Thursday, March 12, 2009

Theology on Tap

You can talk about anything over a pint in a pub, can't you? I love the idea of people getting together to share their ideas and life stories with each other. Center that around a brew and a theology question and you have the potential for hours of discussion. It is always fabulous, sometimes tense, and I've learned a lot. At least twice I've spoken too much and should have been more respectful. Dang, I hate it when I do that. It's my passionate nature, but it's still wrong. I come away from this once a month event thinking about things from a different perspective. It's wonderful what you can learn from others.

Our moderator lays the ground rules that we will not interrupt each other, we will respect differing opinions, state things softly (in my opinion speak), and keep it safe for all, i.e., no name calling. These are great times we live in; 20 people came to listen and question and reflect together. They were from various walks of life, in many stages of it. We were in a bar and pizza pub. The pizza was excellent, the company appealing.

Our question last evening revolved around the Bible. How literally should we read it? We thought of it on a scale of one to ten, ten being absolutely literally. We talked about whether it was ok to question the bible. Later, someone asked on a scale of one to ten, how well read do you feel you are biblically? Fascinating how people came with so many paths that they had traveled, having steeped themselves in the book, or having never opened the cover, and a wide range in between.

We discussed the stories of the Bible, like Noah's ark. Did it really happen? What about creation-6 days or not? We discussed old testament versus new testament. Someone noted that it is not one work, but rather a library of 66 books. We spoke of which translations were "most accurate", the different writing styles of the books, and about chronology of the text. One of my favorite questions of the evening was "Does the Bible still speak to us today?"

We had a side discussion on abortion and homosexuality, and why we thought those were being brought forward as hot button topics. Our moderator is brilliant, and encourages everyone to share. "If you don't, we all lose". We didn't come to any conclusions; we were there to share each other's stories, not to crusade or convert.

And the conversations flowed like the beverages. The spirit is alive, and well, and busy.
(This picture is not me-I'm a dark ale drinker, and this looks like a King James edition)


  1. I find the subjects you covered just mind boggling, and to do that all with respect and open ears says much about the moderator and all the participants' maturity. I wonder if the beer helped? (smile)

  2. Very interesting post. I'm following a blog by Bishop Greg Rickel of the Olympia Dioceses as the Great Emergence is being discussed. It is a book by Phyllis Tickle. A pint, moderator, discussion ... sounds like something I'd find interesting.


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