Gospel According to Starbucks part 3

Sprezzatura is an inherently contradictory, even ironic, word: it means the ability to make hard things look easy, the effort to appear effortless, the grace of gawkiness, a tour de force performance designed not to look performative.” (90)

“The key to sprezzatura is paradox, the audacious algebra of the spiritual, the natural language of faith. If one reason why the church isn’t the most creative place around, it’s the fear of living with contradictions, the inability to get it right in both directions.” (91)

Paradox is the midwife of truth… it comes to those who are good at both standing still and journeying on. (91)

Jesus’ goal was not that everyone understand him, but that everyone experience him. In fact, Jesus didn’t expect everyone to get his revolutionary message. He did invite everyone, however, to hear God’s story, to become part of the God’s story, and to learn about others who joined God’s story or were seeking God’s presence.” (92)

“In fact, the essence of orthodox is what I call paradoxy. Biblical truth marries orthodoxy and orthopraxy into a union that Dwight Friesen calls orthoparadoxy. In fact, the word heresy derives from the Greek word choice: choosing one truth to the exclusion of other truths. Heresy is the cross uncrossed: when the vertical and the horizontal no longer connect. Truth is when a body holds together its various parts in conversation and harmony. Truth is when opposites become not a battleground but a playground. That’s why people of faith have such sharp noses for incongruities, ironies, and oxymoron.” (92)

“The resurrected Christ is both dead and alive. By taking scar tissue with him into eternity, Jesus announced that he is our dead and resurrected Lord. We like to talk about Jesus as our risen and regnant Lord, but that doesn’t get it quite right. Better to speak of our crucified and risen Lord. But best of all, Jesus is our dead and resurrected Lord, our crucified and crowned Lord.” (93)

St. Augustine described God as semper agens, semper quietus: “always active, always at rest.” (94)

“Every Christian is simul justus et peccator: simultaneously saint and sinner.” (94)

“In Jesus’ many two-handers, he could say, ‘Let the dead bury the dead’ on the one hand while on the other he could say, ‘Always go the extra mile.’ Or look at the two answers he gave as to how to obtain eternal life: (a) to Nicodemus he said, ‘You must be born again,’ and (b) to the rich young ruler he said, ‘Sell what you have.'” (94-95)

Note the “edges” that Sweet lists on page 96.

While we dream, the part of our brain that comprehends written language is dormant. We are unable to read in our dreams. Dreams have powerful images. (98)

“People today are like the Israelites in the desert: they’ll follow a cloud or a pillar of fire, but not abstract commands and disembodied voices. We want music, not math; poetry, not polemics. Once, God became fire and cloud. Then God became flesh. God did not become a Powerpoint presentation in the sky.” (111)

“A Christian’s faith is not impassioned by the correctness of a carefully constructed dogma or the logic of an unassailable verbal argument. But faith is set on fire by the images that the words of Scripture present.” (112)

We need to take the global and the local seriously. Even Jesus saved the world by taking the local seriously. (120-21)

“In premodern society everyone was a celebrity, due to being known in the neighborhood and known for something, whereas in modern society only the elite qualified for celebrity status.” (122)

“Coffee is a communal drink, the Baptist beer.” (128)

“The postmodern world’s capacity to multiply connections and magnify disconnectedness sweeps people into solitary journeys with many ‘contact us’ invitations. But contacts are not relationships. Even those most iglooed in their Outlook must break out of their desktops. In the world of Paul Ginsborg, ‘In each of their lives, there comes a moment of verification, when ‘non places’ are not enough… For, sooner or later, individuals need to measure themselves against reality, to obtain external proof, to try and decide on forms of conduct.” (130)

“Starbucks gives away a free living room for you to use while enjoying your beverage. Thirty-three million people stop in weekly and hang out in those comfy chairs and couches. And for those who buy something while hanging out, the average tab is only four dollars. In other words, Starbucks gives away a third place for very little money. This low-cost (to you) space is not the office and it’s not your home. It’s a much-needed third place where you connect with others in a different way.” (131)

Oldenburg’s list of essential requirements for third spaces include: “neutral ground, inclusive and promotes social equality, conversation is the central activity, frequented by regulars who welcome newcomers, typically nonpretentious, homey place, and fosters a playful mood.” (132)

“In a culture without a front porch, in a culture where we built up the backs of our houses with decks and walls, not the fronts of our houses where we might connect with a passing neighbor; in a world where we invested in privacy over hospitality, Starbucks spoke these words: ‘We’ll be your front porch. Hang out here.'” (134)

“The only ones who are afraid are those who think that they are alone.” St. Catherine of Sienna (139)

“Jesus didn’t christen us servants. He chose to call us friends. Usually there is a halo effect over anyone’s last words, so you’d think the church would listen especially hard to Jesus’ final instructions. He had to choose  his concluding words carefully. And he chose to say this: God wants a relationship with you, not as servants, but as friends. ‘I no longer call you servants… Instead, I have called you friends.’ John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience was his transformation from being God’s servant to being God’s friend.” (148-49)

One of the original meanings of the Latin conversari, from which we get our word conversation, was ‘to live together. (154)


Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: