Sundays at 5:30, we get together for Pub Church in the dining room of Scholz’ Garten. Each session, we spark an honest dialogue about a topic that matters deeply to all of us as human beings. Each talk is initially opened up by a smaller conversation between Front Porch director, Dr. Stephen Kinney, and a carefully selected guest speaker from the Austin community, and then opened up to our congregation via a roving microphone. Throughout this dialogical worship service, live music from an exceptional Austin artist ties our theme together. At the end of the discussion, a radically-open Communion service is always offered.
Pub Church seeks to correlate our model for dialogue-based worship with the English “public house,” which is defined as a “community hub” by any number of linguistic authorities. Since The Front Porch is a church based on open conversation, we hope the title Pub Church will encourage those who attend to feel confident about voicing opinions in hopes of attaining not reason or excellence, but truth and empathy through the eyes of the Other. Pub Church is the core program of the Front Porch, with a panoply of our other interests rotating in orbit around it, sometimes supporting and and sometimes surpassing its prowess (check out our Easter Vigil in April if you want to witness what we’re talking about).
Our 2017 winter/spring season of Pub Church continues explores Dostoevsky’s compelling assertion that “beauty will save the world.” Beauty that takes our breath away opens our hearts. Once our hearts are open, we see the world and everything in it as beautiful. In our distracted world, where there can be much banality and ugliness, we need beauty. To be cut off from beauty is to fall into egoism, desiccation, and cowardice.
What is beauty? Well…it’s particular, dialogical, vulnerable, surprising, insightful, simple, complex, gracious, generous, alive, organic, transcendent, agile and nimble. Beauty connects, wounds, disrupts, overpowers, delights, terrifies, and heals. Can beauty save the world? Come join us in exploring this enigmatic idea at Pub Church, where folks feeling hemmed in by our fragmented culture find their chance to expand horizons, connect with others, and transform our collective vision of the world.
Past Pub Church guests include Evan Smith, Ray Benson, Turk Pipkin, Pittman McGehee, Alan Graham, Ed Clements, Michael O’Brien, Lee Leffingwell, Bavu Blakes, Neil Blumofe, Walter Moreau, Meredith Walker, Nelson Guda, Sen. Kirk Watson, and dozens more.
To listen to segments and entire conversations from pub church, check out The Front Porch’s new podcast, Porch Talk.
At The Front Porch, our core message is that church happens anywhere that vulnerable trust is generated by thoughtful dialogue with folks of all perspectives. We like to think of the spaces we create as intersections where compassionate community meets practical spirituality.