If necessary, use words

[caption id="attachment_1508" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="This is a Wordle.net cloud based on the words found in Coffee Shop Journal."][/caption] Words have always defined who I am. I read them, I write them, I learn through them. Lately I seem to want to decorate with them. I love words. So the St. Augustine quote "Preach the gospel always. If necessary use words." never really resonated with me. Of course you use words! But a few days ago I walked into my regular…

Starbucks in the Future…

Travel days are long. They take it out of you. We woke up at four AM to catch our flight to Boston, and then put in a full workday after that! When 2:30 hit, the crash was imminent. Fortunately, Starbucks was in sight. It's right along Massachusetts Avenue, in the next town over from my high school haunting grounds. This is the town that I remember when "Whenever I call you friend" by Kenny Loggins plays on the radio. Or…

Choosing a seat in a coffee shop

I spent some time today in three coffee shops: Starbucks, Barnes & Noble cafe, and Nordstrom's. I enjoyed going back to my roots by watching the people near me. As I did, I was reminded of a comment I read by (I think) Leonard Sweet in "The Gospel according to Starbucks." In discusing people's desire to be connected he proposed a test. Go into an empty movie theater. Sit down. Wait until someone else comes in. Do they sit sort…

What makes community?

Going back to the roots of Coffee Shop Journal for a few minutes, I've been thinking today about what it really takes to feel like you are in a community. We've all known people on the fringes of a real community who just never seem to fully enter into the common life. There are also times in my own life when I feel as if I am "in" a community, but not really feeling as if I belong. And yet…

The Coffeehouse Mystery Series

It's a perfect weekend to share my latest find: a whole series of lighthearted mysteries centered in the kind of coffeehouse we all wish we ran. Or at least were able to frequent. David and I wandered over to Starbucks yesterday and sat in Maria's store. You've all heard me talk about our friend Jeremy, who runs our favorite Starbucks in the area. Maria is his wife, and she can be found in the third Starbucks in the same mall.…

Stumptown Coffee, Portland Oregon

Continuing with my series of cafe wanderings, I dragged my family into Stumptown Coffee, a Portland Oregon based roaster and brewer. They have five locations in this area, and I was excited to find one and try it! So here are my impressions. I was in their Belmont location, a newer venue in the downtown area. They have four other locations, each with its own personality. The decor was industrial in nature. There were tables and a long banquette-type seating…

Gold Cafe, Lancaster, PA

I read about this unique coffee shop in the book "Authenticity" by James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II. In trying to create a new blend (pun intended) of services, Union National Community Bank decided to open a full service coffee shop, which can also provide banking services. It is called Gold Cafe. The book claims that the customer perceives this blend as an authentic offering because it is unique. I would love to see this in action. Would…

Lessons I’ve learned in the kingdom of God this week

The Tangible Kingdom, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, has probably affected me more than any book I've read recently. It strengthened my resolve not to just think about the work God has for me to do here, in His community, but also to DO the work. Words are useful, and my stock in trade so to speak, but they are limited in their use. So reading the Tangible Kingdom I began to wonder what kind of adventures would await…

Living in a coffee shop

This is just for fun! I have no idea what church or ministry put it out, but I found it entertaining. httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=ejuVdBn6VgM

Alexander McCall Smith and Coffee Shops

Flying home from Boston yesterday I was reading Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith. Having just typed that, the book sounds so "paperback romance"! It's not...Alexander McCall Smith has written lots of great contemporary Scotland-based fiction. My favorite is Espresso Tales.  Anyway, I came across this little passage that sums up my passion for community and the possibilities of connecting in third places like coffee shops. Matthew was crossing Dundas Street to that side of the road where Big…

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