Moore: Coffee and Christianity share qualities of simplicity, goodness (column)
I love coffee. More accurately, I have a dependent relationship with coffee. If you saw the guy passing the finish line of the Gypsum Daze 5K a few years back, 52-ounce “Bubbamug” in hand, that was me. Like I said, it’s dependency, pure and simple.
Having made my morning confession, let me say that I’m not a coffee snob. I’ll drink just about any form of java you put in my hand, and as far as I know, a “pour over” is what you do when you spill your drink. Be it a gourmet Americano from one of our valley’s finest establishments, or the dregs from a gas station pot that’s been on the warmer all day, my only requirement for coffee is that it is hot and plentiful. With just a little cream, thank you very much.
You can experience coffee in a thousand different ways, and places. There’s your kitchen, your favorite restaurant, the myriad choices of coffee houses, and of course, your friendly local gas station. Once inside, you can lounge on a couch, perch on a barstool, sit at a table, stand at a counter, you name it. All the while surrounded by coffee merchandise representing the highest and best of American marketing genius. Tall, grande, venti? Does it come in a barrel? Of course, you have your bazillion varieties of formulas, additives and brewing methods, as in “I’ll have a largefullfatquadshotsuperhotextrapumpmochacarameldarkroastlattee. With room. Hold the whip.” But I digress.
My point is that at some point the trappings surrounding coffee can distract us from the essence of the bean. I mean, if you strip away all the detail, you are left with a steaming cup of caffeinated goodness. Be it in a paper cup or a porcelain demitasse, it’s all about the coffee itself, and it is good.
Let me paint a picture. You have your own version, at least if you are a coffee person. It’s the third day of black-powder season a few miles above Deep Lake up in the Flat Tops. If you’ve never done the drive up Coffee Pot road (I love that name), you’re missing out. Anyway, after 30 minutes of trying to mentally will my friend, Greg, to get up and start the stove, I finally drag myself out of the tent and get the coffee started in my old Macgyver’d camp percolator. After a few minutes, it happens. As the sun breaks upon the frost of the surrounding trees, Greg pours the elixir into the camp mug held in my freezing hands. With the steam rising in front if my eyes, the warmth moves from my hands to my lips as I anticipate the coming bliss. For me, this is the essence of coffee. After a few minutes of silence, Greg looks up from his cup and asks “How can so much joy come from something so simple?”
My name is Ethan, and I’m one of your neighbors here in our valley. With this column I hope to press into a great joy that comes from something ultimately simple. But it’s not coffee. It is the thing in life I am far more dependent upon, and that is my faith in Jesus Christ. Like that cup of coffee you are holding, there are uncountable varieties, settings and trappings that so often surround this thing called Christianity.
My intent, hopefully with honesty, humility and maybe a little humor, is to strip away the trappings and baggage of religion and Christian culture that too often obscure what is most important. At least for me, this isn’t about religion at all. It’s about Jesus himself, and the essential claim that he is god and he is good. As my friend Greg asked, “How can so much joy come from something so simple?” That’s the question I’m going to explore, and I invite you to join me.
Ethan Moore is the pastor of Trinity Church in Edwards. He and his wife Lisa have lived in the valley since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he would love to have a cup of coffee with you.
Vail Mountain opens Nov. 15, about a week earlier than normal. But that earlier opening will be out of Vail Village, not Lionshead.