On Tuesday night I held the first off what I hope to be many monthly Pub Theology groups. We met at The Old Spot on Essex Street in Salem. They have a few good ales on tap, and no one should attempt to do Pub Theology without good ales on tap. Halveston's Bitter and Twisted was my pint of choice. Okay 2 pints.
There were nine of us who eventually showed up. Five who were from The Gathering, or at least hung out with us occasionally, two Witches, and the rest were varying degrees of Christian in thought, but did not attend any church. Keiran who is studying at Harvard Divinity was there, and our nieghbor Sam, Christian Day and Leanne Marrama. Jorgelina was there, and myu friend who lives behind The Gathering - Tom, as well as Jeff Menasco, and Father Michael (Yes, the former Russian Orthodox monk has returned - I guess that's another post!)
So, we talked about how we come to decisions about the theological conclusions we make. What determines your theology was the question on the table. Father Michael lives in a perpetual state of spiritual warfare - Kieran and Jorgelina found that terminology disconcerting, and were vying for peace as the Christian Way. Tom feels strongly that Christians often live far too sad, and should have the victory of joy. Sam had his disagreeing thoughts with that as a standard for all people. Jeff added the Hindu illustration of the five blind men and the elephant, and that added some fuel to the fire of thought.
Then our Witch friends arrived, and we made a change in direction simply because it was now a more interfaith interaction. There was a moment in which Christian stated that he highly respected the Catholic Church. I stopped to note that this was a wow moment - Christians hearing a Witch respect the Church. This doesn't happen every day - we laughed. Then Father Michael gave an example of an exorcism prayer in the Russian Orthodox tradition. Christian and Leanne asked to see this, and Michael performed it over the both of the them with heir full accepting consent. This was enlightening for all, and slightly entertaining actually. It was complete with ritual prayers, holy water, the blessed host, and more.
Wow, this was a sometimes heated, fully entertaining, and great way to start our Pub Theology night. Life on the edge of adventure, and craziness is good. Everyone seemed to have a good time at the end of it all.