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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 12:22 AM

Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God

July 30, 2012 By Deborah Arca

... Arriving at the pub on a discussion night always brings with it a sense of anticipation. Who will show up tonight? Will it go well? Will people talk? Will they like it? I usually arrive, target a couple of open tables, set down the sheets of questions for the night, and grab a pint. On a particular night some months into our project, I returned to my seat with a delicious brew called ‘Ethel the Frog ESB’ (that’s Extra Special Bitter for you non-beer drinkers). I saw some new faces and realized the tables were filling up quickly. It was going to be a good night.

When the crowd reaches a certain size, over a dozen or so, it is not unusual for us to split into a couple of groups, so that everyone can participate in the conversation. This was one of those evenings. So we split up the tables, and people found their way into one group or another. The people at my table were engaging in some light conversation and introducing themselves to each other. In the middle of this I noticed someone join the other group. A heavier-set fellow, hair a bit disheveled and peering out of thick glasses, lumbered over to the other group. Interestingly I noticed he had his hands full. But instead of holding a beer, he was holding several large books, and some papers on top of that. I didn’t give it much more thought, and turned my attention to our own group.

We had great conversation on such topics as: ‘Do you prefer to think about faith as mainly about facts or about mystery?’ and ‘Is it more important to believe the right things or to do the right things?’ and ‘How do you know that you actually exist?’ You laugh — but this can generate very interesting discussion (particularly after a couple of pints!). Most people at the table indicated that faith seems somewhat mysterious to them, and that limiting it to facts seems to take the hope or life out of it. A person with Buddhist leanings noted that it is all ultimately mystery, and that facts are a matter of perception when it comes to issues of faith. A Christian at the table challenged that view, noting that Christianity is a historical religion, unlike Buddhism, and has its roots in actual historical events, i.e. facts. I sat back, enjoying my extra special bitter ale and listening to the discussion going on around me. I thought, this is what it’s all about: people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and religious perspectives all sitting at the same table, having a rich, meaningful, and respectful conversation, even as differences of opinions are voiced. It is a good night.

I glanced over at the other table, and noticed that the larger fellow was talking somewhat heatedly, and had begun handing out some pieces of paper. I returned my attention to our group. The question before us asked: “Is it more important to do the right things, or believe the right things?” ...

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/07/pub-theology-part-i/

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Reply Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God (Original post)
struggle4progress Aug 2012 OP
JDPriestly Aug 2012 #1
mr blur Aug 2012 #2
rug Aug 2012 #3
trotsky Aug 2012 #5
rug Aug 2012 #9
trotsky Aug 2012 #10
cleanhippie Aug 2012 #4
cbayer Aug 2012 #6
Jim__ Aug 2012 #7
LineLineNew Reply +
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #8

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:12 AM

1. My opinion.

A person who talks about faith does not know what it is. Faith is a way of reacting, of living that is experienced in the moment of faith. It isn't a conscious choice -- not if it is real.

Faith is the mother putting her baby to bed at night and knowing that the baby will wake up in the morning, crying, wet and hungry. That is faith.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:34 AM

2. But, that's not faith,

which is belief without evidence. I don't have faith that the sun will be visible when I wake up - experience leads me to believe that it wil happen, as it always has.

"Knowing that the baby will wake up in the morning, crying, wet and hungry" does not require faith, but the memories of a succession of previous morniings on which that has happened.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:53 AM

3. But, that's not the only definition of faith:

faith

noun
1.
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.

2.
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3.
belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4.
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5.
a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith

You don't get to define it.

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Response to rug (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:04 AM

5. Neither do you get to define it.

But when a word has multiple definitions, it's important (and valid) to clarify which definition is being used, isn't it?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:05 PM

9. I'll rely on the dictionary.

In this case, confidence is mentioned first.

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Response to rug (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:52 PM

10. Rely on it. I never said you shouldn't.

But when there are multiple definitions, it's important to clarify which one is being used. Which one comes first can often be assumed to be the most common and therefore most likely definition, but should not be automatically true.

Please reference: coveting asses.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:58 AM

4. Thats not faith, thats assumption based on prior experience.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:34 AM

6. Great article. I wish I had the opportunity to participate.

Perhaps someday our group will be more like this and less like a cage match.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:50 AM

7. There is at least one sentiment expressed in that article that I strongly agree with.

Namely:

I thought, this is what it’s all about: people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and religious perspectives all sitting at the same table, having a rich, meaningful, and respectful conversation, even as differences of opinions are voiced. It is a good night.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 12:00 PM

8. +

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