"A mechanical engineer, a metallurgist/tradesman, a GIS analyst, a bi-vocational pastor/photographer, an attorney, an optical salesman, and a stay at home father of eight walk into a coffee shop and..."
This is either the start of a great joke, or it comprises what has become one of the best hours of my week, every week.
Any combination from two to six of these guys show up every Thursday morning at Cafe De Arts, a local coffee shop in downtown Waukesha. The group started 3-4 years ago and I have been part of it for about two years now. I was asked to be part of it by the pastor/photographer, but having just left a "Bible study" group that went rogue on me, I wasn't ready to commit. The funny thing is, not two weeks later the metallurgist/tradesman invited me to the same group. I figured it was God's way of smacking me upside the head and saying, "What are you waiting for?"
The group was originally built around studying a book usually, but not exclusively about spiritual matters, but that is really just a formal excuse to get together and have coffee once a week.
I say the hour we spend together is sometimes the best hour of my week because you never know where the conversation is going to go from week to week. We usually cover the book for at least a few minutes each week, some weeks it's much more. Then, the conversation winds and weaves until anywhere between 7:45-8:00 we disperse and go about our day.
Today's conversation was a typical week. It started with talking about the mechanical engineer's music gig (he's bi-vocational in a different sense) in Little Chute, WI. That led to what he was doing for Thanksgiving, which led to the dynamics of discussing faith matters with in-laws. From there it led to how we were raised shapes our faith to a point, at which time we either continue to grow in it or become stunted and married to dogma.
It circled around to how what we remember is not always as it happened. By this I mean, we remember what happened at the time, but much of what we remember is shaped by our first memory of that memory (including what provoked us to recall the memory.)
Then the attorney joined us, and the metallurgist/tradesman had to get to work. From there it went to the Biblical view on warfare and the slaughtering of the Canaanites. And much of the time we are dropping one liners that crack the whole group up, or asking questions that make each other go, Hmmm...
There's wit, and laughter, and camaraderie, and support, and teasing, and just a dash of accountability.
So, you see why I enjoy this group, right? It's like Thursday morning philosophical/spiritual/mental gymnastics fueled by Waukesha's best coffee. Today made me aware how little I know about the Bible and how I need to start reading it more in order to keep up with these guys. And I'm glad I listened when I was asked a second time. I call us the Thursday Theologians, but we're a much more motley group than that name denotes. Whatever we're really called I'm happy to be a part of it.