It might be another undergraduate bull session, fueled by beer and pizza and youthful enthusiasm.
It might be, but it’s not.
Talks on Tap is a spiritually fueled bull session sponsored by the Second Presbyterian Church and led by youth minister Colin Kerr. And none of this is to deny that there is plenty of beer and pizza on the table as questions and ideas are bandied about.
At the March 28 session of Talks on Tap, at Andolini’s on Wentworth Street, the subject was forgiveness and the guest moderator was Second Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Cress Darwin. The subject was chosen in connection with the showing of the film The Power of Forgiveness the following evening at Second Prez.
Directed and produced by Martin Doblmeier, (see www.journeyfilms.com) The Power of Forgiveness explores the personal and social, psychological and physiological aspects of forgiveness. Rev. Darwin had viewed the film and came fired up with questions for the crowd of about 20 students, mostly from the College of Charleston: Who profits most from forgiveness? he asked. What is your responsibility when someone refuses to respect your rights or your dignity? What happens to your relationships if you do not learn to forgive?
The questions launched more than an hour of spirited discussion and debate — just another night in the short history of Talks on Tap (www.TalksOnTap.com). Held every second and fourth Wednesday, TOT seems designed to stir controversy. The last session dealt with global warming. The April 10 discussion will take on medical marijuana, and will be led by a state senator who lost his wife to cancer and now leads the fight to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina.
Colin Kerr thrives on controversy. A product of Westminster College, in Fulton, Mo., the 26-year-old youth minister has served as editor of a collegiate partisan magazine (which party, he will not say), founded a nonpartisan political journal, created the American Coalition for Socio-Economic Scholarships, and served as the Westminster campaign director for a presidential candidate in 2004 (again, no party affiliations revealed). He is the author of Guerilla Missions for the CofC and is writing a book on Christian political philosophy. And when he is not ministering or politicking, you might find him surfing and skimboarding.
“Each issue brings out a different crowd,” Kerr says. “Sometimes we have as few as six or seven, sometimes as many as 25. We have a different issue at each session and we always have a lively discussion. That’s one of the things that led me to the ministry — the idea of bringing people together, helping people come to consensus and understanding on controversial topics. There are some things that people will never agree on, but at least they should be able to understand and respect someone else’s point of view.”
Kerr brings his own range of views to his ministry. A Christian since the age of 13, he has experimented with everything from Orthodox to charismatic faiths. He came to Second Presbyterian four months ago and seems to be comfortable in the Holy City.
Talks on Tap is a way for him to get to know the city and for curious people to get to know each other. “We will never run out of topics to talk about,” he says. “That’s one thing we can be sure of.”