I went to respond to a question from another thread,
and found myself on a rant. So, I am posting a new thread so that I don’t thread-jack the other topic.
I want to reiterate that the overall RENEW program looks good. I only have a problem with my experience with ToT.
I started attending Theology on Tap (ToT) during an extended stay in near MSU campus. Allegedly, “[ToT] is a speaker series that takes place in the fun, relaxed setting of your favorite local pub.” Perhaps it was the college setting, but young adults at MSU were away from their parents for the first time and used ToT as an excuse to go to a bar – covering going into a bar as a religious event.
I found it to be a dumbed-down version of CCD, and when alcohol was thrown into the mix, it was a mess. Yes, there were people who overdrank. There were hecklers who were not a part of the group who grew increasingly disrespectful. There was a shouting match that was almost violent. It was scandalous. It made the whole group look bad.
Now that I’ve moved to the DC area, I’m not sure I’d try it again. According to this local article, this is “a way of integrating religion into parishioners’ daily lives.” Spare me. Anyone really think it takes the bar scene bring Jesus back into one’s life? This isn’t the way to bring the message to the streets.
My preference would be to move ToT to a parish center, or even a hall, rather than people getting liquored up, emotional, and disrespectful. Not that drinking in moderation can or should be exclusive from a healthy Christian lifestyle. However, from what I’ve seen specifically in ToT, the maturity level of the people targeted by this outreach movement don’t take this as fellowship. According to Kate Blaine writing for the USCCB, “as [contemporary] Catholics entered their 20s and 30s, they began to drift away from the church. [ToT] is attempting to bring them back.”
“Attempting” is the right word. Instead of re-discovering a solid foundation of faith, they’re flirting and drinking. It’s a last-ditch effort to bring young people back to the Church, destined to be another failed social experiment until or unless we get back on track with proper catechesis. My experience left me feeling like I was being pandered to by a watered-down Christ and watered-down cocktails.