Brew Theology brings different worlds together; these worlds collide in an intentionally beautiful posture of respect, openness and grace.
This practiced value of open, tangible pluralistic dialogue would’ve felt foreign to many religious kids growing up with an agenda to convert someone over to their “superior” side of perceived truth. These colliding worlds are still very odd amongst many religious folk that are looking to "win" someone over to their team. Due to this norm from many people’s dutiful heritage, when guests visit our gatherings in the Denver community they desperately want to know, “Can I, in all seriousness, be genuinely honest here?”
This is a question newcomers have in the back of their mind, and we’ve sincerely heard people voice this question on several occasions.
So many people are suspicious with the important question lingering in their soul, “Where’s the bait and switch?”
I (Ryan) remember a friend of mine who now contributes to our gatherings by writing content and coming on some podcasts, asking me the 1st time we met, “What are you really doing here? Is this just one of those emerging thingies where you are going to start a worship service and try to convert everyone to Jesus?”
“Is there a secret agenda?”
“C’mon! Really, Ryan?”
My answer is a bold, resounding and heartfelt, “No!”
And for some people this answer is unsettling because many of us have come from a tradition that is so bait-and-switch agenda driven that if what we are doing isn’t leading someone to Jesus (or one's version of Jesus), we wonder if it’s worthwhile. That’s the worldview, the subconscious, and the embedded truth that many have yet to fully deconstruct.
Ultimately, Janel & I want to see these kinds of rich and deep, conversational communities that we experience in Denver pop up across this country because real, beating-heart-people across the faith spectrum profoundly NEED it today. Yet, I still hear from people who think I’m running an evangelistic ministry. Sure, it’s “good news” (if you wanna look at those words in their truest rootedness), but not an ounce of it is conventionally churchy and there is no proselytizing – no bait and switch game here. I had an hour-long conversation with someone who finally asked, “Okay. So, respectful dialogue is great and all, Ryan, but what’s the point? Is the goal to just let people BE and not have an agenda of leading them to Christ?” Another person asked, “Where is Jesus in the conversation?” I had another ministry leader ask me, “So, where’s the fruit in all of this?”
Don’t give me the fruit business, man! Those questions are foundationally missing the entire point and it may take a few high ABV barrel aged beers to finish those tough conversations.
But if you wanna get all fruity (and I’m not talking about the new fruit beer craze), how ‘bout the fruit is the fact that hardly anybody really does THIS open, interfaith dialogue community thing well in our polarized country, and we ARE doing it… I wanna scream, “The fruit is IN the conversation!” The conversations create deeper and more honest community for the common good! Can I get an Amen? Although, if I used the word, “fruit” with our BT people, they may start throwing fruit at me.
I’ve said this before, but sometimes it is critical we say the same message time and again before it really begins to sink in… There are many churches with incredible and gracious people across America (And I sincerely mean this because I do have hope and love for the church, and I believe many churches are doing incredible things in the world...) that have massive budgets, killer buildings, top-notched staff and great marketing that says, “All Are Welcome” (Yes! I do believe many of them actually DO Welcome all people with loving, open arms!), yet so many “Spiritual” yet dechurched people are not buying that “welcome” sign anymore. Sadly, it’s been overused and abused. Countless people who have left the church are looking to find belonging, but a place much different from previous places that promised “safe” belonging. And they aren’t looking to find a “one-size-fits-all" model of religious goods. Beloved yet disenfranchised human beings are looking for brave and beautiful places to work out their shit, and get real with other people that are going to allow them to be real in all of their weirdness, mess, crazy ideas and interesting journeys. Unhappy yet sacred humans who are trying to find the spiritual spark in new places are looking to be loved no matter where they stand across the theological, political, economic, racial, sexual and gender spectrum. Let's give people the opportunity to freakin' breathe!
I’ll say it again… The FRUIT is IN the conversation. Let’s collide and #BrewTheology with true openness, and a generous posture to learn and grow from everyone.