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Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God Paperback – June 12, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Three things that I love: beer, conversation, and God. If you love even just two of those things, this book is for you. Berghoef writes honestly and candidly. He crafts stories that are humorous, engaging, and challenging. I, too, was discontent with how the church forbid conversations about other faiths (and said you couldn't drink beer). It will challenge readers to enter into a nonjudgemental conversation with others, where it is not necessary for you to have all of the answers. There is a contagious excitement in this book and it does not let go of you from beginning to end.
--Caleb Trimble


''Bryan Berghoef has given us the most complete presentation to date of what pub theology is, why it exists, and what it contributes to the lives and faiths of an increasing number of Christians. With his conversationally written and accessible reportage, he has also created something close to a manual for those who want to initiate a pub theology circle or simply find and join one.''
--Phyllis Tickle, author of ''The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why''

''Some of the best theological conversations happen over a beer at the pub. Bryan Berghoef captures something of the relaxed and relational dynamic that makes these discussions so pleasurable, while at the same time wrestling with serious theological questions. So pull up a chair, order your favorite drink, and settle in with this delightful and stimulating book. Invite a friend as well--the conversation's just getting started.''
--John R. Franke, author of ''Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth''

''Pub Theology is a wonderful, whimsical, and wise story about what happens when a pastor with more questions than answers goes to the pub instead of church.''
--John Suk, author of ''Not Sure: A Pastor's Journey from Faith to Doubt'' and former editor of ''The Banner''

''This is a book about God's freedom and ours! Bryan Berghoef invites us to pull up a chair and dares us to converse about what matters. No fear! This engrossing and transformative story about how to live an open Christian life will save, stir, and strengthen the faith of many.''
--Samir Selmanovic, author of ''It's Really All About God: How Islam, Atheism, and Judaism Made Me a Better Christian'' --Wipf and Stock Publishers

From the Author

"My argument in this book is simple: good things happen when we sit down at the same table together and talk honestly about things that matter - and frankly, having a beer doesn't hurt."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610974220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610974226
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bryan Berghoef is a pastor, writer, and pub theologian. If you like beer, or talking with friends, or thinking deeply about spiritual and philosophical topics -- you'll like Bryan's writings, particularly his book: "Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God."

From the author: "My argument in this book is simple: good things happen when we sit down at the same table together and talk honestly about things that matter - and frankly, having a beer doesn't hurt."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kroese on October 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Disclaimer: Bryan Berghoef is the husband of the cousin of a guy I went to college with. His kids swam in my pool and proclaimed it to be the best part of their California vacation. In exchange, Bryan gave me a copy of Pub Theology.

As I was reading Pub Theology, my thoughts alternated between, "Wow, this is such a great idea," and "Wow, this is so embarrassing." Allow me to explain.

Pub Theology is about an idea. The idea is this: let's get together with other people and talk about theology over beer. That's it. That's the whole idea. Not exactly rocket surgery, as I've been known to say after I've had a few beers myself. You'd hardly think you'd need to write a book about an idea like that. I mean, it's a fairly short book, but still. An idea like that needs a flyer, or maybe a pamphlet. Pamphlet is a really strange word. It's kind of creeping me out. Pamphlet. OK, moving on.

The embarrassing part is that I can see why Bryan did have to write this book. You see, in Christian circles, there's a long tradition of discussing theology. It works like this: we meet with a bunch of other Christians in the church social hall, open with prayer, have coffee and windmill cookies (type of cookies may vary by denomination), listen to a presentation by some recognized authority (generally a pastor) and then discuss the topic amongst ourselves for 22 minutes. Often there are breakout groups and worksheets involved. At the end, the leader presents the answers to the questions and we mark up our worksheets. Then we close with prayer. I daresay that most North American Christians have never seriously discussed theology in any environment that was not ultimately controlled by some religious authority (church, Sunday school, Christian school, Christian camp, etc.).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Enesta on December 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Let me preface this review with the fact that I am by no means a Christian, nor a non-believer. A skeptic at heart, I came into the book and the concept of Pub Theology warily. I had never heard of Pub Theology or even met Bryan, but the book found me by chance.

That being said, it was a delightful read. He's wise beyond his years and brings us a message of love, understanding, and openness. Do not let the word 'theology' turn you off - it's relevant life-enriching information no matter your belief system. Whether you come into this as a veteran on the subject or as a fresh mind, you'll find value. Worst-case scenario it's a fun read on an interesting subject and a wonderful refresher. Best-case, you're going to start seeing things differently and come away with some very useful information.

I was invited to and attended a Pub Theology event while in midst of the book. If you have the opportunity to visit one, do not miss the chance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ruble on July 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
(Full disclosure: I'm a regular attendee of the author's Pub Theology gatherings, so you may want to take this review with a grain of salt. On the other hand, I can vouch for the accuracy and honesty of his account, so there's that.)

"Pub Theology" makes me hopeful. It's about sitting down with people and talking about ideas, and that's something that few people bother to do any more. Even fewer bother to talk about ideas with people who disagree with them. In "Pub Theology" Bryan Berghoef has provided a pattern for starting (and continuing!) conversations with those who disagree with us - conversations which can move beyond argument or debate and into the realm of communication and actual understanding.

Pub Theology - the practice, and the book - is mostly about talking. Not always talking about God, but always talking within a community that respects and appreciates itself and each member. Talking in this way is a skill, and it doesn't always come naturally. Some people have a hard time expressing their thoughts in a group, and some people have a hard time listening. But as with other skills, it's something you can acquire. The ability to understand others and to make oneself understood even when you disagree about your fundamental values and presuppositions is a wonderful thing to have. Through the anecdotes and insights in this book, Berghoef explains how to create an nurture a community that fosters these skills in its members, and shares some ways that community has shaped his faith and ministry for the better.

I can imagine this book being frightening to some; Berghoef touches on ways in which religious traditions can make the possibility of communication with those outside the tradition seem dangerous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew F. Goode on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
While I was an undergrad Religious Studies major at a state university, I had some of the best interfaith conversations of my life...at the bar. Our regular group consisted of an atheist, a Wiccan, a Catholic, and a Methodist (me). There were others from the department who would join us at times. This group was informal, formed quite organically, and was the setting of some of the most rewarding theological and philosophical conversations I ever had. Then something happened. I went to seminary. Although I continued having theological and philosophical conversations at the bar, they were mostly with other Christians. Now I am a pastor, and my conversations have become even more limited.

Bryan Berghoef has both invited and challenged me to return to the bar and to the transformational conversations that happen when we gather with folks that are different from us. "Pub Theology" is a insightful yet approachable blend of personal narrative, community narrative, theology, and oh yeah...beer. Bryan's honesty about his own journey and the risk of denominational disapproval should be an encouragement to all pastors who feel that they are hiding part of themselves in order to fit within the system. Bryan stepped out in faith, not to do something new and cool, but instead to authentically express the ways that God was calling him to be in community and conversation with others.

"Pub Theology" is not a how to book for the next cool new fad in church outreach. "Pub Theology" is not necessarily even new or cool. Instead, "Pub Theology" is an authentic expression of the very old idea of coming together around the table in community with others. Deep conversations in pubs have existed as long as pubs have.
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