Thinkers Fellowship creator plans to tackle controversial issues

Published 7:50 am Friday, August 13, 2010

Ron Kelly wants to create a space for community members to come together and talk about issues relating to Christianity that are often shoved under the rug.

His goal is not to bring together a group of like-minded people — he wants to create a dialogue that challenges everyone involved to dig deep into their faith, look at the evidence and assess what it is each person truly can believe.

Starting Saturday, Sept. 11, Kelly will host weekly meeting of the Thinkers Fellowship at the Oak Park Mall — a group designed for anyone and everyone who has questions about Christianity.

Email newsletter signup

“Our goal is to take any questions people have had, do the research and answer those questions,” Kelly said.

Kelly wants people to know that there will be controversy involved. Of course, he wants to keep things peaceful, but the meeting will be a place for people who have different backgrounds and who are walking in with different ideas.

Ultimately, Kelly said the group will use the Bible as the source for research. But for those who question the Bible’s validity, Kelly will be referencing other sources, mainly a book written by a Chicago Tribune reporter, Lee Strobel. Strobel, author of the book, “The Case for Faith,” began a quest to disprove Christianity. An atheist at the time, Strobel interviewed scholars in the secular and religious world and, eventually, became a Christian.

Topics will include whether or not the Bible backs claims that women should not lead prominent roles in the church and whether or not there’s proof for creationism, for example. Topics will also touch on whether or not “rules” established by religious institutions are Biblical. Ultimately, religious itself will be examined and questioned.

Meetings will begin at 4:45 p.m. with a one hour seminar, open to anyone. The book, “The Case for Faith” will be available for $10 for those who wish to take part in the weekly meetings. Following the seminar portion, a laid-back worship session will be held, along with a short service. In all, the gatherings will two hours in length.

Kelly said those who wish to only attend part of the gatherings are more than welcome to come and go as they please.

A childcare room will be available for those who have young children. The gatherings themselves are recommended for teens and adults.

While the mall closes at 5 p.m., side doors to the mall will be open and marked with signs.

For more information, check out Kelly’s website,