The Theology on Tap concept was first implemented in 1981 by Father John Cusick of Illinois as a way to make religious discussion approachable and relevant to more people. Since that time the concept has been adopted by independent groups across the US. There is no parent organization or standard format.
Groups are sometimes organized or sponsored by a particular denomination, but often they are grassroots groups that are interested in learning more about faith and religion in a neutral environment.
Logan Theology on Tap was founded by Isaiah Jones in 2017 and is unaffiliated with any faith tradition. The intent to promote interdenominational dialogue and explore religious philosophy.
Who can attend Logan Theology on Tap?
Anyone. But, you are probably more interest in who does attend and whether you will fit in. That’s a little more complicated. (Isn’t is always?)
Seekers, might be the simple answer. Most attendees are affiliated with a Christian tradition. The representation is somewhat fluid, but regular attendees include Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Mormon, and unaffiliated members. Others are exploring.
Weighting of men to women ratio is currently about 50:50.
As an unaffiliated group, there are no pastors, clergy, or religious officials, except when they are presenting. So, no one is going to hold you to any doctrinal paradigms or report you for heresy.
Do you use the Bible or other texts?
ToT meetings are intended for casual discussion and understanding, not proof-texting or argument. As such, we typically don’t dig into scripture. If a passage comes up in discussion, someone may pull out their smart phone. But, usually a paraphrase is sufficient for the purpose.
What are typical topics?
The following are some topics of presentations over the years.
- 7 Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
- Stages of Faith Constructs
- Martin Luther and the Rightful Place of Reason
- Islam and Modernity
- Jesus and Old Testament Prophecy
- Thoughts on Dying – A Pastors Experience
- The Doctrinal Place of the LDS Proclamation on the Family
- The Problem of Evil in Hindu Thought
- Catholicism to Yoga – An Individual Journey
Intimidated yet? Don’t worry, it isn’t that bad. Generally the discussions revolve around personal application and meaning. So, leave your PhD and titles at home.
What is the meeting format?
“Meeting” might be a bit too formal for most occasions. We are usually gathered at a table in a local restaurant. More popular topics may be held at other locations, so check the calendar and the Facebook Group for current information.
During the fall and winter, the first 15 to 30 minutes may include a short presentation by an invited scholar or specialist. This introduces the discussion topic for the rest of the evening.
In cases where there is no outside presenter, a ToT participant may prepare a topic for discussion. Sometimes, we just gather to enjoy some conversation, which inevitably leans toward religion.
Do you have any rules?
Be nice and be curious. ToT meetings are not a place to promote or push any particular view.
Adapting Krister Stendahl’s (1921-2008) three rules of religious understanding:
- We strive to understand other religions and ask the adherents (or scholars) of that religion and not its enemies.
- We don’t compare our best to their worst.
- We leave room for “holy envy.”
But, mostly, we enjoy understanding the faith journey of other people, even if (or, especially when) it is different from our own.