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Pub Theology

Pub Theology

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Published by Michael Camp
Mike and Dan discuss theology, the end times, Bible interpretation, and evangelism in their favorite pub. An excerpt from Confessions of a Bible Thumper: From Evangelical to Heretic on My Quest for a Reasoned Faith
Mike and Dan discuss theology, the end times, Bible interpretation, and evangelism in their favorite pub. An excerpt from Confessions of a Bible Thumper: From Evangelical to Heretic on My Quest for a Reasoned Faith

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Published by: Michael Camp on Mar 04, 2011
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09/04/2013

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PUB THEOLOGY
An excerpt from
 
CONFESSIONS
OF A
BIBLE THUMPER:
From Evangelical to Hereticon My Quest for a Reasoned Faith
by Michael Campwww.michaelcampbooks.com
Copyright © 2011 Michael Camp. All rights reserved.
 
PUB THEOLOGY
Thirty-seven years after that remarkable week in Dallas, Texas [at Explo - a large Evan-gelical conference in 1972], my friend Dan and I entered our favorite watering hole in Silverdale,Washington. We got lucky. We scored the last two unoccupied stools. Silver City Restaurant andMicrobrewery has some of the best food in Kitsap County (near Seattle) and an impressive ar-ray of award-winning microbrews. Dan and I frequent the pub to shoot the breeze. While mostpatrons talk about sports, work, and their personal lives, we have an obsession. We talk about re-ligion and spirituality and how they influence politics, public policy, and popular culture. Sportscome in a distant second.Dan is a semi-retired dentist who served in the Navy. He and his wife Gina, a dental hy-gienist, regularly put their Christian faith into practice by volunteering on a Dental Relief Teamthat goes to Senegal, West Africa every year, a practice I deeply admire. I’m also impressed withDan’s ability to stay trim despite his love of beer. Some people have all the luck. There he sat,slightly balding and gray but in great physical shape, putting my bursting belly to shame. At leastI still had a full head of hair.I would describe Dan as a progressive evangelical and an anomaly. Although he attends afairly conservative evangelical church, he is politically and socially liberal. Like Ann Lamott, hehas a hard time loving George W. Bush. He’s one of the few who welcomes my crazy ideas. Ginatoo, but she’s a bit more skeptical of some of my conclusions. Tonight Dan and I were meetingour wives for dinner, who were to meet us later. It was 6:30 and I had put in my name for a tablefor four. Since it could be as long as a thirty-minute wait and Gina and my wife, Lori, weren’tmeeting us until then, we made a beeline for the bar.“What’ll you guys have tonight?” asked a tall middle-aged man behind the counter.“Ah, let’s see; give me a Ridgetop,” I said, referring to their 
Ridgetop Red Amber Ale
.“Oh, and Brent, we’ll start a tab since we’re waiting for a table for dinner.”My love of beer had matured. I had graduated from Colt 45 decades earlier. After Dan or-dered a
Fat Woody
(a Scotch Ale) and Brent the friendly bartender served us, we looked around
Pub Theology from
Confessions of a Bible Thumper 
2
 
a bit to see who was there that night. The pub area with its row of tall oak tables surrounding theactual bar is open so one could see most of the art-deco-style restaurant beyond. You could alsosee the adjacent small but state-of-the-art brewery through towering windows with its four mas-sive silver brew kettles.As usual, the place was packed and buzzing with noise and laughter from a variety of peoplefamilies and couples in the restaurant and groups of men, women, and couples in thebar areaone of the community’s most popular pubs in this small Navy town.Sometimes Dan and I come with a friend named Steve. Steve is a theologically conserva-tive evangelical with a moderate streak. He enjoys a brew or two on occasion. Out of this motleycrew (Lori and I, Gina and Dan, and Steve and his wife, Sarah), it is usually Gina, Dan, and Iwho like to ask the tough questions about the Christian faith that we’ve noticed most believersare hesitant to address. Questions like, Why did God command the Israelites to destroy wholetowns, sometimes including women and children? Why do some of the actions of the God of the Old Testament seem at odds with Jesus’ clear teaching on love? Why do evangelicals tend tobe militaristic despite Jesus’ pacifist teaching? Why would a God of love create an eternal hell?Why doesn’t the church readily support environmental causes? This night, Dan wanted to talk about my book. He had recently read a draft of the manuscript. Since he actually liked it, it musthave been way beyond the shitty first draft stage.“You touched on so many things that resonate with me,” he said. “We’ve talked about alot of this stuff before, but now I see it with more depth. For example, your adventures inDallasI never went through the Jesus Movement like that.”After Brent plopped down our glasses of beer, Dan continued. “It was fascinating readingabout you experiences with your two friends. I’m curious. What do you think was real and whatwas phony at this Expo?”“Explo, not Expo,” I corrected him. “Well, I believe God was there at Explo. Yet, therewere some strange things that didn’t jive. I mean it was weird. People acted like Jesus wastucked away in their back pockets. Then there were the pushy witnessing exchanges. I don’t
Pub Theology from
Confessions of a Bible Thumper 
3

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Yes! Absolutely! I would definitely like to read your book!
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This sounds interesting, Michael. Good luck with your book.
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