2017-2018 Faith, Food, Friday Season
Improbable conversations
on faith + politics

Meet the God Squad, the brains behind our series “Faith, Food, Friday: Improbable conversations for people of faith and no faith at all (because talking politics wasn’t hard enough). We hope you’ll join us as we explore what happens when people of good will who might not agree cross each others’ thresholds and break a little bread together. Whoever you are, whatever your beliefs, bring an open mind, an open heart (and an empty stomach) for a continuing conversation on the two topics your mother taught you to never broach in polite company. Faith, Food, Friday is $8 if you register through the Tuesday ahead of each program ($10 after) and free if you’d like to bring your own lunch (or not eat).

Jack Romberg | Rabbi
Temple Israel
Betsy Ouellette Zierden | Pastor
Good Samaritan UMC
Josh Hall | Pastor
First Baptist Church
Tim Holeda | Parochial Vicar
St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral
Darrick McGhee | Founding Pastor
Bible Based Church
Friday, December 1, 2017 @ noon | Bible Based Church

After a tragedy, people will say that those affected are in their “thoughts and prayers.” In the digital age, we promote social media awareness through a hashtag (e.g., #prayforparis). How can we genuinely express our faith, especially through public prayer, even in a religiously diverse setting?

January 12, 2018 @ noon | First baptist church
Safe Space vs. Freedom of Speech

From “safe spaces” to “trigger warnings” – in light of the freedom of speech, how can a diverse society function if we’re insulated from being confronted with opposing viewpoints, even if they seem mean-spirited? We’ll dive into recent examples of violent protests on campuses in opposition to invited speakers, most of whom were conservative.

february 2, 2018 @ noon | first baptist church
Groundhog Day Special
Sticks, Stones & Safe Space 2.0

In honor of Groundhog Day, we’re repeating last month’s topic! As bad manners and ill-tempers replace conversations of substance and charges of “hate speech” sprout like crabgrass on an un-mowed lawn, we seem to be in a societal-wide spitting match about just who is the most tediously offended.

March 2, 2018 @ noon | good samaritan united methodist church
Race in America: "Where Do We Go From Here?"

Shortly before his assassination, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King offered us this stark warning on race: “Together we must learn to live together as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.” Tragically, over half a century later, race in America is arguably a more divisive topic than in most of our memories.

April 13, 2018 @ noon | temple israel
Sexuality and Religion

The landscape of sexuality has changed so rapidly that we as faith leaders are each being faced with previously unforeseen dilemmas, especially as gender is being regarded as fluid rather than biologically grounded and dichotomous. How do we respond to our society’s ever-changing sexual norms?

Past event | September 2017
Echo, Echo, Chamber, Chamber:
Changing the world by escaping the echo.

It’s almost as if the Washington political class knew our fall launch God Squad topic, since the din of media polarization has never been on more full display than it’s been this last summer. We seem to be living in two parallel universes without a common understanding of anything – no wonder there’s a problem. Past time to call in the God Squad!

past event | October 2017
Do our politics now drive our faith?
Or is our faith still driving our politics?

In this polarized environment, are we allowing our commitment to our political ideology overrule our professed commitment to certain faith-based moral convictions? If forced to choose, do we side with our political tribe and rationalize away any moral conflicts that might create?

past event | November 2017
Freedom vs. The Nanny State

Where’s the balance between personal freedom (e.g., to smoke cigarettes, drink 60 oz. sodas, drive without a seatbelt) and the government’s role in ensuring the well-being of its citizens? And who is responsible for the consequences of that freedom? And while we’re on these easy topics, is healthcare a right of citizenship?

Past event | December 2016

Atomization. We live in an age when we can summon up a personally tailored life experience with the touch of a button. We’re so programmed to receive instant gratification that the complexities and compromise of building community wear quickly.      

Past event | January 2017
Life or Death? Faith and the Death Penalty

Life or Death? Faith and the Death Penalty This is a hard conversation, one with wide differences of opinion, but also one we’ve almost just given up on ever managing to agree on. So this season we’re having difficult, unflinching conversation The God Squad specializes in.      

Past event | February 2017
Islam and Western Liberal Democracy

Is Islam compatible with Western democracy? With the concerning escalation of rhetoric amid calls to stop Muslims from immigrating, we’ll have this conversation across faiths and with our Muslim friends, as usual. Joining us is special guest Dr. Parvez Ahmed.

The Freedom of Conscience

Freedom of Conscience It’s likely that there truly is no freedom more dear to Americans and more central to our national character than our freedom of conscience. But in the era where we seek agreement and approval, it rankles us when others don’t hold our same values and don’t hew to our personal moral compass. […]

Past event | god squad | april 2017
Exit the Echo Chamber: Fake News, Filter Bubbles and Faith

Exit the Echo Chamber: Fake News, Filter Bubbles and Faith Summer is right around the corner and we know you have plans – fishing, sunbathing, a summer read or two? Whatever you’re up to, we say you add just one more to-do: “Save the planet by escaping the echo chamber.” Doable.      

past event | november 2016
Hope. No Matter Who Wins.

Hope. We figured we’d take the opportunity – before we know any election results – to find reasons for real hope.  Who better than the God Squad to give us a reason to feel a little better – whichever side of the aisle you’re about to fill in the bubble for on Tuesday.    

past event | october 2016
Why are we so angry?

Something seems different about the political anger right now – it seems to have escalated to a point where it feels that we’re actually in danger of losing our moorings. It feels like the ties that bind us are disintegrating in ways that feel unfamiliar and dangerous.