First, I am sorry to hear about your wife’s accident and relieved to hear she is recovering from her injuries. I hope and have prayed that she continues to improve to full health.
Second, you may feel isolated, but you are not alone in your experience with and observations of finding more genuine relationships outside of, rather than within, the IC. I know of many (myself included) unchurched Christians in the US and all over the world right now who are geographically isolated from others of like faith, seeking a community they have not yet found, and resorting to building relationships right where they find themselves (much like your current Church of Joe’s Tavern). It is becoming so common I am beginning to suspect God is actually up to something with it! For my own part, I am using Skype continuously to meaningfully connect with many of them on a regular basis.
I could, if I chose, begin searching the IC again to find local relationships and opportunity for face to face encounter that I so deeply hunger for. And yet I know on some level deep inside that I cannot go back, not fully, for I no longer share some of the core convictions that bind local IC’s together. I would be viewed as a heretic by them and/or they would require things of me like membership and a sign-off on a statement of beliefs that I no longer subscribe to. That dead horse has been thoroughly and properly beat, in my opinion. It is not that I would relationally write them off (I remain close friends with several IC’ers who have accepted my decision to leave the IC without abandoning Christ), but it does not make sense to me to try and build my core community within an IC which I no longer fundamentally believe in.
All that being said, you do not elaborate what it means that the “churches…do not want (you) around;” what that history is or what it looks like. That might need some more unpacking, but for now, no matter, the fact that you are posting at all tells me the hunger for real connection is real. It is painful. And perhaps bewildering to think that a bar is the only place where you are finding it. I just wanted you to know that a) I hear you, and b) you’re not alone and c) you might, you just very well might, be exactly where God wants you—and many of us along with you—to be right now.
I hope this is a small encouragement to you brother. If so, raise a toast for me at Joe’s