Posted tagged ‘Bible’

Baristas and The Bible

May 12, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      May, 12, 2018


It feels a little bit like “Baptist Mom Guilt” (BMG) is being laid upon me, and yet there is sad truth to it!

In The American Bible Society’s 2018 State of the Bible, Barna Research announced that 37% of Americans say that coffee is a daily necessity for them. The Bible was viewed by 16% as a daily necessity. Between java and Jesus were “something sweet” (28%) and social media (19%).

I’m feeling an altar call for repentance! I’m sitting on my usual last stool on the right at my local Starbucks as I write these words! I know the names of my baristas better (Cody, Rhea, Sara, Katie, Steph, Chase, Viv, and Kallie) than the order of the Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, ehhh…)! My Keurig gets more use than First and Second Kings!

I too often fall into the category of those who say, “I’ve heard it all before!” I admit that there are times I look at my Bible like it’s a replaying of It’s A Wonderful Life. Nice, heartwarming, great story, and…flip it over to the Kentucky basketball game and see what the score is?

Surprisingly, my generation and the generation older than me are the two generations more likely to say coffee is needed. Baby boomers (47%) and those 75 years of age and older (46%) put the dark roast as the best part of waking up. Millennials and Generation X are both in the low 30%’s. 

What is even sadder (Hear the BMG again!) is the plethora of Bibles of different versions and reading levels that are available. Go to a Mardel’s and there is a long, floor-to-ceiling, wall of the Word! There’s Bibles for seniors, youth, single people, divorced folk, people in need of healing, military, moms and dads, young couples, and pentecostals. There has been market saturation of scripture, and yet for more and more folk it’s lost it’s appeal, kind of like Rocky 7. 

And I guess if there’s going to be change it needs to start with me! Am I willing to pray for the centrality of the Word of God in my life? Will I allow my spirit to sip through a couple of Psalms today just as much as my Pike Place medium roast? Will my Bible speak to me today as much as this morning’s barista, the warm and friendly, Cody? Will I be as concerned about what God would reveal to me in Philippians today as I am about getting the right mixture of cream and sugar in my brew? 

As the patronage of Starbucks increases the interest in scripture decreases. Barna found that the percentage of people who said they wished they would use the Bible more is lower than it has been in seven years. 

The interesting thing that I’ve noticed at Starbucks is the number of people who read their Bibles here while sipping on a latte. I’ve noticed groups of three or four engaged in bible study. Maybe in some weird way a coffee shop can be a “brewing ground” for increased use of those leather-bound books of God’s story!

I’m pulling out my iPad right now to take a couple of gulps!

(Statistics from Lifeway Facts and Trends, May 11, 2018)

Spiritually Suspicious

June 3, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                    June 2, 2013


There is something about our mindset that is strange. We often long for, and pray for, the touch of God upon our lives in such powerful ways, and yet when someone proclaims that he has experienced a powerful encounter with the Lord we are, more often than not, suspicious.

Perhaps it is because we aren’t quite sure God would present himself in such a way.

Or it could be that we are a bit jealous that someone else gets to experience the hand of God instead of us. Kind of like getting new underwear for Christmas while our sibling gets new Legos. Who would be happy about that?

Or perhaps it is because we’ve gotten burned for believing that such things happen too many times. Someone tells us how God has appeared to him, and then we find out a while later that it was all a hoax. We wanted to believe. Believing is risking, but like the boy who cried “Wolf!”, too many false alarms has left us leery of trusting in the real holy moment.

Let’s be honest! Sometimes people use our tendency to be gullible towards spiritual matters to pull the wool over our eyes.

The tragedy is that God still is working, and moving, and healing. He is still the God of the burning bush and closed lions’ mouths.

Facebook and Youtube have made us instant celebrities, but also immediately doubtful. As our culture becomes less familiar with the Bible it becomes prone more to being swayed by the spectacular. What if God, however chooses to be in the calm, the gentle whisper? At that point do we become visually-impaired to his hand?

I’ve witnessed a person be overwhelmed by the singing of a praise song. God was doing something in her life. I’ve also experienced the moving of God in the midst of a conversation with one other person. But I’ve also felt the uneasiness over the sharing of what was perceived as being a great moving of the Spirit.

It is confusing.

When talking to the Corinthian church about their worship issues, Paul said something that applies to this spiritual suspicion we feel. He writes, “When we worship the right way, God doesn’t stir us up into confusion; he brings us into harmony. This goes for all the churches- no exceptions.” (1 Corinthians 14:35, The Message)

If it is confusing, perhaps it needs further inspection, further contemplation and prayer. God is not a God of confusion, but he is the God of people who are quite often confused.

Gutenbergers and Googlers

April 17, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                   April 17, 2012

Recently I was cooking steaks on the outdoor grill. The problem was that it was dark outside (that often happens at night!), and our deck light wasn’t giving me much help. The flames from the gas grill brought some light…to the bottom side of the steaks…but when light shines towards you it does nothing to reveal what the object looks like on the side you can see.

Carol saw my quandary, and she comes outside with her cell phone.

Hey! I need more light, not a Sprint techie!”

She then turns her cell phone into a flashlight and instantly reveals that the steaks need some more time.


It’s getting more and more amazing what kind of apps you can get for your cell phone. At Starbucks there is a free app card each week. You just take the card, enter in the code on your iTunes account, and download the app to your phone. I can now play Scrabble, Angry Birds, watch a movie, read a book, check the news, and text all my “friends” to let them know I’m drinking a cup of Italian Roast.

The point is that we are in a crunch period in the church between two cultures, the Gutenbergers and the Googlers. Leonard Sweet, in his new book Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival, makes some clear distinctions between the two separated generations. “Gutenbergers” are “into the word.” No, I’m not talking about the Bible, although they do use it. I’m talking about the printed text, the hard copy.

Googlers are into TGIF! If you just translated those capital letters with the phrase “Thank God Its Friday!”, you are probably a “Gutenberger.” If you filled in the blanks of T_G_I_F_ with “Text, Google, iPhone, and Facebook” you are probably more of a “Googler.”

If the pastor says to look up Mark 2:21-23 and you reach for the Bible in the pew rack you’re most likely a Gutenberger. If you reach for your cell phone you are either a Googler, or trying to become one.

The challenge for “the church” is to realize that the Ephesians 4 passage about there being ‘one body and one Spirit” is a call to not cultural division, but the treasuring of different people in different place with different perspectives and different journeys…but one Lord!

“Gutenbergers” tend to be pushier and more determined. Worship services become turf wars about music and length and dress styles. But “Gutenbergers” are also resilient and persistent. “Googlers” tend to need others to get them through, to journey with them. “Gutenbergers” have a “John Wayne” trait.

“Gutenbergers” view the constant texting of “Googlers” as needless drivel and a sign of idle hands with nothing to do. “Googlers” see “text” as a verb and a crucial part of deepening relationships. It is the equivalent of my Uncle Milliard sitting on a bench with some other men in front of the county courthouse on a summer afternoon, in terms of us kids at the time, “Not doing anything!” The difference is that “Googlers” can “sit” with any of their friends at any moment even though they are separated by thousands of miles.

The point is that both cultures need each other. The first group that has a tendency to say “We were here first!” needs to hear . . . really hear the second group’s response “We are here now.” Exclamation mark ends the first group’s sentence, but a simple period finishes the second group’s response.

The alternative is to keep the two cultures separate and allow the fear to build . . . to build suspicions about each other . . . and become convinced that neither “Gutenbergers” nor “Googlers” can learn anything from one another.