To be read in full, in part, or substituted for something entirely different.
A spiel (pronounced “sh-peel”) must be given to each group so they can begin their conversation. Hanging out at a bar is fun, but something must be said to begin the deep theological thoughts. Words are necessary, giving helpful advice is just a bonus.
Everyone is not right, and that’s a good thing.
The concepts we talk about in theology can have multiple interpretations, but that doesn’t mean they’re all right. A lot of theology is investigating the words we use to see if they make sense and are if they’re adequate for God. Being wrong is how we improve our theology. Having all the answers means you can’t learn anything, and that’s just not true.
Pay attention to how people are using words.
We all use words like “love,” “God,” and “grace,” but the the reality is we often mean vastly different things. Try to listen to how people use words and if they’re using them the same way you would.
Ask for people to define what they mean.
We can’t have a good conversation if we are all talking past each other. It’s not embarrassing to ask people for a definitional a new word or concept, it’s just how you have a good conversation.
Make this work for you.
Have someone in the group keep an eye on the questions and try to make sure you’re staying on topic. At the same time, it’s fine to go down the rabbit holes. Sometimes, the rabbit holes can help us clarify something that we missed.
You won’t solve world hunger, you probably won’t even convince that person in the group you disagree with. Relax, be respectful, and when the questions run out, enjoy yourself and talk about something that isn’t theological. Hanging out can actually be pretty important for good theology too!