We discuss theology in an informal setting and in an informal way. Moments of silence during the discussion are fine and actually a good sign. Participants are expected to speak concisely -- making a clear point, never monopolizing the conversation. There will be a facilitator at all times.
Also at all times during a theo cafe', we question ourselves and are critical of our own views and practices -- while still being confident enough to want to share what has worked for us in the past, what has led us to certain intimate convictions. In that spirit of reflection, we attend these discussions more to listen to others and to learn from them, never to lecture, never to try to persuade. Our theo cafe' is not a forum to repeatedly quote scriptures, to evangelize, to bear witness, to give advice, to teach "proper" doctrines, to judge others. Speaking of and owning your own lived experience will be plenty.
This sort of theo cafe' may not be for everyone. Mike and Guy have been hosting bi-weekly gatherings of this type for over a year, meeting in private homes in Orleans and Jefferson. Now we are adding a more public component to our "tried and true" formula -- meeting primarily in coffee shops and operating as a Meetup Group. We know what we want and we also know what we don't want. "Critical Christian", "Moderate/Subversive" are mere labels in our attempt to reach a certain population -- and maybe keep others away. These terms may or may not resonate with you. Even our use of the term "theology" may dissuade some folks -- but please know that it is not meant to make neither us nor you expected to be especially erudite, righteous or authoritative. Theo cafe' is meant to be a laid-back and funny time we share -- without sacrificing a sense of gravitas and humility. It is irreverent and reverent.
Mike studied and served as a Lutheran Chaplain and Guy an old-timer at teaching religious education and religious studies. Together we value offering a respectful but engaging space for all sorts of folks to freely share their theological journeying. So ... by the way ... what is "theology"? One impromptu definition could be that theology simply is:
 an investigation into the nature of the cosmic (and everyday) reality we humans find ourselves thrown into -- reality apparently greater, more awesome than what reason and logic, senses and technologies can encapsulate, and
 a study of the various human traditions and other human responses to such "mysterious" reality.
Here's another definition: "Who is Jesus Christ? How does his life impact the lives of the faithful? Christian theology is the intellectual discipline that seeks to answer these questions." (Phillip Cary)
Our group will remain focused on the Christian tradition -- revealed Christianity or not. Therefore, an insider's knowledge of functioning as a Christian -- whichever way you choose to define Christian -- is recommended and can actually be assumed by all participants -- be it a practical/tacit or an intellectual/explicit knowing of how a Christian functions. For example, we are not concerned about doctrines per se but we are interested in how a specific doctrine is capable of impacting us, or how a doctrine attempts to capture an element of some human/sacred experience.
Again, our discussions will be informal. RSVP and join us!