Moore: The secret weapon
Happy 2020. Being a new decade and all, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. After writing “God and Coffee” for 15 months, I thought it would be fun to figure out just how much coffee I drank in 2019. So, after booking time on IBM’s quantum computer, I determined the following.
It starts with two cups through my French Press virtually every morning, which lasts until around 10. Four hours later Sarah, our church administrator, announces “2 o’clock coffee!” That’s another cup and a half, produced by running two cycles through our office Keurig. On normal days that’s it, but I’ll throw in an additional four cups a week. Triple that on Christmas Eve and Easter. Guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.
So, take three and a half cups times 365, plus four times 52.142 (look it up), and that’s 1,485 cups of joy. That’s 11,880 ounces, which is also about 93 gallons, or roughly eight fill-ups of my Corolla. Oh, and at my stronger than average fully-leaded brew (do people younger than 50 get fully leaded?), that works out to around 297,000 milligrams of caffeine. Dude.
I think I need another cup of coffee. BRB.
OK, where was I? Oh yes, eight Corolla’s full of coffee. Moving on. As I thought about all this coffee that ran through my body (maybe a poor choice of words), it struck me that what I really love isn’t just the coffee itself, but the experience. It turns out the majority of my coffee drinking is done in the community, in the midst of fellowship with people. I spend a lot of time in local coffee shops, but I’m rarely there just to get caffeinated. I’m there to meet with people and the coffee is just background. Blissful background.
I’m reminded of an early morning last September. Our hunt camp is a little below 11,000 feet, and our small band of brothers stands shivering in the pre-dawn air, warming our hands and souls with steaming metal mugs of high-test brew. Next to me stands my almost 80-year-old father. Friends, that coffee wasn’t just a source of energy, it was sacred. I’m speculating a bit, but it just might be that the Apostle Paul had a cup of coffee when he wrote: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Amen, brother.
Here’s my point. In both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, God’s core nature is revealed to be love, and the experience of God’s love is almost always in the context of community. God values community. It is essential to his nature, and an essential need of the humanity he created.
If 2019 was any indicator, 2020 will be a year filled with reasons to separate ourselves from each other. To choose sides, point fingers, and count the ways someone else is the cause of all our societal ills. This isn’t to say there aren’t important issues on which we sincerely disagree. There certainly are, and the survival of our culture just may depend on finding ways to wrestle through these conflicts without devaluing each other. That’s a strong statement, but as a student of history and observer of the human condition, I’m increasingly convinced it’s true.
In the 1971 classic rock anthem, “I’d Love to Change the World,” British blues band Ten Years After expressed the frustration of their generation with the refrain “I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, so I’m leaving it up to you.” Well, Jesus did come to change the world, and my faith in him teaches me something to do. Something I can’t leave up to anyone else.
Like you, I’m called to be a community builder. To love people, seek relationships, be a friend, and purposefully get to know people who are different from me. Many have said this, but it’s hard to hate, devalue, or even just dismiss someone once you’ve listened to their story. But that takes time, effort, and the self-discipline to keep our mouths shut (and fingers off that keyboard) and just sincerely listen.
Good thing God gave us a secret weapon. Coffee anyone?
Ethan Moore is the pastor of Trinity Church in Edwards. He and his wife Lisa have lived in the valley since 1995. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.