This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19
There is a very old joke in which a customer walks in to an antique shop and asks, “What’s new?” One of the tasks that we face as people of faith is making the very old story of redemption through Christ inviting for new ears to hear. How can we make church less intimidating for those who are on our periphery, and more inviting? How can we answer questions about faith in a setting that is not imposing? How can we share the important message of life and forgiveness in the gospel without beating people over the head with the scripture stick? How can we make “church” new?
The world that we live in today is full of people who are searching for meaning. Many of them describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. When you live in a culture where independence and individuality are prized, it can be difficult to engage people in a faith dialogue without driving them away or making them feel judged. We know that God is active in and with our community in other places than just the four walls of our church building.
With all of these dynamics in mind, I am excited to announce the first meeting of Theology on Tap. On January 31st, at 6:00 pm Calvary will be hosting a free flowing discussion of theological ideas at the Scoreboard Pub in Federal Way, 1200 S 324th St, Federal Way 98003. Anyone 21 and over is invited to join us. There are no questions or topics pertaining to life and faith that are off limits. Theology on Tap will be a safe place where burning questions about God, faith, and family can be addressed. And it will be in a non-traditional setting, a place most people would not associate with Christians.
I’m sure that some people may be wondering whether it is appropriate for us to meet in a bar and discuss issues of faith. Scripture tells us that wherever two or more people are gathered in Christ’s name that he is present. There is no better place for people to encounter Jesus than in the real world. Jesus was the master at meeting people in unexpected and new ways. We don’t know the impact our group may have on someone overhearing our conversations. They may even want to join in. That would certainly be a new way for us to increase our fellowship.
I encourage you to think about friends and family you want to invite to join us. Think of someone who may not come to church with you, but may go out for good food and good conversation. We may make some new friends and we will strengthen old friendships. It is a new thing, a path that has not been tried before, a way for us to enter into the wilderness and to seek the company of Christ along our journey. This is one of the many ways that Calvary is working to spread the Good News in the New Year and beyond.
In His name,
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Rev. Lori A. Cornell