a coffee parable

If you don’t drink coffee, you may not know that some coffee tastes better than others. There is instant coffee. It’s fast. And some of it, like VIA, is okay.

There is motel room coffee. It’s convenient. While traveling this week, I teased my friend about making decaf coffee in the motel room coffee maker. He laughed. He said caffeine didn’t bother him either way, so he grabbed the first packet. I said, “But decaf motel room coffee?” He said, “I don’t expect much.”

madcap. chemex. rainy saturday.There is slow coffee, freshly ground and poured through a Chemex. It’s good. Another friend takes the time to make coffee in his Chemex. It’s slow, bringing water to a boil, grinding beans, preparing the filter, waiting for the water to distill through the grounds. Some would say that this is a very fussy way to approach coffee. My friend disagrees. “If you only have one cup a day,” he says, “It’s worth it.”

A group of people I’m teaching will come to class with papers they have written about trying some spiritual practices. They will have sat quietly. They will have read short passages from the Bible four times, listening. They will have talked with God in ways different than they are used to. In each case, they will have followed direction laid out by someone else. It will have felt very self-conscious on the way to being aware of God. But it will be part of an ancient way of living that starts with “Be still, and know that I am God.”

They will have sampled Chemex living. Deliberate, thoughtful, intentional, waiting. I don’t know yet what will stay. They may find quick yet thoughtful solutions sometimes. But if I only have one life with God, being deliberate may well be worth it.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “a coffee parable

  1. “If I only have one life with God, being deliberate” consiously aware and prioritizing and listening carefully. . . I like that thought and it is the next step to where I am going spiritually. Thanks.

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  2. “It will have felt very self-conscious on the way to being aware of God.” This has been my biggest struggle with prayer lately. I’m trying to focus on the conversation aspect (thank you for your post today on that) but I do feel self-conscious, that maybe I’m rambling, or not talking about the right things. Stopping to listen also feels really weird. But in the past week, after a couple rather rambling prayers, I took a second to stop – and it worked. It felt like getting everything out and then pausing helped me work through the question. People may call that a lot of things, but maybe I’ve been too quick to notice it’s actually God. (Also, nice choice on the coffee. 🙂

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