lessons from a coffee shop

I am waiting for some pork to marinade for a stirfry (still an hour to go), and while I am convinced another round of coffee is in order (the first pot got interrupted by a hustle-out-the-door…thanks daylight savings), I’ve been bouncing a couple ideas for a blog post around in my head.

Yesterday I spent a significant amount of time in a coffee shop. Why? Because I’m particularly starved for one here in Indianola. I don’t think I have much reason to resent the lack of a decent coffee house here in town, seeing as I grew up in a town that only has a meager establishment existing in the beautiful flower/gift shop (or there’s always the gas station)…but for some reason I feel deprived just the same. Call it a sense of entitlement I gained from living in Iowa City and Ames. Anyway, for these 2 hours I drank 1 cup of coffee, ate one free lemon bar (as part of Tribute Days, Starbucks gave out a petite of your choice with any beverage purchase), and alternated between reading, knitting, and people watching.

Sitting down at pretty much the only available table, a handicapped accessible table that still had a dirty mug on it (with about an inch of latte foam in the bottom…) and some crumbs, I contemplated the difference between being alone and being lonely. Sometimes I get the feeling that singles like myself speak from the lonely lens when married (happily or not) people tend to view it as the alone-lens. Being lonely isn’t limited to solitude; I can be lonely in a crowd. I am trying to not allow its accompanying emotions to skew my view of group gatherings here…where I still fail to know many people. Being alone has a connotation of a choice; whether or not we choose to be alone, I’m nearly sure that we never choose to be lonely, but we can laud and celebrate choosing to be alone (and calling it introversion…).

I don’t help myself very well in either category (shall I call it introversion?). When lonely I can’t express it to the people around me (that I don’t know) because I don’t want to be the object of pity. I desire for people to want to get to know me and invest time in me and to do the same to them. When I am alone and feel some strength in that place, I am ready to defend that separation and prevent attachment…

Today I visited another church. A guest spoke (oddly enough it was a topic we weren’t necessarily supposed to ever fathomed, but it reminded me so much of a Louis Giglio message I’ve seen 2 times with kids and one time on my own that I was a little disappointed) instead of the pastor, so I’m inconclusive as to the exegetical or isogetical nature of the teaching, but I didn’t want to stay and invest in people. The worst part about church shopping is the temporary investment in people. Sure, I might see these people again around town, but they inevitably wonder and ask why I don’t go to their church anymore. Uh, sorry it’s ___________. Nothing personal, of course. And go our separate ways.

I visited Hope WDM last night, too. Oddly enough I exited the sanctuary when Pastor Mike did…and he said something to me (a comment about something we saw coming out) and shook my hand and said he was glad to have me there. I wanted to tell him that I’d worked for him…but perhaps after only meeting him once formally and eaten at his table a couple other times, being among thousands of exiting worshipers isn’t an opportune time to be reminded of a former acquaintance…I am thankful for the things I learned working at NorthBranch and the year that God had for me there, but I can be grateful now for God’s plan prevailing instead of my own when I started work there.

Maybe this isn’t a fair point of contention (it’s certainly not aimed at Hope or the church I visited today…but a handful of churches I’ve visited since November), but have you noticed at some churches that worship music needs to be sung with a smile and compassionate eyes (kind of squinty)–cannot be sung with any other expression appropriately? I’m craving raw worship time, that that incorporates expressions and emotions Biblical worship entails.

Long story short, I need a church. It needs to be a real one, too. One concerned for God’s kingdom and His word, and His creation. I know it’s not about me, how I like the music, how badly I want to stand up when everyone else is sitting, how much I long for consistent fellowship and spurring on through the teaching and application of the Bible, but I simply cannot align my heart with worship that is all about making our lives better, more comfortable, safer, healthier.

And I might buy a cajon (a box drum).

These, with the exception of the two church visits described, all crossed my mind while sitting at Starbucks for 2 hours.

Time to wrap this up and make rice for my stirfry! Have a great Sunday 🙂

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