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Holy Grounds: The Surprising Connection between Coffee and Faith – From Dancing Goats to Satan’s Drink by Tim Schenck

I’m writing this review having walked into a local cafe I normally frequent several times a week. If I want something other than my regular long macchiato, I probably have to warn them as I walk in so that that isn’t ready for me as I reach the till to pay.

I’ve been drinking long macchiatos for more than a couple of decades now – recommended to me by a barista when I was looking for a switch from a long black which was slightly less bitter.

Coffee is a daily ritual in my life. Coffee has a particular place in New Zealand’s culture.

One could say, New Zealand has an addiction to coffee. The city of Christchurch, with a population of about 400,000, has a couple of thousand places selling quality coffee. That’s a cafe (with several people working there) for every 200 people – adult, child, baby. Essentially, every new building going up in our city (don’t forget – foreign readers – about our quakes) has at least one cafe in it. Some don’t survive, economically, and end up closing.

If you are a regular in a cafe, and wear a clerical collar, you’ll also know about the chaplaincy-like place that you end up occupying in that space.

So here is my e-friend, Tim Schenck, a priest serving in The Episcopal Church, writing history and reflection around coffee. What a great concept!

He writes from coffee’s origins through its place in our culture to contemporary fair trade and environmental issues.

Fr Tim is a blogger, on twitter, and a founder of Lent Madness. He writes with wit and wisdom. This is a wonderful, sacramental exploration of coffee, an easy read. There are many parallels to spirituality, church, and faith – and the church often looks (too much?) to cafes with envy.

I haven’t finished the book yet – but I certainly have read enough to encourage you to buy it, read it – at a cafe, maybe try a long macchiato in a tulip cup.

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