Tonight is the first meeting of the pub theology group I have organized as part of my seminary internship. My internship requires me to lead a small group, and I am at church at least 6 days a week so I decided I wanted my small group to meet outside of the church (and to reach people outside of the church).
Where do people outside of the church hangout during the week? Bars? Yes. Soccer practice? Yes. Do I want to spend my Tuesday night at a kids soccer practice? No. Do the parents of those kids want to go to a bar after sitting through a 2 hour soccer practice? Yes.
The concept for pub theology is simple: a conversation about faith around a table with tasty beer. That's it. There is no other agenda.
With our first meeting tonight (I really don't like to use the word meeting but I can't think of a replacement) I have been doing some research on how successful pub theology groups operate. And for a lot of people who come tonight, this might be there first experience with pub theology, or even a conversation about faith.
Here are some pointers, rules, or guidelines that people should keep in mind when participating in a discussion about faith around a bar table. These were complied from Pomomusings, Pub Theology 101, and Next Church.
Listen first, speak second. Everyone has a voice, and everyone's voice has a right to be heard.
You do not have to agree with anyone, but you do have to respect everyone.
No single perspective is correct. Everyone is on their own spiritual journey, but we gather as pilgrims seeking to learn from one another.
If you are free tonight (Dec. 3) I hope that you will consider joining us at Kate's Irish Pub for a few beers and great conversation. You can signup here but then again, you can just show up too! Feel free to buy Jason his favorite drink, an appletini!