It was a Saturday morning. I decided to ride my bicycle to Starbucks, get some exercise, and drink a warm cup of coffee. I had just used my I-Phone to pull up the day’s news.
We the "connected generation" read our news on a phone at our cool coffee shops!
Suddenly a group of people gathered around me and started a religious service. They were with a local Baptist Church, and had decided to have their devotional. Fifteen of them sat all around me and I heard one whisper, “He was here first, perhaps he will leave.” I wasn’t about to leave, and as I pulled up the New York Times, they started praying, and one mumbling a strange language. I think he was “speaking in tongues”. It was hard to enjoy my coffee, while they prayed, sang, spoke in tongues, and in general dominated the Star Bucks. I noticed that some people (who weren’t there for a religious service) left, but I was determined not to be driven out of a nice cup of coffee and a peaceful newspaper reading by a group of religious people. I did wonder, why they didn’t meet at their church, so they wouldn’t bother me, and everyone else in the room. Their singing was in conflict with “Nora Jones” on the speaker system, but they just sang louder.
Finally, one of them, swaying in a religious gesture, hit my arm and caused me to spill coffee on my I-Phone, and I uttered an expletive as the hot coffee hit a sensitive area. That attracted a glare, which was enough. As I left, I told a lady watching “The Crusaders have won, I retreat” as she laughed and said; “I’m leaving too”.
I wrote Star Bucks a letter asking if it was their company policy to let religious groups hold services in their stores and they said: “Our policy is that anyone can meet at Starbucks!” and I shuddered to think I was going to miss my hot coffee at Starbucks. I imagined various religions, doing Isalmic prayers, Hindu sutras, Krishna bell ringings and red Buddhist robes in Starbucks. (Then I thought, no, none of those groups would be that impolite, they will keep it in an appropriate place).
A few days later, I went to a “Mega Church”, there were over a thousand people gathered and the auditorium had no empty seats. In this church, there is a “Generic” coffee shop, made to look like Starbucks, even with strange names and high prices. Their idea?
"Buy the coffee from us and give the $ to Jesus". I found a logo that fit:
There was a flat screen T.V., where I could listen to the preacher and the worship service. It was a bit strange, when I took a sip of my “Mocha” just as a deacon passed the communion of little grape juices (blood of Christ), and crackers (body of Christ). But, I was ok, until about fifteen women sat in a group beside me, and all started talking and gossiping so loud that I couldn’t hear the preacher. I turned the TV up, and they simply increased their volume.
What is it with coffee shops lately? I go to a secular store and the religious people take over. I go to a religious coffee shop, and the secular people take over.
I’ve decided there must be a separation of Church and Coffee. Thomas Jefferson would be proud to tell those Religious zealots to "Go get a room...in a church."