No Filter

Theology in the Pub

This new venture, run jointly by Holy Trinity and Roehampton Methodist Church is aimed at getting us out of church and into an environment in which growing numbers of people feel more relaxed and able to join in the conversation. Sharing our experiences of faith, spirituality, ethics and the meaning of life over a drink  in a relaxed environment, the group is called No Filter, to show that no topic is off-limits.

The aim is to create an atmosphere where those of all faiths and none can be comfortable, where even those who go to church regularly are made to take one step back from well-worn certainities, where the structure is kept to a bare minimum and open discussion is to the fore.

Networks of such initiatives, such as Pub Theology, Theology on Tap – and see the article here from Praxis Communities, have recently sprung up in Britain and further afield. Groups might advertise a structured series of topics, or just use an open format and a short talk might be given to get the ball rolling. This might be quite provocative, although almost always a humorous element would get everyone in the mood, and would always avoid sounding “preachy”.

Our series, meeting at  The Telegraph in Putney Heath on the first Tuesday of every month, started in October 2017 with a launch event  led by the Radio 4 Thought for the Day speaker, Prof. Tina Beattie, and was attended by about 30 people from inside and outside the parish. The event was kindly subsidised by Peter Linacre, the landlord of the  pub who provided drinks and nibbles on the house, and allocated some friendly staff to wait on us for the evening. The Telegraph makes the point of wanting to be a community pub and host groups of this kind.

Our first series deliberately ranges very widely, asking whether there’s any point to religion these days, an evening of sharing our own experiences, discussions on truth and lies, suffering, harm and healing and a controversial evening on sex! The closing event of the year explores friendship and love as metaphors for God in today’s manic world.

One of the things that people find very difficult about formal church is the lack of oppportunity to join in and ask questions, together with the worry that saying something unorthodox would cause embarassment. No Filter and other Theology in the Pub ventures are designed to get everyone talking, and all sorts of communities are now finding this a very valuable thing to do. Church people who’ve slightly lost track of how far the world has moved on can have their eyes opened, and friends and neighbours can be equally surprised at hearing a contemporary, relaxed account of faith experience, as we very much take an experimental, “what if” approach. Keeping all jargon to a minimum, the aim is to help everyone tp pitch in and make a contribution.

 

Feedback so far has been really encouraging, and its never too late to join in. If you’d like to hear more, or get on our mailing list, please contact John Moxon on 07377066334 or email him via [email protected]

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