As mentioned last week, I just bought my first home. Moving coupled with not having internet for a few days kept me away from responding to comments, my apologies for that. I’ve spent the last few days shuffling boxes around, unpacking, putting together furniture and doing whatever else it takes to put together a home – and I’m beat. So this is a non-traditional fun post in the style of the Stuff Christians Like blog.
Coffee shops without Christians – that’s a recipe for economic collapse. Ever since Starbucks exploded across the country Christians have used them, among other coffee shops for Bible studies, planning meetings and one-on-one fellowship . Most pastors have a budget for meeting with parishioners at coffee shops – some have meetings multiple times a day.
Though as Christianity has escaped from under the regime of fundamentalism, a new place for meeting with fellow Christians has emerged – the local pub for a pint. Both have distinct pros and cons, and we shall compare them to see which is the better choice for getting to know a fellow brother or sister, or merely deepening the relationship you already have with a brethren.
- time limited: won’t set up morning meetings lest the rumor mill start up. However the pub may have the advantage as people work 9 to 5’s may not be able to meet for coffee, but they have evenings free for a pint.
- privacy: louder music can mask what you’re saying, allowing for more intimate details to be shared. (Possible disadvantage: overcompensating for the noise and shouting sensitive information to the whole bar).
- Exclusion: potentially limit who you can meet with to non-alcoholics. Remember the church isn’t a gallery of saints but a hospital for sinners.
- Lowered inhibitions from alcohol can mean more opening up and digging deep. You can talk more freely and share what’s really going on. Combine this with privacy/noise level (and dimmer lighting than coffee shops) and you can get very vulnerable.
- Judgment. In the church I grew up in bars or pubs were viewed as dens of vices, debauchery and sin. That stigma still lives on in certain circles, and if you mention you met so-and-so out for a pint they may judge you, embellish your drinking habits and spread rumors. You may no longer be able to play the recorder with the worship band.
The coffee shop:
- equally as time limited, just to the mornings, maybe early afternoons. You don’t want to be be shaking your leg uncontrollably in bed trying to sleep with the caffeine jitters.
- less privacy: lots of people quietly on laptops can overhear your confession to your accountability partner, and can also instantly re-tweet it.
- Though most people consume caffeine of some kind (as opposed to alcohol) – coffee shops are often seen as snob-ish. You don’t want to be a snob.
- Stimulant effects of caffeine put you on edge and increase nervousness & anxiety. Foot tapping so much that you don’t get beyond the surface level in conversation. Also feel the need to get up and move because of the adrenaline pulsating through your body.
- No judgment. Though Christians are typically very anti-drug, they are enormous consumers of coffee – which is undeniably a drug. If you say you need four cups of coffee to get through a day no one raises an eyebrow.
Hard to say which is superior. Both can be equally as expensive, which to me speaks ill of coffee shops ($4 for a mocha?! How does that even make sense?), though in my experience someone is more likely to buy a beer than a coffee, so if someone asks you to go out to the pub it may be free.
Also, in my professional opinion as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, I think beer is a healthier option than coffee. Alcohol in small doses helps your gastric juices perform more effeciently, and generally in micro-brews higher quality natural ingredients are used (that even have anti-oxidants in them. Coffee however is sprayed heavily with pesticides (unless organic) and is often coupled with lots of sugar. However going to pub quickly becomes the worse option health-wise if you opt for food with your drink, as there ain’t nuthin’ healthy about pub food.
Oddly enough I think my pros and cons list favors fellowshipping in pubs. The intimacy and privacy can lead to great talks and intimacy. The fact it limits who you can meet there is a huge con, but I still lean toward meeting for a brew. Maybe, if you want to be an expert Christian you can meet with someone in the morning and get all hyped up caffeine and then at the end of the day meet for a pint to help lower your blood pressure and heart rate – the perfect speedball combination.
What do you think – which is the better place to fellowship?
(A note to any reader who may have struggled with alcohol abuse: This post is intended just to be playful, and I hope it does not offend you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if it does.