What can I say about my Cigar Night friends that could capture the meaning of it for the rest of you? If I was honest I'd say that I have learned as much about the church there than I ever did in seminary. Where else can you find a group of people--anywhere--who share their faith, their struggles, their fears, their jokes, their discoveries and their dreams for being better disciples of Jesus Christ? They do all of that without judgement or meanness, even when the disagreements are heated. I'll never forget the evening when one guy dug his feet in on something that the rest of us thought was crazy. He took a pummeling in the conversation, but he also got a hug from each one of us on the way out.
Did I not say that this was more like church was supposed to be than, well, church?
The guys who participate in this regular event--and the roster changes each time--are brothers in Christ in the truest sense of the word. They laugh easily, love loyally and forgive with just the right measure of forgetfulness.
I got to attend two of these gatherings while I was was back in LA. It wasn't nearly enough.