There are quite a few sights to see on Stillwater’s strip, from the palm trees at JR Murphy’s to the decorative walls of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. Another thing that can commonly be found in the Stillwater bars is a theological group.
Theology on Tap is, by all means, a modern religious group. They meet in local bars to have their weekly discussions, the idea being to have people meet in a comfortable, familiar setting to discuss topics relating to theology, without feeling any responsibility to agree or disagree with a statement. Although most may see this as contradictory, one of the creators, Justin Bensinger, argues that it makes the most sense.
“The public forum for today, whether it be fortunate or unfortunate, is the bar scene,” Bensinger said.
One of the other founders, Adam Stroud, stated that some people may consider a bar a simpler place to have these talks.
“This happens to be a way for people to find an easier or different way to learn about something,” Stroud said. “It’s more of an opportunity to explore ideas in a way that gives them a chance to be more free to talk about something without feeling any kind of pressure.”
Although the church is the traditional meeting place, Stroud explained that breaking away from that norm and customary idea of religion helps members to participate in the discussions.
“When you sit down at a sermon, you hear the message and then you go off to discuss with friends, but you never have the opportunity to ask a question in the middle if you needed to,” Stroud said, “This way we put people in a little more of a relaxed situation.”
Theology on Tap discusses theology rather than preaching a specific message. The group was created last year when a few friends decided they wanted to try to get away from the typical Bible study.
Members encourage people from all denominations to join, with the hopes of brining out new ideas about certain topics.
“If you surround yourself with people who think the same way as you do, you stop being challenged,” Stroud said, “You stop seeing the world from different perspectives, which is really important.”
During the meetings, the group chooses a prominent religious topic for discussion and proceeds to have somewhat of a debate. Often these debates lead to one-on-one arguments. Stroud said the arguments are vital to the group.
“We’re all from different backgrounds, so the butting of heads is what really fuels the group,” Stroud said.
Having a group of different religious denominations under one roof is seemingly disastrous, but those who attend Theology on Tap say there is a level of respect that must be upheld at all times.
Bensinger said that attending a meeting and experiencing a discussion can help people can grow stronger in their beliefs.
“A lot of people just don’t know how to defend their faith,” Bensinger said, “If you don’t know how to do that, Theology on Tap is the place to go.”