I grew up in a home where coffee was a very normal occurrence. There was a massive pot brewing every morning, evening and sometimes afternoons. It’s a very Canadian experience, having a continuous supply of coffee and understanding what a double-double truly means.
Isn’t it exciting to introduce someone to coffee? You start them off slowly, with a weak coffee flavoured, sweet and milky beverage and slowly their taste buds expand. After some time, they grow to love coffee and you feel excited to be able to share in the coffee-lovers’ experience.
I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee-snob. I was once told that coffee lovers are the people who go above and beyond to get the perfect brewed cup with special beans, devices and steps involved. Once, I was even told my ‘coffee experience’ was unimpressive and dull because I’ve always been around the simple brewed type of hot beverage. Apparently to some, the extreme conversion to coffee tasting is better, as if the outcome of enjoying the same caffeine threshold is any different to how you ‘do’ coffee.
I don’t have a crazy life-changing moment of this one time when I sipped a French Press, an aerated or a stovetop espresso brewed beverage and decided everything I knew about life was about to change. I just drank coffee because my parents drank coffee because my grandparents drank coffee. It is a simple joy in my family because we all love coffee. There is no question of whether or not someone has a coffee pot because we all do.
The foamed lattes and freshly ground beans in a complex hot drink taste wonderful, I won’t deny this. But I am happy with my average Cup o’ Joe from my ancient coffee pot. I am, because of this, a caffeine-lover and not a coffee lover according to some definitions.
But…Coffee is coffee is coffee.
As long as the outcome is made with care and love because you enjoy the beverage or the people whom you’re sharing the coffee experience with, the way it is brewed does not really matter. (What would matter is whether the result is tea or instant ‘coffee’ when coffee was promised and you’re left with a sorely disappointed feeling. It’s as though you expected a chocolate chip cookie and after having taken a greedy bite discovered a raisin cookie instead. But I digress.)
Let’s replace “coffee” with “Church”. It does not really matter whether you grew up in the Church, met Jesus on the street or discovered a fancy cathedral where God dwells. It does not matter whether you wear certain clothing or act in a particular way to follow a certain denomination. The Church is the Church is the Church.
Sometimes coffee is made incorrectly and sometimes the Church messes up. But this does not negate what the Church is nor what coffee is.
“Church” is not a building but a group of people, just like coffee is not a particular bean but a hot beverage.
If there are any doubts about what I am meaning, here’s the point: How we come to be a part of the Church does not matter, as long as we recognize the key element of what makes up the Church: the Gospel.