"Beer Me, Jesus" came across as poorly conceived and poorly written, from the juvenile title and lousy cover photo to what I assume must be unintentional humor (Aug. 26). As an acquaintance of mine said with regards to the article: "It must have been a slow news week."
The articles doesn't reveal much about who Dan Davis is, other than a college-educated, married man who may or may not believe in Jesus.
An agnostic is defined as "one not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god." If Davis truly is "agnostic every other day," why bother being an associate pastor in a church? Maybe he was trying to be ironically hip and edgy. Or maybe it was the beer talking.
One of the most entertaining aspects of the article involves Davis' contemplation of "the gay issue." Initially, Davis is against the gay issue. Then he's supportive of the gay issue as long as it involves only his immediate family. Then when he's good and buzzed from several pints, he's for the gay issue. Yeah, that sounds like someone I'd be interested in learning the values of Christianity from. Or agnosticism. Or social justice. Or whatever Davis is teaching and preaching at Catalyst.
What I believed was going to be an article about Davis and Catalyst Church ended up being a random mess about Davis, Catalyst, Prop. 8 and Arcata's Trinity Baptist Church. I blame the beer.
I hope the NCJ produces better in the future.
George Anthony Watson, Eureka
Have you heard the one about an anti-theist, a Baptist pastor and the local town heretic who walked into a bar ... oh wait, that was an NCJ cover story!
After Catalyst's Sunday night service this week, which consisted of an apology and some clarity for a bit of miscommunication on my part surrounding a few theological issues published in the article -- more about that on our website: provokechange.org -- I joined Deric for sushi.
He's a great guy and we share many similar bits of vision for trying to make the world a better place. We have our differences, too. He is driven by a type of humanism, I by what I understand to be Jesus' teachings. But there is enough common ground to try to make our community better together. As a matter of fact, his girlfriend told me about some of the activism she has been involved in over the last few years and offered to help mentor us in some strategies. It was very generous of her, and we plan to take her up on the offer.
Deric is an anti-theist who sees organized religion as harmful to society. I assured him we are unorganized religion. He sees religion as a potential cancer. I said we're the nicotine patch of churches. In the end we can both see how many real problems face our world (from poverty, to environmental crisis, to trigger-happy cops...), and how religion at best is often a distraction from dealing with those things, and at worst can even make things worse. But I think where Deric and I finally part worldviews is that I authentically (not ambiguously) see Jesus as offering radical teachings and modeling a way of life that really can transform individuals and societies.
Thanks for taking a risk to run a story about religion. I know it's outside your normal purview. But I think it has sparked some meaningful discussion, and at least a few hilarious comments on your website.
Dan Davis, Co-Pastor, Catalyst Church