Tag Archives: community

Believers and the Barista Challenge

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/06
/six_reasons_why_your_starbucks.php

As is evident in past blog posts, I *Really Enjoy* coffee.  A flavorful brew just makes me happy.  If I’m honest, it is part of my daily routine.  Whether I make it at home or swing into the Starbucks in my building, it is, for the most part, a constant.

The thing is, I don’t just enjoy the drink, but the atmosphere.

The smells, the ambience, the crowd…and the Baristas!

Second to coffee itself, Baristas are the best part of the coffee culture.
(And can I just give a shout out to the crew at the Starbucks on West End across form Centennial Park?) 

Those cats know their stuff…and their customers.  And I don’t just mean their drink of choice.

They have noticed everything, from every hair cut to new glasses to “How was your vacation in Tampa last week?”  They ask questions and *gasp* remember the answer.

When Jeremy commented on my recent hair cut last week, I found myself strangely convicted.

You see, I’ve grown up in church.  I’ve done full time ministry.  I’ve served Jesus my whole life and I don’t think I’ve ever been as consistent at asking, remembering and following up as he is.

And isn’t that what ministry is all about?  Knowing God and knowing people?

I’m always so blessed when my barista friends remember a small detail or comment on something insignificant.  When I was on staff at a large church, I remember I felt so overwhelmed when they began pushing us to “get to know” at least three people every weekend and follow up with them at the next service.  I was so busy, remembering the little minutia was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

But you know what?  Jeremy is busy too.  Making coffee, working the register, stocking and cleaning and learning new products; and I guarantee there are more customers coming through his store every day than I interacted with in a Sunday at church.

But he still remembers.  He still asks.  He still cares.

It’s what makes Baristas great.  And it’s what makes going to get coffee, even though it takes more time and costs me more in the long run, worth it.

This got me thinking-church is the same way.

People can have their time with Jesus at home-every day even and they will grow.  But God created us for community.  How great is it we get to have Jesus and interact with people, who despite their busyness, care?  As it trickles down, it just gets better-they start to care and extend it to others around them.

Jesus is the purpose and let’s face it, enough in and of himself.  But the community found in a fellowship of believers, expressing concern and love opens a whole new realm of awesome. 

So, just as Jesus said if the people were silent, the stones would cry out in their place (Luke 19:40), I’m embracing and extending a challenge.

I’m not going to get a Barista love in my place.

It’s not just a command or a commission, but a privilege and an honor.

Let’s give Starbucks a run for their money and know those around us and care enough to follow up.

When is a time that you have been blessed by someone caring enough to know?  How can you extend that to someone this week?

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Toilet Paper and the Denominational Gap

A few years ago, I had a leader pose this question as an ice breaker for our leadership team.  Yeah, I was surprised too.  What’s your name, how old are you and do you fold, crunch or wrap your toilet paper?  I guess that covers just about everything.

Once our surprise and chagrin passed, there was actually dialog.  You got it-we talked about our preferred method of toilet paper etiquette and that progressed into why and sundry other bunny trails.

The other day, thanks to a random flashback, I found myself revisiting that conversation, and, as is all too often the case, the Holy Spirit made a clever warp drive leap to a word picture.

Denominations are like toilet paper etiquette.

Yes, you read that right.  Think about it.  Regardless of the church you attend, the focus is on getting clean and getting prepared to go back out.  Whether you fold, wrap or crunch (although, why anyone feels that is effective…just kidding) your toilet paper, at the end of the gig, the end goal is to get cleaned up and prepared to go back out.  It all comes down to preference.

Most of us have reasoning behind why we attend where we attend or why we affiliate where we affiliate or however you want to say it.  But for the most part, we believe the same things.  Jesus, son of God, born of a virgin, fully man, fully God, died to pay the price for our sin, rose again to finish the work and is the only source of restoration for the relationship of God and man forever more.  That’s the toilet paper.

How that message is presented or recognized-how it functions, etc, really boils down to taste.  The cool thing is-I’ve personally experienced awesome Churches that span the denominational gauntlet and I’ve seen God in those places, regardless of what ever Frist <fill in the blank> Church is displayed on their marquee…if they even have one.

So what if I fold and you roll.  The job is getting done.

Maybe I raise my hands in worship, maybe you reflect quietly.  Maybe you have lights swirling around and maybe I’m content with a clean, calm set.  Maybe you stand and kneel and connect to those who have gone before through prayers and affirmations that have been passed down while I freestyle and paraphrase the psalms.

It’s still worship, either way. 

So, why are we judging each other?  Why are we letting something as little as fold v. crunch separate us?  I mean, you wouldn’t judge your friend because they roll their TP and you don’t, right? (If you would…well, that’s a little sad).  We’ve bought into a lie that says my way or the highway, when I’m pretty sure God is the one who makes the fair or foul call on what is the narrow way and what isn’t.

Now, there is something to be said for the quality of the TP used (we’ve all been in the public restroom that have replaced the roll with the tissue squares that just don’t cut it).  Looking back at the list above, if one of those keys is missing, chances are you’re going to end up in a messy situation.

I’m just saying; let’s do our best not to confuse the aesthetics of a thing with the function of it.

So, if you are a roller, roll on.

If you’re a dancer, dance on.

If you’re a cruncher, crunch on.

If you’re a contemplator, contemplate your little heart out!

And we can all rejoice that we use toilet paper/are in a God glorifying community, as can those around us.

Do you roll, fold or crunch?
Do you have any denominational prejudice? What can we do to break free of being more concerned with a camp line that going after the people who have no camp?
    

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What do Church and Toilet Seat Covers have in Common?

We use them both to cover our butts!

Growing up in the uber health and germ conscious state that is California, I thought it was a law that bathrooms had to have seat covers.  I mean, God forbid you went into a seedy dive of a gas station that had the key connected to an empty jug (true story) and it didn’t come equipped with those thin paper covers that serve no purpose other than making us feel a smidgen better about the cleanliness of commode we are about to use (side note: don’t ever check the cleaning check sheet on the back of the door unless you are prepared to hold it until you get home…really, you’ll only freak yourself out).  But, pointless as they may be, when I moved to the south, I was shocked and honestly, just this side of appalled to find them MIA.  I work in a nice building in West End and even we don’t have seat covers.  Then one day, it hit me.  Church is like a toilet seat cover.

At least, that’s how we treat it.  When it’s convenient, we use it.  When it’s not, it makes a little uncomfortable at first, but as time goes by, we deal and after a while, apart from a brief memory, we don’t even notice it’s gone.  And really, we only used it to cover our butt, right?  If we sit down and think about it, does Church even really serve a purpose apart from making us feel better about the mess we’re surrounded by or live in for that matter.  Its ok, we’ve got Church, so nothing to bad can get on us…right?  Doesn’t matter that I’m surrounded by filth, because I’ve got this Church I can rely on/rest on/look to keep me clean. 

The sad thing is, Church was never meant to be a seat cover.  It was never meant to be a “make you feel better in the midst of your mess” entity.  Maybe if we think about it, Church is more like a bathroom.  It’s a place to get rid of your mess.  It’s a place to fellowship (come on ladies, half the time we’re in there, we’re talking or catching up).  It’s a place to find comfort and relief from the…burdens you carry.  And if you’ve ever been in a place where you can’t get to one for a while, it can make you very uncomfortable.  But it’s still a place maintained by people and all too often, it get’s left unattended because we’re busy or there are other more important things crying out for our attention and it’s allowed to slip by the wayside.  And as any family can attest, a bathroom can’t just be one person’s job to keep up.  If you use it, do your part and help with the up keep.  There are few things more annoying than cleaning a bathroom and watching people come in and use it and leave paper towels on the counter or drips all over the mirror or heaven forbid they don’t flush.  Yes, your pastor and the church staff set the atmosphere, but we’re all responsible for recognizing community for what it is and doing our part. 

Now, I’m not saying you have to go to church.  Nope.  Just like with a bathroom, you can rough it and let it be just you and a bush or a hole or a tree.  But honestly, that’s really not a good plan for anyone long term.  You can do it, but you run the risk of exposure to the elements, rashes (watch out if you forget tp and have to use a more natural means of cleaning up), and getting caught in a compromised position.  So, you’re right…you don’t have to use a bathroom, but let’s face it, it’s better than the alternative.   

So, let’s stop treating church as a means of covering our butt in the event of life messes/eternity and start recognizing it for the necessity that it is.

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