Pub Theology: New book blends beer and conversations on God
Pastor Bryan Berghoef of the Watershed Church in Traverse City has taken the conversations he's had with people from all walks of religion--and even some atheists--and written a book about it. Pub Theology--Beer, Conversation, and God
, is the collected musings of numerous people who met up in a pub in Traverse City and shared their views on religion over a few beers.
In 2008, Berghoef, who studied theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, read about "pub theology
" being practiced in a church in London. He's been bringing people together for beer and deep conversation ever since.
Berghoef believes people of all religious beliefs as well as nonbelievers should get together and hammer it out over a few beers.
"We've had atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, Humanists, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and Christians of various backgrounds all gather at the pub at Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City," he says.
Good conversations start in the pubs and good things come from good conversation, according to Berghoef.
"Some of the most important moments in the history of the church took place in the pub," says Berghoef. "Luther kickstarted the Reformation over a few pints. The Church of England was started in the White Horse Tavern."
The church pastor's belief in open dialogue among people of different faiths is reflected in the type of church that Watershed has become. It should come as no surprise that his book will appeal to people who are looking for a little different religious experience, one that draws ideas from other faiths.
"I sense the primary audience will be Christians who are tired of simplistic, pat answers about why their version of the faith is superior, and are intrigued about what others believe or don't believe," he says. He hopes readers will be open to the idea of being "informed by the many faiths that comprise the religious landscape."
The book, which is available at Amazon
and for ebook readers, is part narrative, telling a little about Berghoef's story, part anecdotal, explaining how Berghoef's particular group got started, and of course many unscripted conversations from the pub. After a few chapters into it you'll feel like you're reading a collection of essays, says Berghoef.
"My argument in this book is simple," Berghoef says in the introduction to Pub Theology. "Good things happen when we sit down at the same table together and talk honestly about things that matter--and frankly, having a beer doesn't hurt."
Berghoef and his wife Christy moved to Traverse City in 2005 to start the Watershed Church. According to their statement on the church's website
, Watershed is for folks who "aren't interested in finding God in some sort of pre-packaged formula; but in the raw, earthy stuff of everyday life…many of us have found that there is something to this man named Jesus... and that when we know more of him--we know more of God. When we live more like him--we feel more whole, more healthy, more alive."
Berghoef will be signing the new book at Horizon Books
in Traverse City Saturday, September 22. Pub Theology was published by Cascade Books in Eugene, Oregon.
Neil Moran, of Sault Ste. Marie, writes promotional materials and does internet marketing for small and large businesses. Visit his website at neilmoran.com.