Pub Theology on Hell’s Half Acre


Pub Theology in Fort WorthI had a great time in Fort Worth, Texas, last week. I started the week co-preaching at The Search on Super Bowl Sunday with one of my emerging missional church heroes, Rev. Dr. Suzanne Castle (see video below).

Then on Tuesday night, my friends at The Table in East Dallas collaborated with The Search and The Eucatastrophe in Fort Worth to put on an unofficial “Pub Theology” night during “Ministers Week” at Brite Divinity School.*

(*”Unofficial,” that is, until they announced it to everyone at the conference and invited everyone out for the discussion. Over 100 people showed up!)

Nathan Hill at The Table made a goofy flyer, using a photo of me looking like a Muppet and calling me a “missional theologian and writer.” OK, not bad. I’ll take it.

We met in the “Half Acre Hall” upstairs of The Flying Saucer brewpub in downtown Fort Worth, on the plot of land once known as “Hell’s Half Acre.” I spoke for a little bit on participatory church, and then Phil Shepherd (a.k.a., The Whiskey Preacher) interviewed me, followed by questions submitted via Twitter and shouted out by people who were there. Somehow we got a roomful of people to be quiet and listen for nearly an hour!

Phil recorded the whole thing so you can go download and listen to it if you’d like. I realized listening back to it myself that when you have to shout everything you’re saying (in order to be heard), you really have to believe the things you’re saying. I hope my passion for God and God’s mission in the world — and how the Church (and our churches) hopefully fits into all that — comes through.

If you do take a listen, I hope you’ll take the time to let me know what you think, any follow-up questions you might have, and whatever pushback you would have for me. I’d love to get that feedback and to keep the conversation going.



I then finished out the week by presenting my workshop on “Missional Transformation” twice during the Wednesday afternoon workshop time at Brite’s “Ministers Week.” I was excited to meet and talk with a number of people who are already planning on coming to The River Gathering retreat that Phil Shepherd and I are co-leading in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 23-25.


Next stops:
I’ll be in Atlanta next week for a retreat with other leaders thinking about the future of the Church and asking themselves, “Can these bones live?”

Becky Knight and I will be co-leading a seminar on sexuality and social media for parents in the Los Angeles area on Saturday, March 10. It’s open to the public, and there’s a party at Tripp Fuller’s house on Saturday night!

The Fund for Theological Education is hosting a conference in Asheville, NC, March 15-17, which I’m looking forward to participating in. We’re hoping to have a concert on Thursday, March 15, in the Century Room at Pack’s Tavern, so if you’re in the area, come hang out with us!



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Posted on 02-15-2012


  1. John Longard says:

    February 15th, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I asked the same question to our transition team (can these bones live again?) after listening to our church’s most influential leader basically say, “we are what we are and we can’t really change who we are.” after he went on with his idea of getting someone to plant a church that can take over our building, i asked this question. lots of silence.

  2. LC says:

    February 15th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for the vocabulary to understand what’s been wrong with some churches I’ve been in: “The only way to participate was to join a committee.”

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