Thursday, May 7, 2009

....across the room to talk about coffee....

Coffee.  My heart always skips a beat when a friend calls to invite me for coffee.  It means I can drop what I'm doing and enjoy the company of someone I like to be with.  It's a communal drink according to Leonard Sweet, author of "The Gospel According to Starbucks". The discovery of coffee apparently was  what saved many from the grip that alcohol had on them during the Dark Ages when it was unsafe to drink water and this included women and children.  An English Puritan wrote the following poem in 1674:
When the sweet Poison of the Treacherous Grape
Had acted on the world a general rape;
Drowning our Reason and our souls
In such deep seas of large o'erflowing bowls....
When foggy Ale, leavying up mighty trains,
Of muddy vapours, had besieg'd our Brains,
Then Heaven in Pity....
First sent amongst us this All-healing Berry....
Coffee arrives, that grave and wholesome Liquor,
That heals the stomach, makes the genius quicker,
Relieves the memory, revives the sad,
And cheers the Spirits, without making mad.

I had no idea coffee houses date back to around 1650!  They spread throughout Europe and were considered "information exchanges'...a place for movers and shakers to discuss what they were reading.  Each coffee house had a brand name that advertised whether it was for writers, philosophers, businessmen or poets etc!  The more they prospered the more conversation became an art.  Apparently the eighteenth century became known as "The age of conversation".  Sweet says that if you started a quarrel in a coffee house you had to atone for it by buying a round for everyone!  Now I'm not sure how accurate this book is but I sure enjoyed all these bits of information.

The book is not entirely about coffee though.  It's written to illustrate how the Christian life is meant to be experienced and fully participated in with God.  He says that when our life is a life of passion for God, it takes on the taste and feel of God and invites others to experience Him too.

PS...the coffee picture is from 2002 in New Mexico...


Jobina said...

are you feeling coffee deprived Mom? If you want yet another book about coffee and Christianity you could also try Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian.
Now I will finish my decaf.

Elayne said...

No Jobina, I'm not feeling deprived at all. But after slugging my way through that book I'm not ready for your suggestion yet. Maybe later?
BTW, our Starbucks gives me half decaf, half reg. Americano for the same price as a decaf :)