What’s up with the Natty Boh?
Many have asked what’s up with the Natty Boh sign in our logo? I would have to say that we are probably the only SBC church in the world with a beer sign in our logo. However, Ms Vickie and I did serve at Rhein Valley Baptist Church in Waldorf, Germany where the church facilities were located above a prominent bar and restaurant where the beer sign was much bigger and more visible than the church sign. I can also recall a somewhat humorous story of a very prominent sister SBC church in a large mid-west town where I lived that actually owned an operational bar because they had bought a strip mall for church parking and they could not get out of the lease with the bar. Nevertheless, as they say, that’s another story.
For those who may not know, Natty Boh, as the sign on the old National Bohemian Brewery building atop Brewers Hill in East Baltimore has become affectionately known, is a cultural icon and community landmark. So why put it in the church logo one may ask? The background of the Canton Baptist Church Logo is a caricature of the Baltimore East side skyline. As the logo states, it is our desire to see inner peace for the inner harbor. Our prayer is that all who live there may experience the inner peace that is beyond all human understanding and can only be found in Jesus Christ. Jesus was radically inclusive and our desire is to do the same.
When we asked for and received permission from the current owners of the Natty Boh rights, we told them that our desire was to identify with our culture and embrace it with the love of Christ. Their response was enthusiastic and they expressed their wishes that we might be successful. Someone recently told me that they didn’t understand and thought that we may be reflecting our culture more than identifying with it. I’m not sure I convinced this person otherwise but I do have a great deal of respect for them and I am certain this will be something we can joyously discuss in eternity.
Meanwhile, as we are not of this world, nevertheless in this world, here is our story: We see Natty Boh as a sort of Zacchaeus perched atop the “National Bohemian Sycamore-fig tree”. Although Jesus was ruthlessly ridiculed for noticing and embracing Zaccheaus, many lives were changed for eternity because he did.
Paul wrote in Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” That is our heart’s desire and prayer to God for Baltimore. It is also our prayer that what one may have meant for evil, God will use for good. Genesis 50:20 (NIV) – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Blessings, Pastor Steve