coffee shop

My evangelistic fame

Have you ever spoken a word of the gospel to anyone at my workplace? In my imagination, I see an interview about my evangelistic fame. I REALLY saw my past coworkers respond, “Huh?  PC? Famous for WHAT?  Well, I don’t know….PC was a great guy.  I mean I knew he was a Christian, but he didn’t come in here preaching or anything.  He was pretty cool about it.  He knew I was an alcoholic, and he still laughed with me.”  “You know,” says another, “now that I think about it; I can remember times when the store was crazy, and PC kept working hard to help where he didn’t really HAVE to.  I don’t know how many times he helped us in a bind.  I never noticed it then, but in retrospect, that guy really did work hard.”  “Yeah,” chimes another.  “He knew my husband was killed in a car accident last year, which left me to raise 2 teenagers alone, and PC listened to me every time I was stressed by kids, pained over my loss of companion, or just tired of work.  You know what?  I really think he cared about what I was going through, and I think he shared the joy somehow.”  Similar stories go around in this hypothetical interview of my coworkers.  Then the journalist goes to the coffee shop I ALWAYS go to.  He talks to ALL my friends and family…Christian and NON-Christian.

After its over the imaginary article reads, “PC Walker was an evangelist.  PC writes in his book, “Christians are so devoted to speaking the gospel (God's love) to or at people instead of living the gospel toward people.” (pg. random #, see footnote).  His living out of the gospel reached more people than all the sermons he ever preached, more than any book he has ever written."

I hope that, in reality, I will be remembered by everyone I will have moved on and left in my past as a man who lived the gospel better than he preached or wrote it…..

Breaking up with your coffee shop

Coffee shops are basically relationships.

You know what it is like to go to a certain coffee shop for quite a while and find, later, another coffee shop you would like to start attending but struggle inside over the decision to change.

You know what it feels like to go BACK to that old coffee shop because you happen to be in the area.  You know the sense of disappointment you get from the barista when they ask you,

"Hey!  Where have you been?  We haven't seen you in a long time."

You know the answer...the true answer.  You know you have fallen in love with another cooler place with much better coffee, cheaper prices and better looks, but you cowardly remark, "Yeah!  I've been real busy lately."

For 6 months?  You've been "busy" for the last 6 months????

Of course not!  You know that you've found a better place to go, but you don't want to say anything there.   You don't want to face the looming sense of cheating you feel deep down.  You know where you have been the last several months, and it hasn't been "busy".

Its also kind of like running into an old girlfriend who you have long forgotten but who is still kind of into you.

You know what I'm talking about in those times you are sipping freshly roasted and brewed coffee while you enjoy fast broadband wireless Internet in your plush, plump chair...the whole time thinking:

"I'm so bad!"

Starbucks in the year 2111

Sitting here in Starbucks, I have a wonder in my mind.  I wonder how much art has been created here at this Starbucks.  How many books!  How many poems!  How many songs! How many sketches turned paintings!  How many screen plays!  How many dreams and brainstorms! I find myself wondering how many of those things have been created here, and then I wonder how many Starbucks there are in the country; in the world.  How many coffee shops are there out there?  These little easy bake ovens for art everywhere!

What are these places and what about them lends the heart to create?

Then I wonder what these places will look like years from now.  It is so cultural now, and yet I am thinking many years from now.  I am thinking about vacations I have been on to areas with old ghost towns, museums, and reenactments.  It makes me wonder if 100 years from now there will be families walking through THIS Starbucks layered in dust and time.  Will the tour guide be wearing a tattered green apron and pointing out different things the kids could not care less about?

"Over here we have an espresso machine from about the year 2004.  The barista would stand back here and ask if there was anything he could get started for the next person in line."

"Over there is where they would sell Starbucks brand cups, pointless gear, and overpriced coffee makers for the wealthier customers."

Will the tour guide tell about the culture surrounding coffee that just blew up in American society?  I wonder if she will merely be explaining what Starbucks "used to look like" because the company will have continued to dominate the economy and look entirely different then.

I wonder if you can go to old towns where there would be poorly done reenactments by costumed high schoolers who have no idea what our culture really looked like.

Will there be "old style Starbucks" still open to run "like they used to" for the sake of nostalgia and tourism?

I wonder!

Coffee Shop Commandments: part 2

Here is the second installment of Coffee Shop Commandments you need to be aware of if you are to visit a coffee shop at any point in the future.


Thou shalt not play your guitar Just because there are open mic nights at this establishment, it is not an indicator of this being a constant testing ground for your new song or whatever cover song you're working on right now. All these people are NOT here to hear you play. Leave your guitar at home. (Your song isn't that great anyway. I'm sorry...I'm a friend)

Thou shalt not drink of the outside Why is this commandment necessary? Honestly, this is a business and though their competitors' ads may be accepted, their competitors' PRODUCT is not. You may not bring another company's coffee into this shop. It is not rude for them to ask you throw it away; you are rude for having brought it in.

Thou shalt not make this your marriage bed You would be offended if I sat next to or in front of you with a bucket of popcorn and a video camera while you and your significant other make out on the coffee shop couch, but I cannot understand why you're offended. You quite obviously wanted your affection to be a spectator sport or you wouldn't have chosen to do so in a public coffee shop. You are gross!

You shall talk to others Yes, we all have work to do. That is why many of us are here, but don't be afraid to speak with others. If you come here all the time, there is no reason we should not know one another. If you are here all the time, you should know the baristas' names.  You should start to recognize the others who are here all the time...engage with the community you are observing.

Coffee Shop Commandments: part 1

Not everyone spends many hours a day at a coffee shop like I do. Not everyone's brain blanks within the walls of an office. Not everyone has the honor of working with a strange population which also primarily exists within the coffee shop.

For these and other reasons, not everyone realizes there are unsaid rules, commandments, to abide by in the event that you visit 'our world'. Below is the beginning of that list.


Thou shalt USE headphones There is a reason your computer, iPod, or music device has a headphone jack. No one here is interested in listening to your music. If they are, they will listen themselves, on their own headphones, to the music you share on the local network. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

Thou shalt not be power-hungry (don't hog the power) Look around you! Is there a power source near you? Are you plugged into it with your computer? No? Someone around you needs that power source. Don't hog the power source you aren't even using anyway.

Thou shalt drink coffee (this is not a free wi-fi cafe) Coffee shops have free wi-fi for their customers. Do not go to a coffee shop just to use the internet and not order anything, and NO, water does not count. No, it also does not count if the person you are with got something. Order something...especially if you are visiting an independent shop trying to keep up with the bigger chains.

Thou shalt wear shoes This shop may look like a living room...but it is not. You are gross. That is all.


What other coffee shop rules would you add?

Its Why I Come In Here

I haven't been to this coffee shop in maybe months. It started as a need to return to another coffee shop for a while, and then we had our first child a few weeks ago; keeping me from ANY of the coffee shops I frequent. A matter of moments after sitting down with my glass of Pranqster Belgian Ale (another reason I returned to this coffee shop), the chef came out from the back to say hello and to give me a hug.

THAT is why I come in here.

What friendships are you building around you?

Back Story - Part 1

Today you all will playthe roles I give you. I am the author of your story today.

You may sit in my created scene, but you will obey my back story. Drink up and carry on, but know I am writing you.

We will begin with you, Nerd Runner. You are always here in runner's gear and a new pile of boring books. You.are.a... Self-proclaimed genius. Don't get me wrong; you are smarter than me, no doubt, but you are not Shoeless Sage.

Shoeless Sage. You are white-haired...looooooong white hair. No one can know the true length of your white hair because it is always pulled back in a pony tail. Each day you come in, remove your shoes, and sit "Indian-style" on a seat the rest of us have sat at one time. You.are.a... Computer gamer who will never be too old for W.O.W. You pull off the sage look, but your bike helmet and posture indicate you are better known as beastslayer69. You would make Doc shake his head in disappointment.

Doc You seem able to leave the craziness of medicine to enter the scene nearly every day wearing either full scrubs or that "Doctor Casual" look complete with cell phone belt holster. You.are.a... Doctor of some alternative medicine that your internet diploma indicates. It is more than "alternative"; it is top-secret. We only know that you always look dapper and yet prepared for spontaneous surgery. You are likely in cahoots with Lois.

Lois Your name really is Lois. I cannot even make satirical back story for you because your sweetness weakens me. You are always cuddled up in a chair (never a bench or booth) with whatever Michael Crichton novel you're on to now. You.are... FREAKING CUTE!!!

Experiment Month: Had to Meet You Week

Last week I began Social Experiment Month with a week of reflections from my time having intentional eye contact in every conversation I had. As you may have noticed, I did not enact any experiments this week.

Stuff came up...??

Well next week, I have discovered what my social experiment is going to be. Next week will be:

"Had to Meet You Week"

I frequent the same coffee shop several times throughout the week, and I have come to know most of the staff by first name. It has taken some time and a lot of notes on my iphone so I don't forget the names.

Now I realize I there are several other regulars whom I see on a regular basis. The goal of "Had to Meet You Week" is to introduce myself to one of those regulars each day.

I once wrote an article about this idea and never did anything about it. So next week is the time.


What place do you frequent? Would you join me on this challenge?