Is the Bible fake news?
Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?
Aren’t all religions the same anyway?
These are the questions from one local church’s approach in welcoming an open conversation – over dinner and drinks at New Realm Brewery.
Church of the Holy Cross on Daniel Island is changing the way the community engages with matters of faith through Theology on Tap, an informal gathering of minds who aren’t afraid of difficult topics.
The idea began in October 2022 when a men’s group from Holy Cross engaged in a weekly Bible study at New Realm and dared to venture beyond the traditional church setting. For four consecutive weeks, they opened their discussions to the public, encouraging individuals to pose questions about the Christian faith.
The response was overwhelming, prompting the organizers to transform the experiment into a monthly event that started in January 2023.
Pastor Jonathan Bennett, the church leader behind monthly discussion, shared the inspiration behind this innovative initiative: “Being outside of a church building in a neutral and more social space encourages those who might feel awkward in a church to come and be a part of this.”
So what exactly happens at a Theology on Tap event?
On the third Wednesday of each month (excluding December and the summer months), attendees gather at New Realm around 7:30 p.m. After some socializing and refreshments, a guest speaker introduces the topic of the evening, sparking curiosity and contemplation among the audience. A brief break follows, during which
attendees can jot down their questions anonymously.
The evening culminates in a 45-minute panel discussion involving local pastors, addressing the audience’s questions. The event wraps up promptly at 9 p.m.
The range of topics covered at Theology on Tap is as diverse as the crowd it attracts. Discussions venture from intriguing questions like “Is God a Republican or a Democrat?” to thought-provoking discussions such as creationism vs. evolutionism.
The November event will explore the topic “Why is God so down on women?”
Pastor Bennett, reflecting on the goals of Theology on Tap, said: “Our hope is that through Theology on Tap, people will get answers to some of the tough questions that life and faith throw at them, and realize that God loves us to ask these questions! He is not anti-intellectual, but he created our intellect and wants us to wrestle with
life’s deeper questions so that we might come to know him better and help others do the same.”
The informal setting and anonymity provided by the event’s question submission process often fosters an environment where curiosity is celebrated, leading to deep and meaningful conversations about spirituality. From high school students to those in their 80s, Theology on Tap draws between 40 to 80 people, underscoring the
community’s interest in exploring their faith in an unconventional setting.
Russell Seymour, a regular attendee of the group, said that he appreciates how the Christian panelists use their knowledge and experience to go beyond Christianity. He notes that despite the tough topics, the panelists do a great job of answering questions in an understanding and constructive way.
“Theology on Tap is for those, like me, who wish they could raise their hand during a church sermon and ask the priest a question or seek clarification,” Seymour said “It’s also for those that may have questions about faith, but may feel uncomfortable attending a church service.”
Marlo Greene and her husband Travis make sure to attend the nighttime discussions every month.
“It’s one of my most anticipated nights of the month,” she said. “It truly opens up conversation about topics that most people question all the time, Christians or not. It gives us clarity and confidence about each topic and even spurs on discussions here at our home for weeks after attending.”
In a world where spirituality and inquiry often stand at crossroads, Theology on Tap provides a refreshing intersection where questions are welcomed and faith is explored with an open mind.
Don’t miss the next discussion over brews and Bibles, happening Nov. 15 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.