Coffee Shops, Christ, and Cannibals

     Have you ever wondered what day pastors get off? Now I know some people think that pastors don’t really work (to those of you who may have espoused this thought I stick out my tongue in obnoxious indignation). I also know that others think pastors shouldn’t get a day off but should always be on call (to those of you who hold this mindset I thumb my nose in like obstreperosity). Both ideas are wrong!   

     I get Mondays off. So while  the rest of the world is cursing the dawn, my Mondays have become a ritual day for travelling to coffee shops far and wide to sample the gourmet bouquets from the various cafes around our fair countryside. I LOVE COFFEE!!

    My wife and I have found a place in Keene NH that we particularly like.

      She always gets a skinny vanilla latte (with a cream heart done in latte art) and a scone; Blackberry-almond is her bite of choice. I try a different variety of coffee every week (Ethiopian yirgacheffe is my fav so far), along with a breakfast sandwich.

      A few Mondays ago my wife and I journeyed the hour up, for our caffeinated libations. It was a warm cloudless day. So we decided to get our coffees and sandwiches and eat at one of the tables on the sidewalk.

     It is a generational blessing, which flows down from her mother, that anywhere my wife goes she can make a friend.  God sends her people all the time and usually they are those in need of an inner and sometimes outer healing.

    My wife has found a friend at this coffee shop. I will call her “Fleur”. She has lost her hair to leukemia and wears multi- colored bandanas and loose-fitting clothing bright enough to light the dawn. She smokes cigarellos and will never shake your hand without pulling her sleeve down to protect against the germs. She has a voice like Selma from Night Court and looks at the world through a lens of shockingly hysterical cynicism which stems from her disability.

     As we sat drinking our coffees that day, Fleur approached and greeted my wife warmly. My wife bought her a coffee and shook her hand (Tina has evolved into one of the few germless humans evidently. Meanwhile I remain an untouchable) .

    Tina explained that  she was going to Maine on an overnight fishing trip with her parents.

      Looking at Tina’s red top Fleur cocked a disparaging eye, “Well you’re not going to wear that are ya’?”

       “Thought I might.” Tina returned “Is there something wrong with it?”

     “No… no. It’s just that fish don’t like red. You need to wear white.” Fleur explained.

     We passed a few more pleasantries and then my wife tried to bring the conversation around to the spiritual.

     “Fleur do you know Jesus?” She asked.

      “Oh sure I know him.” Fleur said. “But I don’t really like him.”

      “Why not?” Tina asked.

     “Well because he’s a cannibal. So’s his wife Barbara.” Fleur explained.

       When we’d finished picking our jaws up off the ground we tried to explain to Fleur that we were talking about a different Jesus. She wasn’t having any of it. In her world Jesus eats people and that’s that.

       There are some walls that we will never be able to tear down in our own power.  Some people’s view of God is so skewed that nothing we say or do is going to be able to convince them that God, the real God, is a God of love.

    I have learned though, in working with so many of my friends, that convincing them that God is real, or loving, or good is not really my job. That is God’s job and just between you and me He can hold His own in the convincing department.

     My job is just to be wherever God chooses to put me and  to tell whomever God sends to me that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. That message doesn’t change whether I am in church or in a coffee shop. It doesn’t change whether I am talking to another born again Christian or to Fleur who believes Christ is a cannibal.

     The truth is the truth and as they say regardless of the situation “the truth will out.”