What do beer, Jesus, and justice have in common? “They’re some of my favorite things,” quipped Ricardo Tavarez who studies at Calvin Seminary and attended a Pub Theology gathering with the CRC’s Office of Social Justice in April.

Pub theology is a way to have open conversations about things that matter. Over beers (or Cokes, if that’s your pleasure), people all over the country are gathering at breweries to talk about faith, life, current events, and justice (www.pubtheology.com). The Office of Social Justice at the CRCNA recently invited Calvin Seminary students to join them in a targeted Pub Theology conversation — a way to build bridges between their two worlds. “Our staff talks all the time about how great it would be to have a better connection with seminarians,” said OSJ staffer Kate Kooyman. “When I was in seminary, I would have loved to have a place to make connections between what I was learning in class and the justice issues I was so passionate about. So we thought… why not? Let’s invite them to come out for beers and see what happens.”

On the last Thursday of every month, Calvin Seminary students are invited to join OSJ staff in conversation around the week’s most interesting justice topics. At the April gathering, students talked about a range of topics: whether Indiana’s recent law was a matter of religious freedom or LGBT discrimination, the role of the church in a broken immigration system, and whether a Pilsner was a respectable choice when a good Porter was available.

There is a long-standing Pub Theology that meets at Harmony Brewing on Wednesdays, and this is not meant to be competition with that group. “Calvin students should go to that too!” Kate Kooyman declared. “All we’re trying to do is get to know emerging leaders in the CRC, learn from their ideas about ministry and theology, and develop a friendship that could last as they head into ministry in our denomination.”

By Kate Kooyman

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