A spiritual quest, one barstool at a time
Life does not need to be complicated: a good beer, a good dog, good music and some fellowship. Who knows where an appreciation of life’s simple virtues will take you? Ask Bill Miller.
The man more properly addressed as Father Bill is a Texasborn Episcopal priest, author, bar owner and world traveler whose resume prompted me to triplecheck that the 10 Commandments do not include the prohibition, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s life.”
With a website (FatherBill.net) titled “Spirituality for real people,” Miller believes that paths to enlightenment come in many forms. Even in his bar, Padre’s, in arty Marfa, Texas, which recently closed its doors (Miller is seeking an investor) after a New Year’s Eve concert by the Flatlanders’ Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gil-
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“One of the things I learned is how similar being a bar owner is to being a parish priest,” Miller says. “You have these diverse communities, with great music, joyful movement, an atmosphere of acceptance, potent sacramental beverages, an occasional brawl, and you mix all that in with these moments of transcendence and confession and penitence and love and loss. Transformation happens.”
Miller will be at Books and Books in Coral Gables at 4 p.m. Sunday to share stories of happiness and hoppiness in “The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God: The Whole and Holy Truth About Lager, Loving and Living,” a 2014 collection of essays published by the Simon and Schuster imprint Howard Books. Just re-released in paperback is a 2005 book inspired by his Airedale titled “The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul” (Seabury).
Miller has spent most of his religious life leading congregations in Houston, Austin and Dallas. His church in Austin became a destination for the artistic and literary crowd in the city, including William Broyles Jr., former editor of Newsweek and the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Tom Hanks’ “Apollo 13” and “Cast Away.”
In a blurb for “The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God,” Broyles calls Miller “a magician with language. His stories are beautifully written. They’re parables, gateways into the deep mysteries of life, love, and death. They find great joy in the everyday wonders of life. The simplest things become beautiful
Admission to Craft Beer Cartel’s anniversary carnival on March 19: $5. The chance to dunk Julian Siegel (left, with wife Lisa and partner Adam Fine) in a vat of water? Priceless.