of course not. However, it does mean that we don’t have to share law and gospel every single time we interact with people.

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