God Talk on tap

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God Talk on tap

Noah Sell, Arts & Community Writer

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This past Thursday night, Half Brothers hosted God Talk on Tap, an event that gives people a chance to sit down and discuss their faith, ask questions of people who may hold different beliefs and learn a little more about their neighbors in a relaxed setting. The event featured five faith leaders of different religions and beliefs who spent time at each of the designated tables to speak and answer questions about their faith.

 

The event typically takes place once a month, but this month it was put on as part of the tenth annual Interfaith Week. Interfaith Week hosts many other faith inspired events throughout the span of seven days, but was affected by the cold weather early in the week.

 

Chad Brucklacher is a campus pastor at Christus Rex, the Evangelical Lutheran Church next to Archives Coffee House, and has been an integral part of Interfaith Week since its beginning over ten years ago.

 

“It was something that began as a dialogue between our student organization and the Muslim Student Association back when we had a mosque being built near ground zero, and as I was talking with the Vice President of Student Affairs and for Health and Wellness, Dr. Laurie Betting, I was saying, ‘How can we have conversations that are better than the ones we are having in our national public and our national rhetoric?’” said Brucklacher.

 

Dr. Betting then introduced Brucklacher to the Muslim Student Association, where he met an officer with whom he created a group called the Muslim-Christian Dialogue, which met for four weeks.

 

“We had these conversations back and forth about, ‘What does it mean to be Muslim? What does it mean to be Christian? How are we the same? How are we different?’ And we walked through that together because the reality that we knew very little about one another, so it was an educational experience trying to teach ourselves about who our interfaith neighbor is,” Brucklacher said.

 

From that experience they posed the question “How can we broaden this group to include more than just Christians and Muslims?” From that, Interfaith Week was born.

 

“There are a lot of different interfaith neighbors that we don’t know very much about, but that doesn’t keep us from pretending that we know them, or judging them for things we think we know about them. But our educational process, learning about each other, can help bridge that gap and make us a little bit more sympathetic, or a little bit more friendly, towards each other when we get a chance to know one other in a more personal way.” Brucklacher said.

 

Interfaith Week has only grown over time, and it now has at least thirteen different faith groups connected to it. For the past two years, the event has even been given its own budget by the University, since it was taken under the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, Cara Halgren.

 

“She created a budget for us to host the week, and she’s created a staff-person, Jeff Gibson, who works in Student Involvement and with diversity and inclusion, as the person overseeing Interfaith Week now. And this year is the first year where I am no longer the coordinator as a volunteer, but there is a staff-person connected to UND coordinating all of the events, so I am just a participating member,” Brucklacher said.

 

Brucklacher explained that God Talk on Tap is typically aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 because their generation seems to be moving away from organized religion, but isn’t necessarily any less spiritual than other generations.

 

“This represents a chance for us to be a more moderate to progressive group to say, ‘You can be religious, but it doesn’t have to look like what you imagine it to be.’ Instead we can have faith conversations and whether you’re religious or not religious, it doesn’t really matter because I think that we as human beings kind of want to have those kinds of conversations, and we don’t have to be limited by where we come from or if we have any faith at all. I think people are curious, this provides a way for people to ask their questions in a judgement free zone,” Brucklacher said.

 

Brucklacher goes on to say, “I think sometimes when we step into religious groups, we feel a sense of urgency to have to convert to their way of seeing the world, and I think it’s nice to have a format where you don’t feel threatened by your questions or their responses, but you can step into a more honest curiosity and dialogue and just learn something about them that you may not have known. So the goal I think is to try to create an environment where we’re not trying to convert one another, we’re trying to learn from one another.”

 

If you’re interested in attending the next God Talk on Tap, they are held on the first Thursday of every month at 7p.m. at Half Brothers Brewing Company, and will begin meeting again in March.

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