Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I was joking with some friends last night about what Jesus would say… in regards to listening.
I had just been in a listening position at Mo for well, probably close to an hour. A nice lady came in, who’s come in several times. And I think she is in need of being heard, having a voice and someone to listen to her.
Well, my question to my buddies was… does Jesus ever say… “dude, I have no idea what you’re talking about…”
I felt that way a few times throughout my “conversation” with this neighbor lady.
And yet, I felt that it was my place, my position, and my responsibility to be willing to nod, smile and be a listening presence in her life.
This experience has caused me to wonder what it means to listen and be patient. I often want quick answers and only hear half of what’s told me in anticipation of getting it done. Well, at least that’s how I seem to function with God. Maybe last night was a reminder that I need to be willing to slow down and be patient with others as well as with myself and God. Maybe last night was a reminder that just as I have an innate desire to be heard, others have that same structuring. And as such, my position just might be a position of hearer – and not always doer.
You know, maybe our doing really does need to flow out of our hearing. Especially those of us who seek to model our lives after Christ.
It just might be that our doing wants to get ahead of what we have heard, when in actuality our position should first be to hear the cries, laughs, and passions of those around us before our time of action.
Although throughout my time last night, I wanted to say, “I have noooo idea what you’re talking about” I believe that my listening ear was well received. I don’t always have to know what is being said to be able to hear who is speaking.
In all the names that were dropped and the stories told, my friend was seeking a place for her voice to be heard and a person to call friend.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


What does this mean?

deprived of the rights of citizenship especially the right to vote; "labor was voiceless"; "disenfranchised masses took to the streets"

As a church we believe we are for the down and out and the poor. We say we're available to the widow and the orphan. We desire to be a place for the disenfranchised.

Yesterday we had a guy come in who I (in my anti classification mind) would classify as disenfranchised. He'd been in before. The first time he came in he scared our friend who was working to death. She wasn't sure if he was going to come in with a chainsaw and cut her arms off or just pull out a gun. And to be honest, the first time he came in while I was behind the counter he freaked me out too. I had the phone ready to dial 911 and the alarm ready to sound off to the police. His very demeanour beckons you to stare and want to leave his vicinity.

As soon as he walked in yesterday, with his hat on and plastic bags wrapped around him I could smell him. As he walked down the galley to our main door I immediately looked over to the Demitasse in concern for the parents and children. Did I mention he smelled. It was the kind of stench that stayed for a minute or two after he had left. It reminded me of a children's film, some anime that my wife had me watch, in which a cloud would follow the character. This is how it was yesterday. I didn't want to run around spraying air freshener, but I didn't want the coffee house to smell like this guy for the rest of the day.

Our very structure as a coffee house is set up to engage with the community, every aspect of the community, including the poor and disenfranchised. And yet, when the poor, the disenfranchised, and the sometimes scary step into our lives, we long for the upper middle class annoying woman who drives a BMW and is happy to have a place to bring her snotty child who leaves a mess when they exit. At least this snotty woman doesn't smell and require much, well much out of the ordinary.

So what does it mean to be for the disenfranchised? What does it mean to provide space for them? Is this true... even when the smell like they've been in the dumpster for weeks only now attempting to come out into the open? If so, how can we love them. How do we love them and move beyond our desire for them to sit on the bench drinking their coffee OUTSIDE?

I've been thinking about social justice lately. Which is common for a lot of people. But, I haven't been thinking about in regards to reading books and participating in global activism. I've been thinking about it in regards to my own life (I can't even say I think about it alot, cuz frankly I think about it when something hits me in my face). but, I've been wondering how I am participating in the justice of those around me. How is the very organism I helped create and form (the coffee house) functioning in the life of social justice.

I don't have answers to these questions. But I suppose it's been helpful to write them down. I suppose that in the coming days I will continue to balance providing space for anyone in the community while maintaining a family friendly environment with being for the poor, the disenfranchised and even the scary.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I'm a pastor who spends all my time working a coffee house. My passion is ministering especially to university students through a coffee house. My question, which has been stirring in my mind for a few weeks relates to ministry and coffee. I often hear from people who don't understand how running a coffee house is a ministry and not just a business. Just this past Saturday a guy referenced Jesus' feeding of the 5K and how even through that he preached. His comment to me was that along with the coffee, we must also preach the word.
So, I just finished reading Velvet Elvis. It took me like 2 years, but i finally found enough time to finish it.
How do we balance being in our community with the cultural norms of how church is done? What is the emphasis of the worship service and how does it correlate with our daily lives?

I'm reminded today that my value is not set by those around me but by God. Often within the day to day grind and routine the voices of those near by are ringing louder in my ear that the voice of God. And yet, i, as well as others, must remember that it's God who sets our value, and he values each of us...equally.
OK, so it's been a long few weeks. but Mosaic is doing well. I find I'm asking myself some of the questions above in my spare time. I actually found myself thinking about a book I haven't read... coffee shop theology. I was thinking about it and how there's a part of me... at least there was this morning, desiring to write some thoughts about coffee house ecclesiology. I.E. how the church is the church because of the coffee house... or how the coffee house is the church.
Anyway, I don't know if I'll be able to formulate my thoughts on this subject, but we'll see. I don't know that I'm satisfied with the current state of the North American Church... and I'm not sure how, when, and if it will change. But, I know God is speaking to me and speaking through me as I live out my life as a Barista.

Monday, April 30, 2007

1 month

We’ve been open for a month. I can hardly believe how fast a month can go. I’ve always heard my parents talk about how fast I grew up and how fast the time goes… and now, I’ve experienced it.
Mosaic is amazing. I can’t believe that within a month we already have our own stories of love and impact within this community.
Two Saturdays ago I got to share a bit about mosaic for a half hour during a conference, then I sat on a panel with four other local ministers and Author Brian Mclarren. Kind of crazy that a silly passion placed on my heart 6 years ago is reality and people are looking at our facility as an example of what and how to do ministry in the urban setting.

Friday, March 9, 2007

almost open

We are in the final stages of completion. Mosaic is to open its doors march 31st to the community. We're pretty excited. Actually we're going to be going up to our coffee roasters this afternoon for a tour of their plant and training on the machines.
I can't believe how beautiful the coffee house looks. God is amazing. I can't believe that I'm where I am, doing what I'm doing. It blows me away to think of how God put a passion in my heart, one which people said was ridiculous and outlandish, yet, here I am today less than a month away of seeing that very vision and dream become reality.
Mosaic is opening!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Keeps on going and going…

Once again, I’m living life during the longest 2 weeks of my life. Funny how there can be multiple “longest 2 weeks of my life” but there can. I’m back at school for 2 weeks taking 2 classes. They’re called modules. I’ve done these 2 week classes before, but only one class during the 2 weeks… so, I think it’s safe to say that although I’ve done the module before, this time is the longest 2 weeks of my life.
The days seem to just keep going and going. I have given up looking at the clock. The clock seems to just remind me in the morning how I’ll be sitting there for many hours to come, and in the evening that I’ll be returning again in the morning. But, what adds to the excitement of it all isn’t the 8.5 hours of lecture each day with a 45 min commute to school from where I’m staying. No, it’s that it has started to snow AGAIN.
Yes. It’s snowing and I’m the supper smart kid who only brought flip flops and Birkenstocks to the Midwest in January. I had to make a hard phone call today. I called my wife to let her know I was gonna buy a pair of shoes. Yes, yes, she did prod me to bring a pair with me as we packed. But, being the lover of open toed shoes that I am, I rebelled. As I sit in the library awaiting my next class all I can think of is the excruciatingly long days which are my life.
To be honest, all I’m waiting for now is that little bunny’s batteries to run out…Saturday morning at 10:38am.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I’m currently taking 2 classes at NTS. I know this shouldn’t be a big deal. I mean, this is my fourth year here. I lived in KS for 5 yrs, and attended NTS for 3 of those. So, yeah, I’ve been working on my M-Div for a while… "what lots of people go to school for 6 years!"
If you had asked me my thoughts and feelings regarding the M-Div and NTS prior to last week, I would have laughed. Pretty much have been feeling that my master’s work does not reflect much upon the field of ministry that I am heading into. From my perspective, the M-Div is very much “senior” pastor driven. To be honest, if I’d known what I know now when I started at NTS I certainly wouldn’t have chosen the master’s which requires 90 credits to graduate… most are 45.
However, this past week, for whatever reason, I’ve found myself being grateful for the time I’ve spent at NTS. I’ve found myself reflecting on the ways that each class, some for the better and others for the worse, have shaped who I am. The last 3 years I spent in KS gave me a different understanding of my faith and how best to live it out.
So, although I know I could have gotten a different Master’s and finished 2 years ago, I am still grateful for the education – in a field I have little intention of pursuing (senior pastorate) – that I have received over the last 4 years.
Although I might recant later, I am grateful for what NTS does within our Church and local communities.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

my first

This is my first time. Yes, can you believe it? I'm 26 and this is my first time riding... or maybe walking, this path. I've only barely started to read blogs, and here I am - someone who doesn't even like to write my thoughts down - starting a blog.

If, by chance you're one who reads this from time to time, welcome. Thanks for journeying this walk with me.