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!

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

God on Tap Tomorrow Night: Mapping our Spiritual Landscapes

God on Tap Tomorrow Night: Mapping our Spiritual Landscapes

Join us for God on Tap tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28th at 7:30pm upstairs at Forest and Main. Our topic will be Mapping our Spiritual Landscapes

It's that time of year where many people begin to take vacations and head off to the shore, to the mountains, to explore the city, or travel to new and far-flung places.

What role do these places—some of which we visit every year—new places—and even the everyday places in our everyday lives play in our spiritual lives? How and in what ways do they become sacred space to us?

Every summer my family goes to a cottage on a small lake. The first jump in the lake, which marks the beginning of my vacation, always feels like a re-baptism. The water is crisp and clear. It seems to pull all the heat and tiredness out of my body and completely refreshes and renews me (as does the time at the cottage.)

Do you have places like this? Places where healing waters flow, or of inspiring horizons, or places of creativity or quietude? What are those places for you? Is it your backyard, your workshop, the beach, the mountains, or even the front porch at Forest & Main?

Belden Lane, who studies and writes about spiritual landscapes, says: “The sacred place becomes the point at which the wondrous power of the divine could be seen breaking into the world’s alleged ordinariness.”

Where does that happen for you?

Lane also says, "Above all else, sacred place is 'storied place;' Particular locales come to be recognized as sacred because of the stories that are told about them."

Let's share some of those stories tomorrow night and together map our spiritual landscapes this summer.

God on Tap Tonight: What do we mean by Religious Freedom anyway?

God on Tap Tonight: What do we mean by Religious Freedom anyway?

Hello friends! Join us for God on Tap tonight, Tuesday, May 31st 7:30pm upstairs at Forest and Main. Our topic will be a timely one: What do we mean by Religious Freedom, anyway?

There has been a lot of talk in the new over the last many months of religious freedom laws, most notably in North Carolina, but “religious freedom” laws are widespread across the country

I wonder: what do we mean when we say religious freedom? Or, to ask it another way: what is the freedom of a Christian? (Because it seems these laws are designed to “protect” a certain kind of Christian perspective.)

That was a topic that good ol’ Martin Luther took up back in the day in a whole essay on the subject and it boiled down to this for him:

“A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”

So, Christians are totally free in that they are justified by God’s grace. But in response to that grace we are called to love and serve our neighbors as Christ did for us. For Luther, our freedoms are tempered, and they are tempered by service to our neighbor.

In addition to this understanding of Christian freedom, Luther also talked about the way government and faith interact. He called it “the two kingdoms.” He said one kingdom is the spiritual kingdom, the kingdom of God, which concerns matters of the soul. The other kingdom is the kingdom of humankind, which keeps good order in the physical world and is ruled by human institutions of government, schools, etc.

Luther said that both of these kingdoms are established by God hold sway over the believer.

But what happens when these two kingdoms collide? (Luther himself struggled with this question.  He actively advocated with the authorities of his day on moral and religious grounds. He also notoriously stood by as the government put down a Peasant’s Revolt, where many protesting peasants were killed.)

When is civil disobedience permissible? When Henry David Thoreau refused to pay taxes to support the Spanish-American war? The non-violent protests of the civil rights movement? Refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, or patrolling bathrooms at Target?

So, some questions for tonight: 

What are the unique freedoms and responsibilities Christians have?

How do we balance our religious and political lives—where do they connect and where do they diverge?

Is the religious freedom of one person or group more important or imperative than another? 


Get in Touch

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