No trivial thing

There’s nothing wrong with fellowship, and several of us from my church have found it at a Mexican restaurant

John I. Carney
5 min readAug 28

The group from First United Methodist Church seated at a long table — several shorter tables pulled together — at La Rivera Mexican Cantina for trivia night.

Some months back — I’m not sure exactly when it started or how — a group from my church started going to La Rivera Mexican Cantina in Shelbyville for the weekly trivia night, organized by BrainBlast Entertainment. It was meant as just a fun night of fellowship — nothing specifically religious or church-related in nature, just a chance for people from the church to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

My knowledge of the world is a mile wide and an inch deep. I know about a lot of pop culture that I’ve never actually seen or read or listened to. Trivia, in short, is my thing. But for a variety of reasons, I couldn’t be a part of the trivia night for a month or two after it started. Part of the problem is that there are several key county government meetings that take place on Tuesday nights, which I sort of need to attend for my job. And that was also at the tail end of when we were going through a family health crisis.

But once I was able to start attending, I fell in love. I attend as often as I can, working around those county government meetings. Nowadays, I’m usually able to be there at least two Tuesdays a month, sometimes three.

BrainBlast organizes restaurant games in eight states from Indiana to Alabama. They have a trivia game, a survey-based game (think “Family Feud”), and a bingo-style game. In Shelbyville alone, they have trivia at two different restaurants, one of which also offers the survey game on another night.

In the trivia game, each table plays as a team — and if you have a large group sitting at the same table, preferably with a diverse mix of ages, you have a better chance that someone at the table is going to know the answer to any given question. We tend to have a large and diverse group, as do our friendly rivals, the Chupacabras. (Our team is the Wesley Squares, named for the father of the Methodist movement, John Wesley.)

The game is played in rounds and takes about an hour from start to finish. Although each of the BrainBlast locations playing on a given night is working from the same set of questions, each game is separate, meaning there will be a winner at…

John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at