God on Tap Blog

We post news and updates about God on Tap and discussion topics for upcoming gatherings. Feel free to leave a comment and sign up to receive new posts by email!

How to Have Difficult Conversations

How to Have Difficult Conversations

Join us for our next God on Tap, Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30pm upstairs at Forest & Main. Our topic: How to Have Difficult Conversations with our special guest Carly Cubit.

We are living in polarizing times and many people are finding it difficult to have conversations with family and friends with differing political, religious, or cultural points of view. It is really tough. Relationship are being strained and tested. But we know that if we are to bring more healing, understanding, and love into the world we need to be able to have difficult and courageous conversations.

Our special guest helps people do just that.

carlycubitCarly is a small group facilitator and facilitation trainer, meaning that she brings people together to have radically-open conversations. She was trained and employed at a center at Penn State called World in Conversation: Center for Public Diplomacy, where she facilitated conversations on contentious social issues including race, gender, western-middle eastern relations, and climate change. She also developed the curriculum for three courses at Penn state in group facilitation. While her work was focused on local conversation between diverse groups, she eventually worked on a grant with NATO and facilitated virtual conversations between Afghan civilians and military cadets. She says she is still consistently challenged by tough conversations, especially with the people closest to her – and that’s just human!

God on Tap, we like to say, is about conversations at the intersection of life and faith. We believe in the power of conversation to learn, grow, and bring people together. This will give us more and better tools to have those conversations together and with the people in our lives.

God on Tap Tonight: Christmas and Being God-bearers Today

God on Tap Tonight: Christmas and Being God-bearers Today

Join us tonight for a Christmas edition of God on Tap, 7:30pm upstairs at Forest & Main. Our theme is Christmas and how we, like Mary, can be God-bearers today.

On many levels 2016 was rough year—the divisiveness of the presidential campaign, heartbreaking images from Syria, an outbreak of hateful acts and speech in our country, and the death of some beloved public figures, musicians, and more. 2016 is leaving us with a collective, "Ugh!"

John Oliver summed up the feelings of this exhausting and challening year for many people when he literally blew it up on his TV show: 

 

via GIPHY

 

In such difficult years and challenging times, the message and promise of Christmas feels all the more important and poignant. Jesus himself was born into a difficult and challenging time—under Roman oppression in first-century Palestine, born in a stable, greeted by lowly shepherds. His mother, Mary, is a symbol of faith and hope for the way she accepted God's call to bear God's Son, and for the way she brought Jesus into the world. Jesus was the light shining in the darkness, which the darkness could not overcome.

Two questions:

Given this year we've experienced together, what are you looking for in this year's experience of Christmas? Is it hope, peace, promise, reconcilation, time with family? How does the Christmas story speak to you this year? Is it different from other years, or the same message that you need to hear afresh?

And how can we be God-bearers in our world today? How can be bring to birth the justice and joy, the love and peace of God in our world?

Centuries ago, the German mystic, Meister Eckhart, wrote, "What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the son of God fourteen hundred years ago, and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? We are all meant to be mothers of God. God is always needing to be born.”

How is God being born in you this year? How will you bring that to birth in our world?

You know, we usually wait until January to make our new year's resolutions, but for some reason this year, this Christmas feels like a much better time to it. What are your Christmas resolutions for next year and beyond?

See you tonight!

 

God on Tap Tomorrow: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

God on Tap Tomorrow: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.” - Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Join us for God on Tap tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 22nd at 7:30pm, upstairs at Forest & Main. Our topic is inspired by Henry David Thoreau, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Spiritual teachers of all creeds urge us to simplify our lives—both for our own spiritual well being, and for the well being of our neighbors and the world. As Gandhi once wrote, “Live simply so that others may simply live.”

Why is simplicity in life important? Why is it so valued among spiritual traditions? And why do we make our lives so complicated?

And why is it so damn hard to simply? What steps have you tried or contemplated in simplifying your life?

It a timely topic as we enter into Thanksgiving week. Thanksgiving is a time to feel and express gratitude for our lives, to acknowledge what is right in our lives rather than fixate, as we often do, on what is wrong. It is a time to be reminded of the things that are most important in life.

How can we take stock of what is most essential this Thanksgiving, and then hold onto that and live it out through the busy holiday season and into the rest of the year?

God on Tap Tonight: Let Us Pray...

God on Tap Tonight: Let Us Pray...

Join us tonight, October 25th, at 7:30pm upstairs at Forest & Main Brewing Company for God on Tap, where we will be talking about prayer.

Prayer is one of the core religious practices across the worlds religions, but one we have not yet discussed at God on Tap. So, here we go!

- What role does prayer play (or not) in your spiritual life?

- Why do you pray? How do you pray? What affect does it have on you? Or, why don’t you pray?

Soren Kirkegaard once wrote that “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” Does that ring true?

- Does prayer change God’s mind, change what happens in the world, or just change us?

- Have you ever been disappointed when something you prayed for didn’t happen? How did you deal with it?

There are many ways to pray: silently, within a group, using icons, writing, walking, enumerating our concerns, giving thanks….

As a spiritual practice, prayer seems endlessly customizable to the one praying, and flexible enough to change with us over the course of our lives.

- Has prayer changed for you through the seasons of your life? How?

I’m looking forward to hearing your take tonight. See you then!

God on Tap Tonight: Our Spiritual Guides

God on Tap Tonight: Our Spiritual Guides

Join us for us for God on Tap tonight, 7:30pm upstairs at Forest & Main. Our topic is “Our Spiritual Guides.”

Who are the people in your life, or authors, thinkers, ministers, gurus, yogis or even celebrities that have been spiritual mentors for you? Why? How have they shaped you?

Faith and spirituality never happen in a vacuum, they are always mediated through relationships with others, whether they are people we know, authors we read, or spiritual leaders or profound thinkers that we watch or listen to. Sometimes they are people in our very families, faith communities, sometimes they are ancient saints, or contemporary writers, musicians, or artists.

This topic springs to mind because in churches this time of year, there is a lot of focus on religious formation and the teachers, mentors, and leaders that facilitate that learning for children, youth, and adults. 

One of my favorite books on spiritual mentoring is called Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul and tells the story of the author, Tony Hendra, and his friend and Benedictine monk, Father Joe. Throughout all the ups and downs of Tony’s life it was his conversations and relationship with Father Joe that helped to see him through, find his way, and truly saved his soul.

But that spiritual formation doesn’t just happen inside the church walls, and it isn’t just facilitated by religious leaders. In her book, Choosing our Religion, Elizabeth Drescher describes how those that might consider themselves more spiritual than religious find and follow a variety of spiritual guides, or, as she calls them, “companions on the journey.” She writes, “Teachers, books, movies, music, journals, statues, and the like…provide content—ideas, inspirations, and suggestions, for more authentic living.”

Who are your spiritual guides, your spiritual influences? Who have been your companions on the journey?

See you tonight! 

Discussing Creativity at God on Tap Tomorrow Night!

Discussing Creativity at God on Tap Tomorrow Night!

Join us for God on Tap tomorrow night, July 26th at 7:30pm at Forest & Main Brewing Company in Ambler. Our topic: creativity.

When the universe seems to be sending you signals, its best to pay attention.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about creativity—how it works, what fuels it, what inspires it, and what prevents it.

From a podcast reminding its listeners of the importance of boredom for creativity, to reading authors like Stephen King and Anne Lamott describe their writing process, to Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk about your elusive creative genius, to a conversation just this past week with my friend like Jim Kast-Keat about how he creates great projects like his Thirty Seconds or Less videos. (He describes his creative process as something akin to throwing spaghetti against a wall and seeing what happens.)

Creativity. Its a common thing. We create all kinds of art, theatre, music, school lesson plans, woodworking, gardens, beer, designing, writing, business plans, you name it. We may not have created ourselves, and yet we do create and craft and shape our lives as we tend to our relationships, work, and callings.

Human beings create things. That’s what we do.

While creativity might be something we all share, I bet that we would each describe it differently. Everyone seems to have there own unique creative process. How is it that creativity is universal and yet so particular to each person?

While scientists are understanding more about the biology of creativity as they study and better understand the brain, creativity also remains, at least for me, a very spiritual thing. In my experience, creativity is something that often comes to me, not from me, and its not something I can necessarily predict or control. Even if I know the morning is my most creative time and that my favorite coffee shop seems just the place to spark my writing, I still don’t know what will happen until I sit down to work. It feels like a gift. It feels like the work of the spirit.

Here are some questions to get us thinking:

What do you create? What is your creative process? How would you describe it? What do you think about the science and spirituality of creativity?

See you tomorrow!

Photo credit: Alice Achterhof

Get in Touch

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