Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

The Rose Bowl

It started with a walk around the Rose Bowl a few years ago.

A Facebook group called Walking Pasadena invited people to walk around the Rose Bowl on a Saturday morning. Their event was apparently scheduled early for most people, because only four of us showed up, two men and two women.

I was wearing one of my collection of craft brewery t-shirts.

The other guy, Tom, and I walked together and started talking. He commented on my shirt and we started an extensive conversation about our shared appreciation for craft beer. We talked about the various breweries we had visited and beers we enjoyed the most.

Some, but not all, of our favorites overlapped.

About a third of the way through our walk Tom mentioned he was active in a local church and he and his wife had just begun a four year program called EfM. I said, “It is like we are the same person!” I am an active member of another local congregation and had also recently started my first year of EfM.

Tom and I have quite varied background experiences, but we have arrived at some of the same kinds of places. By the time we finished our walk around the Rose Bowl we were friends.

We knew we wanted to find a way to combine our passion for craft brewing and interest in spiritual life. Getting together once a month to try new beers and talk about our spiritual adventures sounded like a great way to bring them together.

Our schedules bounced around a little, but eventually our Third Wednesdays were born.

While there were several strong candidates for where we would get together each month, we quickly settled on the Stone Company Store near the Del Mar stop on the Gold Line in Pasadena. We started getting together with a variety of people each month.

Some months brought quite a few people together, while other months Tom and I had to ourselves. We could talk about what was going on in our respective EfM experiences or at church or in our spiritual life in general.

It was a great opportunity to ask questions or share ideas or sort through things in a relaxed way.

Last June we reached a milestone which sparked our thinking. After four years, Tom, his wife Shannon, and I all completed our EfM program. We graduated on a Saturday morning in June, and we invited people to join us at the Stone Company Store in the afternoon to celebrate. People from both of our churches joined us.

One of the questions we thought about was what we were going to do after we completed the program. We decided it would be enjoyable and interesting to turn our Third Wednesdays into a sort of ongoing monthly community where we could continue the reflection we had started during the program.

We have had a couple of months to sort things out and it seems like this is something we want to continue.

Some of us seem to be more attracted to the opportunity to try some great beer each month. Other people might be more interested in the conversation and reflection.

As far as I am concerned, the two fit together really well.

Our Third Wednesdays are examples of the spiritual life of beer. We can sit and relax with a few beers and reflect on what is happening in our lives. None of us has all the answers and we each ask insightful questions.

Please join us on the Third Wednesday of any month at the Stone Company Store. We get together at 6:00 PM. This month, the third Wednesday is September 19.

Bring your questions and experiences. We look forward to sharing.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual leadership coach and spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com, and he writes a blog for the Contemplative channel on http://www.patheos.com.

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