Newman University Associate Professor of Theology Joshua Papsdorf, Ph.D. recently spoke at a monthly event organized and sponsored by the Wichita Diocese called “Theology on Tap.”
Papsdorf said he spoke July 14 about St. Augustine’s life and teachings.
“That’s kind of my area, the early Church,” he said. “I talked a little bit about [St. Augustine] and some of the ideas that I wrestle with and try to make sense of – what he writes and what he teaches.”
“Theology on Tap” is a program aimed at young adults ages 20 to 30. It takes place at Loft 150, 150 N. Mosley St., on the second Tuesday of each month. Typically, the event draws anywhere from 50 to 100 participants, Papsdorf said.
Papsdorf said there are not many fellowship or events aimed at that age group in the diocese. Typically, he said, events are available within the parish or ministry work for children in primary and secondary schools, newlyweds, and adults, but not young adults. “Theology on Tap” was put in place in hopes to fill that void. Newman students and alumni can often be found at the monthly event.
“[St. Augustine] talks about how salvation works and the effects of original sin, and a lot of people see his teachings as very strict, or even harsh in some cases,” Papsdorf said. “So I was trying to talk about how this is a hard teaching for people – especially in today’s world – where we don’t like to judge anyone for anything. I was trying to explain why he reached those conclusions based on his life and experiences. I wanted to [give] a better understanding of how the Church’s teachings develop. That it comes – not just from books and professors – it comes from people living the faith.”
Papsdorf’s lecture’s point was to help young people understand that although Augustine was a theologian and a pastor, he was working with people and had his own struggles. Papsdorf said he wanted listeners to understand why and where Augustine’s views of salvation come from.
“A lot of Christians today both in the Church and in other denominations still hold a position pretty similar to Augustine’s,” he said. “A lot of people see it as really harsh and negative. For Augustine, its more about how great God is for saving us sinners.”