I do admit I visit the local coffee shops now and then for a Latte. I don’t believe if my dad were still alive would approve of this.
First of all, paying $5 for a large latte (steamed milk and espresso) would be simply WRONG WRONG WRONG!! Then to stand in line to order a coffee with a flavor.. is also WRONG.
According to my dad, coffee drinker wanna-bes may add sugar to their coffee but true coffee drinkers either drink it black or with the 'approved' dairy companion of the day.. half&half.
Also my dad would not purchase something called a scone. If you want something sweet you buy a package of pastries from the IGA Grocery with a shelf life of 4 years. AND.. the only coffee drink resembling 'A Mocha' in my parents home was if my dad accidentally poured his Folgers coffee into a 'child's' cup of cocoa.
Coffee was a major element in fellowship for my family and church as I was growing up. Pastor Wayne Larson (no relation) and his wife Ruth led the our church in Cable Wisconsin for about 7 years, and they had the ‘gift of coffee’. They would call up my folks and say them to “put a pot of coffee on.. cuz we are coming over.”
There were a few important truths I learned about this coffee
1. Coffee is synonymous with fellowship,
2. There was never TOO MUCH coffee, and
3. Tea is NOT coffee
Now fast forward 35 years and you don’t have to drink your coffee black or with cream and/or sugar.. you can get you Latte Grande skinny ( half expresso, and half steamed skim milk).. You can order a Turtle Sundae Mocha.. maybe a White Chocolate Raspberry Cooler.. the possibilities are endless..
BUT ..though I like my Latte I want to return to the time honored tradition of CHURCH COFFEE… and a few toons to capture the significance of this beverage of choice for today’s church.
Never to be confused with the Holy Sacraments… but still I observe church coffee is revered. Brewed in a traditional aluminum drum with love and care.. symbolic of friendship but often tastes often like something less.
Now that I think about it.. let me share my COFFEE CONSPIRACY THEORY. I wonder if coffee was introduced to churches as a way to keep the congregation awake during a dry sermon in a stuffy church.
But according to Newton's Law .. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction... and with coffee came the Coffee Conflicted Christian.
With regards to this traditional aluminum drum brewing 'machine', cleaning this drum is of paramount importance. Coffee drum cleaning like changing the oil in your car is too often neglected resulting in a brew that only the hearty church goer can appreciate/tolerate. THEN those times when the coffee has a taste like hot dishwater it may be because when the drum was finally cleaned… THE DISH RAG WAS LEFT IN THE DRUM!!..
There, now try and keep that thought out of your mind the next time you pour yourself a cup of hot caffinated fellowship in your church foyer.
In conclusion, I must admit that many churches today offer good coffee, but if my dad were still alive.. he would prefer his cup to come from the traditional aluminum drum. Then again.. he is in Heaven.. and I believe they do COFFEE RIGHT (Folgers with half & half thank you very much)
Let me leave you with a few moments from the Bible where I believe a little hot coffee was in order.
and.. to round out today’s coffee toonage let me share a coffee paraphrase of the Revelation 3:16 passage where the Lord is speaking about a church being lukewarm. Neither hot or cold.. and how distasteful LUKEWARM COFFEE is.
Have a great day.. full of God’s caffeinated blessings. Smile lots.. and enjoy life .. and always..
BREW UNTO OTHERS as you would have them BREW UNTO YOU!.
Jeff (caffeinated) Larson
Lukewarm Coffee (LWC) exists in a land between hot and cold where room temperature is king. Welcome to the Twilight Zone of brews. LWCs most often was once a well intended piping hot cup of coffee but then was forgotten or ignored. They are the 'stale donuts' of the beverage world.
And last I checked, neither Starbucks or Dunn Brothers feature lukewarm coffee. GO FIGURE! Not not even for a niche target market of very plain boring people dressed in old sweats, bed hair, and a 2 day beard eating plain white bread from the bag while demanding their LWC.
No one wants lukewarm coffee, and I believe the only acceptable use for it is .. when I have a splitting headache with two Excedrin in my hand and I spot a cup of LWC near me to help wash down the meds before my head explodes.
Of course our Bibles speak often on the topic of coffee (ie Hebrews hahaha), and even tackles the specific topic of LWC in Revelations 3:15-16 where the angel of the church of Laodicea speaks out.. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (like a cup of lukewarm generic instant decaf coffee with non-dairy creamer and a sweetener substitute).
note: If you did not guess, the part in parenthesis was not from 'The Message'.. I added it myself to emphasize my LWC point.
But there is a very sobering interpretation of this scripture. Being a LWC believer (even with sweetener added) is not a safe place to be. Will lukewarm get me to Heaven? Well, the whole God spitting me out of His mouth is a pretty clear NO... IMO.
God is not amused by half-hearted devotion. In fact God sounds frustrated, dare I say disgusted in Revelations 3:15-16 when we are only playing church.
So I read this passage and look at my life. I am a good guy, no major ( or minor ) crimes, I go to church most every week. I love God, my family, and have good friends making this life good.. for ME, BUT.. am I actually living a lukewarm cup of decaf and a stale donut communion lifestyle? I like to think not, but it is an honest question.
What if honestly my thoughts, and passions revolve around ME?.. What if my resources, and my prayers feature ME?.. What if the movie of my life stars ME? and I attend church not with worship in my heart and mind but instead it has become my weekly good deed ritual for pretty good guys . Then maybe I am a LWC believer.
So in my 'Spiritual Coffee Analogy' how would an angel of God describe you? Hot, cold, or a 3 day old LWC brew with cream curdling at the top? I am NOT saying being anything less than the next Billy Graham or Mother Theresa is lukewarm.. but please DO NOT be indifferent about the creator of this world or others in need.
My prayer today is God will bless and speak to each of you. May we listen to His voice and serve Him like never before in a way that is anything but lukewarm.
Jeff (aspiring to be a Grande Latte) Larson
Supersized and drive through meals ... delivered freaky fast your way that are finger lickin' good. These are a few fast food 'conveniences' for our fast paced lives in the fast lane. I am guilty of participating in both ordering my share of supersized McArtery Clogger Value Meals, and using the drive through for lunch, lattes, and my banking needs. Life is busy and there is a time and a place for fast food, and fast service but there is a time and a place to SLOW DOWN.
Now as I segue to my faith journey.. I find awkward parallels to our fast food society.
1. I want the blessings on my life supersized now please,
2. I sometimes pray like I am using a drive thru window. I don't even slow down to say hello to God but place my order/prayer list with the angel stationed at my drive thru prayer window. And..
3. my patience for His answers rivals my belief that microwave popcorn still takes waaay too long.
Moral of this blurb is.. God does listen to and answer my freaky fast food faith moments (sometimes that is all I have), BUT how much better my perspective is when I slow down and savor quiet times with my Heavenly Father. Prayers that are not distracted and hurried, and devotions that are not fit in just before I go to bed and can hardly keep my eyes open. To slow down is good for my soul, and I am 'gently' convicted/impressed that I need this now.
There will be those times where freaky fast faith is all we have time for, but let's purposefully slow down and make time with God that is more than a microwaved/reheated moment of spiritual nourishment. Maybe a home cooked God's Family Meal... with desert.
Hmm.. I am getting hungry.
May God bless and use each of you for His glory in SUPERSIZED ways
Jeff (McBack Pew) Larson
The author of the book of Hebrews does not mince words when he wrote
.. it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of NOT LISTENING! ... You ought to be teachers by now, yet here you are needing someone to go over the basics on God.. AGAIN! You need MILK, and Milk is for BABIES! Hebrews 5:11-14 (MSG).
BUT then again.. there are plenty of meaningful scriptures exhorting us to have the the faith of a child.
Mt 9:14 (LIV) Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children’s.
and how about...
Mt 18:2-4 (lIV) Jesus said, “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. and then Jesus continues.. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
even Max Lucado chimes in when he wrote in one of his books.. "Play hard, laugh loud and leave the worries to the Father."
Ok God so which is it? Be like a child or grow up? Drink Milk and eat my Wonder Bread, or grill me a T-Bone Steak?
Before God answers that burning question let me take time for some Introspection..
They say When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Then by my reasoning.. if I have a glass of milk.. make a Milkshake?
There you have it.. I am neither profound nor insightful all in one simple 'Jeffism'.
Seriously, I know God wants me to trust and love Him like as a child I did my own mom & dad.
Also God wants me to grow up, and not end up a spiritual baby or even a lazy spiritual teen living in my Heavenly Father's basement playing video games while this hurting world is in need of spiritual grown ups (men & women of God).
Love God with all their heart soul and mind and others as themselves. Spending time in God's word daily and in a constant attitude of prayer/conversation with God is the two step formula in becoming a spiritual grown up.
May God bless each of you in your faith journeys. Trust in God with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Jeff (Vanilla Milk Shake Drinking in the Back Pew) Larson
No these words are not part of a new FDA report but actually were words offered to me by a pastor in response to a caffeine headache. The man of God told me his wife has a sign in the kitchen that reads, “Coffee is not a drug; it’s a vitamin!” .
So woe unto you that would argue with God's chosen one! A man of the cloth! A shepherd to the flock, and possible coffee addict!
Besides the 'irrefutable' health benefit noted above I would like to share my rationale for the 'use' of coffee.
So in honor of these practical and one Godly endorsement I would like to thank God for COFFEE. The approved VITAMIN/ ENERGY ELIXER for a sleepy America!
May God bless each of your lives. May your coffee cups overflow (figure of speech), and your breakfast banquet table include a nice variety scones, bear claws, donuts, apple fritters, cheese danishes, and bismarks.
Amen and Amen!
Jeff (caffinated in the Back Pew) Larson
note: Tomorrow I will share my theory that donuts are simply a contemporary version of manna.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson