It was 1993 and we had just relocated to Oregon, two children and a cat in tow. I immediately fell in love with the rolling, curving mountain drives, the beautiful trees and even the climate. I remember being out for a drive on a drizzly day, exploring our new suroundings when we drove past what looked like a coffee shop and decided a hot drink was definitely a good idea. We found a space in the small, crowded parking lot and walked inside. If heaven smells like coffee, we had most definitely ascended! It was rich….it was aromatic…it was intoxicating…it was…..
And not only was the coffee compelling, but the whole “vibe” was unlike any place we’d ever been. 2 and 4 person tables dotted the inner seating area and a wooden counter spanned the length of a floor to ceiling window. It was so….cool. It was our first of what must now be a zillion trips to various Starbucks across the good ol’ USofA.
And Starbucks has become so much more than coffee….I mean, it’s really good coffee, but, that can’t be the sole reason the brand has exploded to the point of being pop-culturized, can it? When I think of the times and reasons I’ve actually gone to Starbucks, (and not just the drive-through for my Venti Americano with cream and 2 Splenda) this is what I come up with:
- Invite a friend to catch-up on news and life
- Meet with other couples when we want to reconnect but don’t have time (or money) for dinner out
- Invite someone who needs to talk but the idea of coming in to the office seems too serious and intimidating
- Go to be “alone” without actually having to be alone
- Gather to work on a group project
- Steal some time with my honey that’s just for us ……hmm……detect a pattern here?
Starbucks has become the iconic place for gathering….for relationships….for community. The fact that they happen to sell great coffee in seemingly inexhaustible combinations just adds to the attraction, but I don’t think that’s the singular draw, at least it isn’t for me. I love coffee….I really love coffee….but I think I love it more when it’s paired with great conversation.
Kinda sounds like church. I love music and I love singing. But I really, really love to sing songs of praise to God, especially with others who love it too. I love God’s Word and finding new truths for today. But I really, really love to search for those truths with others who get as excited about it as I do. I love gathering on Sunday and seeing so many people I love all in the same place, all joined to grow in our faith….together….in community.
I wonder if Starbucks has risen to gargantuan heights, at least in part, because someone knew the value of community…. and then decided to sell coffee there?
Romans 12:9-10 tells us:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
In order to love one another we need to know one another. And to know one another, we need time together – we need…. community.
Coffee, anyone? =)