Like most campus ministers, Rev. Michael Wagenman is always looking for new and compelling ways to make a case for Christianity to university students. The search led him to create an unorthodox event: a theological study group that meets at the local student pub.
Wagenman, who leads the Christian Reformed Home Missions-funded campus ministry at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, started “Theology on Tap” last year.
The discussion group, which meets at the Grad Club on the university campus, is designed to bring together Christian students and their non-Christian friends for academic conversations.
The event, which Wagenman started with the help of some Anglican and Roman Catholic friends, features guest lecturers who speak to students on a range of theological topics. The informal atmosphere allows students to listen and discuss issues more freely.
“Theology on Tap is a cooperative, ecumenical effort to probe the depths of serious Christian reflection on faith, life, culture, and morality in a ‘come as you are’ atmosphere,” explains Wagenman.
Wagenman launched the group by inviting Brian Walsh, the Christian Reformed campus minister at the University of Toronto, to lead a theological reflection titled “Shock and Awe: Milton Friedman, Naomi Klein, and Jesus.”
This discussion, which focused on economic issues, attracted a sizable crowd who heard about how the kingdom of God calls people to serve an alternative economy with care and compassion.
A recent “Theology on Tap” event featured a screening of The Ordinary Radicals, a new documentary film about faith and social justice. Some of the filmmakers came to the screening and stayed for a lengthy discussion.
In the 2008-09 school year, Wagenman is hosting five “Theology on Tap” lectures and discussions.