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!

Forgiveness: The Hardest Part of Faith?

Forgiveness: The Hardest Part of Faith?

Join us for God on Tap tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 28th at 7:30pm, upstairs at Forest & Main. Our topic will be forgiveness.

If you ask me, forgiveness is one of the hardest parts of faith and yet is absolutely central to the teachings of Jesus and many other spiritual teachers.

To forgive someone or a group of people for real or perceived wrongs they have done to us is a challenging thing. We often harbor the hurt others have caused rather than forgive them. It can do as much harm to ourselves as to the others involved, perhaps more. As Malachy McCourt once said, "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die." 

Sometimes forgiving ourselves is even more difficult.

Forgiveness can seem so hard, and yet Jesus forgave the people who had crucified him even as he was hanging on the cross. And just recently the family members of those slain at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston forgave their killer. A Washington Post article entitled The Power of Forgiveness in Charleston it reads, 

That is the right phrase to summarize what we have seen in Charleston: the strength to love. Forgiveness is not something soft or passive. It demonstrates spiritual maturity, strength of character, depth, discipline and steadiness. It is the sign of a determined faith, fighting against every natural human inclination. “I acknowledge that I am very angry,” said Bethane Middleton-Brown, the sister of one of the victims. But “she taught me that we are the family that love built. We have no room for hating.”

A daughter of one victim told an interviewer that everyone, including the killer, deserves a “second chance.” She made her point confidently and without bitterness. Forgiveness is also a form of freedom — a refusal to be ruled by anger or resentment. It is like laying a burden down.

Some questions to get thinking:

How would you define forgiveness? What does it look like, feel like?

What has been your experience in giving, receiving, or withholding forgiveness—for yourself or others? 

People often say that the hardest person to forgive is yourself? Is that true?

People say, "Forgive but don't forget." What is the relationship between forgiving and forgetting?

What can we learn from the example of the members of Mother Emanuel AME?

Why did Jesus talk so much about forgiveness?

Let's Talk About Charleston

Let's Talk About Charleston

Join us Tuesday night, June 23rd, 7:30pm upstairs and Forest and Main to talk about Charleston. 

Like you, I have just been heartbroken this week over the shootings at the historic Mother Emanuel AME (American Methodist Episcopal) church in Charleston, South Carolina. With 9 shot dead, ranging in ages from 26-87, including their pastor, at the hands of a 21 year old white supremacist, who sat with them at Bible study for an hour and then open fire and cut them down. In the days since, we have seen heartbreaking scenes of grief and mourning and powerful examples of forgiveness and hope. What has this event and its aftermath called forth in you?

Let's talk about it.

Let's talk about our grief.

Let's talk about racism and what we can do to dismantle it.

Let's talk about how we go about making our world at better, more compassionate place—the kind of place Jesus described as the Kingdom of God.

Let's talk about how we have encountered, been affected by, or through action or inaction contributed to racism.

Let's talk about what we can do together to be sure the deaths of the Emanuel Nine are not in vain.

Let's talk.

God on Tap Tonight: The Danger of a Single Story

God on Tap Tonight: The Danger of a Single Story

"Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." - Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Join us tonight, Tuesday May 26th for God on Tap upstairs at Forest and Main. Our topic tonight is "The Danger of a Single Story." 

The Danger of a Single story is an idea coined in a TED talk of the same name by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the theme we are exploring this spring at UDLC in connection to Pastor Dyan's Sabbatical. Here's the TED talk: 

(If you are reading this on email, you might need to click the title above to view the video on our blog.)

In brief, as in the wise words of Obi-Wan Kenobi above, sometimes we get trapped in single cultural, political, religious, or personal story, and we miss the richness of the varieties of other cultures or experiences. We project our experience or story onto other people or other things and miss the beautiful complexities can be present there. 

New God on Tap Video

New God on Tap Video

Hello friends! I want to share with you this great video about God on Tap that was put together by our synod as a way of encouraging other congregations and communities to think creatively about how and where they gather and make meaning. I think they did a great job. Thanks to Jack Freeston, Dan Endicott, and Deanna Daughtery for providing interviews! Our next God on Tap gathering is on Tuesday, May 26th at 7:30 upstairs at F&M. Our topic will be out next week. - Keith

Note: if you are receiving this via email and can't see the video, please click here to view it on the God on Tap blog.

Embodied Spirituality at our next God on Tap

Embodied Spirituality at our next God on Tap

Join us on Tuesday, April 21st at 7:30 upstairs at Forest & Main for our next installment of God on Tap! Our topic will be embodied spirituality. 

Sometimes when we talk about spirituality and faith we focus on spirit, soul, faith, and knowledge and forget about the role our bodies play in our spirituality and faith.

I was reminded of this listening to the This Everyday Holy podcast by my friend Mihee Kim-Kort, in the episode called “Bodies Matter.” She points out that the resurrection stories in the Gospels emphasize again and again that Jesus was risen in bodily form. The disciple Thomas insists on putting his fingers in the scars on Jesus’ hands and side from his crucifixion (John 20:24-29). In the story of the road to Emmaus, the disciples don’t recognize Jesus until he breaks bread with them at dinner (Luke 24:13-35). Even then they think he is a ghost. Then he shows them his scars and eats a piece of fish just to prove he’s really real (Luke 24:36-49). She also reflects on the embodied-ness of her life and faith.

The body is important.

Our bodies are important—and an integral part to our spiritual lives.

God on Tap Tuesday: The Challenges and Gifts of Faithful Living

God on Tap Tuesday: The Challenges and Gifts of Faithful Living

Join us for God on Tap tomorrow night, Tuesday March 24th 7:30pm, upstairs at Forest & Main Brewing Company. Our topic will be the challenges and gifts of living as people of faith in today's world.

At our last gathering just a couple weeks ago, we started talked about the capacity of religions to do harm and to help. As the conversation went on, we talked much more personally about the challenges and tensions we experience living our faith. We talked about the tension in living between a capitalist economic system that leverages self-interest and an ethic of faith that emphasizes the interests and needs of others. We talked about the ways we try to make a difference and shine a light in big and small ways in a world that often seems so dark and troubled. 

What are the challenges you experience of living out your faith today? What are the gifts?

What are the tensions you experience between Christianity and culture? How do you negoitate them?

See you tomorrow night!

Image: Welling Court Murals in Queens, NYC, photo taken by Jes Kast-Keat 

Get in Touch

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