.- Denver Theology on Tap has found a new place to meet after it was told by a previous bar to find a different venue due to a “controversial” talk by Auxilary Bishop James D. Conley.
Katie Mullen's Irish Restaurant and Pub opened its doors to a crowd of Catholic young-adults from around the archdiocese on Feb. 15, where Dr. Tim Gray of the Augustine Institute spoke on “Religionless Christianity.”
“They welcomed us with open arms,” Chris Stefanick, archdiocesan director of youth, young adults and campus ministry, told CNA on Feb. 16.
Stefanick was glad the group was able to find a new venue for Catholics to gather in a public place and said Katie Mullen's welcomed their business.
“There was nothing remotely awkward about the experience,” he said.
On Jan. 26, Bishop Conley spoke to over 300 young adults at Stoney's Bar and Grill in Denver – less than five blocks from Denver’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception – on the topic of “Atheocracy and the Battle for Religious Liberty in America.”
Organizers of the event were told shortly after to find a different location because the bishop's talk was “too controversial.” Some of the bar staff also refused to work the event again.
At the Feb. 15 Theology on Tap event, Dr. Gray spoke about the trend of “Religionless Christianity” as most recently seen in Jefferson Bethke's viral YouTube video which professes love for Jesus, but hate for religion.
Not only has Christianity been pushed out of the public sphere, according to Dr. Gray, but American Christianity has sought to distance itself from the Church.
He added that among many non-denominational Christians, there is a common perception that the Church is “unnecessary,” but a relationship with Jesus Christ is “essential.”
However, Christians cannot accept the King and reject his Kingdom of the Church, Dr. Gray said. “That is foreign to the Scriptures and the plan of God.”
Even during his ministry, Christ's words were not fully welcomed wherever he went, Dr. Gray noted, citing Luke 4:28-30 which recounts the people of Nazareth attempting to drive Christ off a cliff in response to his controversial teachings.
Dr. Gray's quip that Jesus must have been preaching at Stoney's received loud cheers from the crowd.