First Impressions of Our New Indie Coffee House

This is a repost, hope you enjoy. Originally posted this summer:
This post was born out of an email I just received regarding a local coffee house that opened up in our area earlier this year:
I will never be able to repress the moment when I walked in soon after they opened and said, “Congratulations, the place looks great” (it does, fireplace in the corner, some leather chairs, nice tables) and I asked, “So what are we brewing today?”
The answer was “Regular, Decaf and French Vanilla”.
What??  The answers I was looking for were “Guatemala, Costa Rican or French Roast.  For decaf, we have Ethiopian. And of course, we would never insult our patrons by brewing flavored coffee.”
But I figured, he’s probably a guy that the owner hired to help him out and that he would learn along the way.
So then I said, “Oh, do you know where the “Regular” is from?”
Literally he looked at the bag and said, “It’s from Arabica”  (He actually included the ‘c” – I am not making this up!).
It’s cool, I’ll stop asking questions to this poor employee who doesn’t know coffee and just order a “Medium Regular” for $2.  As we made small talk, he then revealed this bombshell – HE WAS THE OWNER!!!  I kid you not, he should have told me he was my father and cut my hand off with a light sabre and I would have had an easier time dealing with it.
I know I’m a bit snobby when it comes to this but you can’t open a coffee houses, charge Starbucks prices and talk like this.  I’m even aware that I do not know enough about coffee to open a coffee house (but I also don’t know enough about small businesses either).  And while we’re talking about this place, don’t put up a big screen tv over the cool fireplace and show Headline News, Fox & Friends and CNN all day.  It kills me to go in there and when I do, I take on the same attitude of entering a port-a-potty.  Take a deep breath, get in, don’t look around, do what you got to do, and leave.
My prayer now is that I win the lottery, buy the place, remove the big screen, brew One Village Coffee and get people like Tim Nye to run it.

Free "Sin Boldy" audio book for a limited time from Zondervan

Becky Garrison (author of The New Atheist Crusaders … , Red and Blue God …) was kind enough to forward this to me.  Sin Boldy is a new book by Cathleen Falsani and for a limited time, Zondervan is giving away the audio version for free here.

For the past few years, I’ve really started to appreciate Zondervan.  It’s like they are learning lessons from the giant labels in the music industry that nickel and dime the public.  Maybe I’ll never buy this hardcover, but I may buy the next one.  Or maybe I’ll love the audio book so much that I’ll have to buy it for myself or as a gift for someone.  Or, maybe I’ll like this idea so much that I will go out and buy the book.  

I downloaded, listened to it and It worked for me.  Now I am sinning more boldly so it’s obviously a very practical and easily applicable book.  In case you might not know, the term “sin boldy” is from a letter Martin Luther wrote to Melanchthon in 1521.  

Here’s a review from Publisher’s Weekly (from

From Publishers Weekly
Ranging from Chicago to Kenya, New Orleans to Ireland, Big Sky to Graceland, Falsani dons her investigative cap and scouts for grace. This religion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times is a charming guide to places and people who reveal “grace when and where it happens.” Eschewing technical theological definitions, Falsani opts instead to tell how she has experienced grace. And we are vicarious travelers, seeing grace—”audacious, unwarranted, and unlimited”—through Falsani’s eyes. She marvels at the devotion of young people who crowd to the pope’s funeral and at the astoundingly independent women of Asembo Bay in Kenya. She wrestles with anger at a misogynist Tanzanian tour guide and anger at God when her mother and beloved cat face cancer. We traipse along with the author and eavesdrop on her conversations, both external and internal. The result is a pastiche of images meant collectively to reveal God’s grace. Though some may find the premise contrived, only a fierce cynic could fail to be drawn in to Falsani’s tales and candid reflections.

Giants Home Opener, Tailgating, & Community

A good friend called and told me he had tickets to the Giants opener against the Redskins.  As a loyal 49er fan praying for Alex Smith and thankful for Frank Gore, the Giants have been a team I appreciated but didn’t root for.  Until last year in the playoffs.  How one could not cheer for the Giants, especially against the Patriots would seem crazy to me.  That person probably cheered for Dolph Lungren in Rocky IV too. 

I skipped a commission meeting to go.  Fortunately, I invited our new senior pastor so I’m pretty semi-confident that I won’t get in too much trouble.  Arriving about four hours early, I could not get over all the tailgating.  Our tailgating party was out of an RV, had steak, shrimp cocktail, beer of course, and satellite tv showing the pre-game.  Oh, there was a DJ next door, err, the next parking space. 

So there I was eating steak, bbq chips, drinking Heineken, when The New Kids, “Hangin’ Tough” came on (He may not have been the coolest DJ, because earlier I think I heard Snow’s “Informer”).  Around that moment I started wondering what exactly was going on.  It was Thursday, my new senior pastor and I are tailgating with people we really don’t know, listening to someone’s playlist called “1986-1991” (Did I mention the Milli Vanilli?).


Prior to kick-off Pre-game Super Bowl celebrations.  That was cool as there was a lot of energy in the stadium for that.  Michael Strahan came out and introduced the Giants.  That also was cool until I found out that he needed to be paid 75,000 to do it.  Lame.  I would have done it for half and I probably wouldn’t have stuttered.  Anyway, The first half of the game was fantastic; second half, not so much.


Here’s where I get reflective.  There seems to be so much more community at football games as opposed to baseball games.  Don’t think I realized it as much til then.  Some of the tailgaters try to get the same spots, the season tickets holders welcoming and hugging each other prior to kick off.  One guy showed off his new baby who was born in the off-season.  Maybe that happens in the expensive box seats at Yankee Stadium but whatever.  Baseball of course has about 8x the amount of home games so I’m sure that’s part of it. 


It brought back a conversation that I had with a woman regarding why her brother always went to the bar.  I tried to explain that was place of community.  He goes there to get what she gets out of the Ladies Bible Study.  The Scriptures are an important part of it, but there’s a reason why she goes to her church bible study.  She knows those ladies.  Similarly, her brother goes to that bar to talk about sports and whatever with his “small group”. 

We Christians, are used to thinking of this type of community strictly in our terms but there are so many other ways that people connect.  This isn’t to say that we each receive the same type of benefits or in our language “blessings” but I think it’s an observation worth mentioning.  If he idea of “office wife” makes sense to you, then you will see this.  If you see that as a form of adultery, then these you’ll probably be frustrated with the rest of these thoughts, this blog, me, you don’t get the Simpson’s but let me humbly encourage you to expand your way of thinking.