God on Tap Blog

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Christian Minimalism with Becca Ehrlich, June 19

Christian Minimalism with Becca Ehrlich, June 19

Join us for our next God on Tap on June 19th, 7:30 pm upstairs at Gypsy Blu in Ambler. Our topic will be Christian Minimalism with special guest Becca Ehrlich. (We are going to hold the second part of our conversation about Who is Jesus? in July.)

I am thrilled for us to welcome Becca Ehrlich at our June 19th gathering! I ran into Becca at a church event last month and as we talked we discovered that we both have an interest in minimalism.  Well, I have an interest. She has a passion for it.

What is minimalism? It is an intention to live more simply, thereby making time and space in our lives for the things that matter most. I was introduced to minimalism last year when I received the week-long challenge to get rid of one thing the first day, two things the second day, and so on. I did the week...and then I just kept going and going. Getting rid of old things from the drawer, shelf, closet, basement, and the garage was surprisingly liberating for me. It was truly a spiritual experience in ways that are hard to describe, but it was profound. So, when Becca told me she was a minimalist and that she even blogs about it at Christian Minimalism, I just had to have her join us at God on Tap. If you are interested in exploring minimalism before we gather on June 19th, Becca and I would recommend you check out the Minimalism documentary on Netflix.

becca

Meet Becca

Becca is an ordained pastor in the ELCA and currently works as Associate Director of Admissions at United Lutheran Seminary (ULS).  She is also working towards my doctoral degree in Christian Spirituality. Before moving to Pennsylvania and working at ULS, she served as a parish pastor at two Lutheran churches in western New York State. Read all about Becca and her journey in minimalism on her blog.

What is Minimalism?

Becca writes on her website, "The definition for minimalism that I attempt to live by as a minimalist is: A focus on the aspects of life that matter most, and intentionally removing anything that doesn’t fall into that category.

Being a minimalist is about identifying what matters most in your life, and removing anything that doesn’t matter most and/or is an obstacle to focusing on what matters most. For a lot of people, a big part of the minimalist lifestyle is lessening their attachment to material goods by buying and consuming less and owning less."

Why Christian Minimalism?

Becca writes, "When I first discovered minimalism, it was like someone had flipped on a light switch in my soul. It just made sense to me to focus on the important aspects in life that mattered most, and to get rid of and remove the aspects that weren’t the most important. In fact, it embodied for me exactly what Jesus said: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Living an abundant, or full, life is what Jesus wants for us. And that full life includes spending our time and energy and resources on that which matters most. It means removing anything that keeps us from living that full life that Jesus came to give us.

The Bible verse that most informs my minimalist lifestyle is Luke 12:34–“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Whatever is our treasure, whatever we focus on as most important, is where our heart is. Another way to read it is from The Message (a Bible paraphrase) of that verse: “The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Our desires and where we spend our time, our resources, and our energy will be with what we consider our treasure. Minimalism helps us to be intentional about what our treasure is, and where our heart is."

We hope to see you on June 19th!

Who is Jesus? This Tuesday.

Who is Jesus? This Tuesday.

Join us for God on Tap this Tuesday at 7:30 pm upstairs at Gypsy Blu in Ambler.

In recent months, I've been trying to reconnect with Jesus and reflect on what he means to me. I've been diving back into the Gospels and reading the stories—the miracles, the healing, the teaching, the way he called into question everything we thought we knew, the way he laid down his life, found hope when there was only despair, and shined light when there only seemed to be darkness. 

The Jesus I'm rediscovering took no prisoners when it came to standing up for the weak, the sick, the outcast and persecuted. The Jesus I'm encountering again refused to accept the way things were and pointed people to what could be. The Jesus I see in these stories demonstrates the true power of love. And he has a singular focus: the cross. 

What is it about Jesus that fascinates you or drives you crazy? What about Jesus confounds and confuses you? How do you think of Jesus: as a wise teacher, a revolutionary, a comforter, a healer, a savior, a friend, or all of the above? What is your favorite story, moment, parable, or verse about Jesus? 

I hope you'll join us on Tuesday as we meet Jesus again as if for the first time.  I'm interested to see where this conversation will go.

Pictured: Image of Jesus created by forensic anthropologists. Learn more here.

God on Tap Tuesday: How Does Your Garden Grow?

God on Tap Tuesday: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Join us on Tuesday, April 24th at 7:30 pm upstairs at Gypsy Blu in Ambler for God on Tap! Our topic, inspired by Earth Day, is "How Does Your Garden Grow?" with special guest Dyan Lawlor. Dyan writes: 

This week at God on Tap, follows "Earth Day", last Sunday. Remember the first day of Spring (March 20th) we were 'snowed in!". We are STILL longing for the sun-filled Spring days to come and stay! If you're like me, I can't wait to gather up the dead branches, the dried stalks of last year's daisies and peonies, and welcome colorful tulips and sunny daffodils. I keep buying packets of seeds and counting the days til May 15 when frost is no longer an option!

Being outside renews my soul. “The (blue)birds and the bees” slow me down and reminds me of the wonders and rhythm of God's creation. As favorite author, Barbara Brown Taylor writes, in her book, "Leaving Church"..."I know many people who find God most reliably in books, in buildings, and even in other people. I have found God in all of here places too, but the most reliable meeting place for me has always been creation.”

Let’s talk this week about where you find renewal and spiritual refreshment in nature? How does nature give credence to the resurrection of our bodies? Why is that? What projects to you have, (bee-keeping, etc.) that fulfill our calling to be ‘stewards of the planet earth.’?

And I’m inviting you, if able, to bring a cutting of a favorite plant, or a tiny seedling, or separate a few hostas to share with the rest of us!

PS…This season of Easter, recall Mary saw Jesus first at the tomb and thought he was the gardener. Barbara B. Taylor confesses, “…and I realize this gardener, Jesus, may be the only thing that keeps me holding onto faith; the idea that God plays in the dirt of my life and grows knockout roses and peonies where weeds would otherwise be.”

Who Is Jesus? This Tuesday.

Who Is Jesus? This Tuesday.

Join us Tuesday night, March 27th for God on Tap, 7:30 pm upstairs at Gypsy Blu. We'll be asking the question: Who is Jesus?

{Please also mark your calendars for our upcoming dates: April 24, May 22, June 19, and July 17}

God on Tap has been meeting for over five years, and while we've certainly talked about Jesus a lot, we've never had a full on conversation about Jesus himself. Weird.

It's probably an oversight on my part, but I think it speaks to something that is pretty prevalent in Christianity today where it seems like we talk about everything possible except Jesus himself. We debate about the Bible, we talk about particular spiritual practices, we talk about trying to live our Christian faith, but we don't always get around to engaging the person at the center of it all: Jesus himself. 

In recent months, I've been trying to reconnect with Jesus and reflect on what he means to me. I've been diving back into the Gospels and reading the stories—the miracles, the healing, the teaching, the way he called into question everything we thought we knew, the way he laid down his life, found hope when there was only despair, and shined light when there only seemed to be darkness. 

The Jesus I'm rediscovering took no prisoners when it came to standing up for the weak, the sick, the outcast and persecuted. The Jesus I'm encountering again refused to accept the way things were and pointed people to what could be. The Jesus I see in these stories demonstrates the true power of love. And he has a singular focus: the cross. 

What is it about Jesus that fascinates you or drives you crazy? What about Jesus confounds and confuses you? How do you think of Jesus: as a wise teacher, a revolutionary, a comforter, a healer, a savior, a friend, or all of the above? What is your favorite story, moment, parable, or verse about Jesus? 

I hope you'll join us on Tuesday as we meet Jesus again as if for the first time.  I'm interested to see where this conversation will go.

God on Tap Tomorrow: Reflecting on Lent with Courtney Smith

God on Tap Tomorrow: Reflecting on Lent with Courtney Smith

Join us Tuesday, February 28th for God on Tap at Gypsy Blu for a conversation about Lent with our special guest conversation host, Courtney Smith.

Lent is the time in the church year where we shift our hearts and minds from the birth of Jesus at Christmas to the story of his death and resurrection at Holy Week and Easter. It is a time where we remember the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness and confronting the temptations of the devil.

As we move through Lent, it makes sense to talk about what it means to each of us on a personal level. On Ash Wednesday we talk about fasting, preparation, reflection, and remembrance for the 40-day Lenten journey to Easter; but everyone interprets and embodies these instructions differently.

What does Lent mean to you and how do you embody it for forty-days? Do you give something up? Do you vow to make a change? Do you fast?

Lent is a journey to the cross, to the death and resurrection of Jesus. While for forty-days our paths may take different shapes and forms, we all end together in the same place.

Just as no two accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus are the same, no two people celebrate and honor Lent in the same way. We look forward to seeing you at God on Tap and hearing your take on the meaning and expression of Lent!

Some questions to ponder: What does Lent mean to you? How does the season of Lent prepare you (or not) for the death and resurrection? How would Easter be different if we didn't have the season of Lent? What do you do for Lent and why? (give something up? fast? nothing?)

E-A-G-L-E-S: God on Tap Tomorrow Night

E-A-G-L-E-S: God on Tap Tomorrow Night

Join us for God on Tap tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 23rd at 7:30pm, upstairs at Gypsy Blu in Ambler. We are going to be talking about the Eagles amazing playoff run and the delight and meaning we draw from sports.

As we have seen first hand over the last few weeks, sports has the power to galvanize a community, bridge differences, unite strangers, and provide an outlet in a time when the world can feel so difficult and dark. What is it about sports and our hometown teams that connect so deeply for us? Does it help us feel connected to each other? Does it evoke memories of growing up and going to games as a kid? Is it just a pure moment of stress relief (or maybe trading one kind of stress for another)? 

Sports can also teach us valuable life lessons about playing as a team, working together, dealing with winning, losing, and adversity. Have you ever played a sport? What did it teach you?

Perhaps our feelings about sports, and football in particular, are complicated by what we know about concussions and the physical toll it takes on those who play the game, or because of the billions of dollars involved.

 

Sports have played an important role in my life. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are going to Orioles and even Colts games as I was growing up near Baltimore. When I moved to Boston, my first visit to Fenway Park was truly a religious experience. I also learned a great deal about life and about myself from playing individual and team sports growing up.

As we have seen this Eagles' season, you can't underestimate the power of sport. Let's jump in and share our excitement for the Super Bowl and share some stories about what sports mean to us.  

Get in Touch

God on Tap is hosted by members and friends of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church. Contact Keith Anderson for more information.