The Book

So…  it’s official!  I’ve been offered a book contract.  The publisher is Cascade Books, a division of Wipf and Stock. They are out of Eugene, Oregon.

About Cascade Books:
Established in 2004, Cascade Books is the most selective of the four imprints of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Under this imprint we publish new books that combine academic rigor with broad appeal and readability. Encompassing all the major areas of theology and religion, Cascade Books has published such major authors as Stanley Hauerwas, Jürgen Moltmann, John Milbank, John Howard Yoder, Margaret Miles, and Walter Brueggemann.

What’s the book about?
Well, it is a book about doing theology at the pub (>shock<).   It will be comprised of stories, musings, and theology viewed through the prism of our regular Thursday evening gatherings.

Working Title:
Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God (what else?)

From the proposal:

From London to New York to Ann Arbor, people are gathering in pubs and bars to communicate, connect, and learn from one another over the topic of religion, of all things.  In Pub Theology, pastor, writer, and pub theologian Bryan Berghoef draws from his own experience in one such setting in Northern Michigan.  Speaking to fellow Christians, Berghoef explains how they must turn their evangelism mentality on its head:  from being those who need to evangelize others to those who need to be evangelized by others.  Through anecdotes, stories, and theological musings, readers will discover how to move from a place of preaching to a place of listening, from a place of teaching to a place of learning.

Tension:

  • Reality:  We live in a culture driven by fear of ‘the other’.  Other religious views, other sexual orientations, other political views, other ways of being in the world: these are no longer perspectives we read about in books or hear about on television.  They are held by our neighbors, our co-workers, perhaps even our friends, but also by those we may never meet.  We react to these perspectives too often from a perspective of fear.  And we respond to this fear by getting louder with our message, by withdrawing ourselves from the culture to our own safe little enclaves, from which we toss grenades of ‘truth’ over the wall, often hoping to cause more damage than true positive change.
  • Hope:  If the church wants to have an impact on an increasingly post-Christian and pluralistic culture, it must shift its emphasis from preaching to listening.  It must move from the prideful position of teacher to the humble position of student.  It is no longer our turn to stand and lecture.  It is time for us to take our seat and listen. This is no easy shift.  But it is critical.  It is time for the church to move beyond its fear, to come out from behind the safe walls it has constructed and learn to actually inhabit this world we all share.

From the author:

bryan
“More than ever it seems that we as a culture are afraid of people who are different than us. This is especially true in the arena of faith.  I have been involved in conversations about God at the university level, in Europe, in the States, in a Muslim culture, in the pews, on the streets, and in pubs. I am convinced that if we are willing to sit at the same table and listen, we will be changed from evangelists who see others as targets to convert, to fellow human beings – potential friends to love and understand.”

Bryan Berghoef


If you have a story or thought from a night you’ve attended a Pub Theology gathering, post it here – you never know – maybe it’ll be in print!

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