Coffee and Communion

Remember back a couple of months when I talked about having found a new church?  A church that seemed just perfect for us?  A church I felt extraordinarily happy about?

Yeah.  I’m not really sure I’m there anymore. 

Quirky little things have been bothering me about this new place.  And I realize that no church is perfect, but these quirky little things are starting to become majorly bothersome. 

If it just weren’t for their coffee and communion…

This place is obsessed with their coffee.  I don’t know why.  I understand people like their coffee, but must we incorporate it into the church service?

When we first started attending this church their coffee bar (which was full of all kinds of free coffee and coffee-like drinks) was placed right there in the sanctuary.  Granted, it was in the back and off to the side, but it was still IN the sanctuary.  People would get up at all times during the service to fetch themselves a refill.  The place reeked of all things coffee-related.  I thought it was a little weird, but the church was small.  Tiny, in fact.  And well, if they wanted their coffee, and they had no place else to serve it, then what was the big deal?  Still, it kinda bothered me.  I mean, did it have to be right THERE, in the SANCTUARY?
(By the way, that entire previous paragraph is NOT supposed to be italicized.  WordPress is currently being retarded.)

Now the church has moved into a new facility, a facility large enough so that the coffee bar is in the foyer and not the sanctuary.  Yet, the entire staff is encouraging people to get up at any point during the service and help themselves to more.  Don’t worry about it, they said.  It doesn’t bother the pastor in the least, if you need your coffee, then by all means, get up and get your coffee. 

Now, maybe I’m just being picky, but um… shouldn’t the focus during the service be on GOD and not your need for another STUPID COFFEE REFILL?!  I mean, aren’t your priorities a little screwy if you’re more concerned about the dwindling amount of coffee in your cup than what you’re hearing about in the sermon?  Call me crazy, but this isn’t a coffee shop, people.  It’s a place of worship.  Get your coffee before, get your coffee later, but for Pete’s Sake, once the service starts, sit down, shut up and get your focus where it’s supposed to be.  (And in case anyone is wondering, it’s not on your COFFEE.)

Also, this chuch doesn’t serve communion.  Nope.  Not so much.  It’s more of a “self serve” sort of situation when it comes to communion.  They have the tables set up in the back of the sanctuary with the bread and the wine (or the grape juice, if you will).  It’s sort of a “do it yourself” communion situation.  You can get up at any time during the worship service and take the communion in remembrance of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us.  The worship leaders do specify, however, that you need not be a member of the church, but you should be saved and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ before partaking in the communion.

This is all well and good, and maybe I’m getting to be a bit of a traditionalist here, but…  why can’t they just do it the same way churches have been doing it for centuries in which the pastor or priest leads the congregation in the taking of communion?  Now, maybe people want to take it in their own time at their own pace but… it feels more… appropriate?…  to have the pastor lead the congregation in the prayer and scriptural readings so that what communion really is and means can be clearly defined.

Am I just being picky here?  Silly?  Critical?  Whiny?

It just bothers me.  Sometimes I feel like churches are so busy trying to make church into an “entertainment experience”, trying to kow-tow to the silly wants, needs and demands of the world around us, trying to entice non-believers into the whole experience by offering coffee and treats and loud music and flashing lights and smoke and mirrors… that somehow… God gets lost in the shuffle.  Is this about God?  Or is it about what everyone else wants?  Does anyone stop to ask, “Are we honoring God with this or are we just creating a distraction?”

I’m not saying church needs to be boring, full of old hymns and liturgy, so lacking in life and inspiration that it would bore the most devout Christian to tears.  But could we possibly get the focus back to where it’s supposed to be?  Which is, in case we’ve forgotten… is GOD?! 

Meh.  Maybe I’ll feel differently next week, maybe I won’t.  (Okay, I’m fairly certain I won’t.)  I don’t mean to say this church is wrong… after all, who am I to say what they should and should not do?  But it just might be that the church is wrong for me.  We’ll see.

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8 Comments

Filed under Christianity, religion, spirituality

8 responses to “Coffee and Communion

  1. Sharon

    Oh…my…goodness!!! I’ve never heard of such a church!!! Next thing, they’ll be serving doughnuts and cookies!!!!!

    And the self-serve communion, I mean, REALLY!!!!

    I can totally understand why this place makes you a little uncomfortable!

    Hey, maybe the next church you visit will have various hot-dishes to nosh on during services!

  2. Julie L.

    OK, so the coffee maybe isn’t that big of a deal. It’s a little distracting, but no more so than parents who insist on letting their children sit through the service and color on the bulletins, slurp juice out of their sippy cups and spill Cheerios all over the pews. But the whole self-serve communion thing??? That’s weird. That would probably be a deal breaker for me.

  3. Perhaps they should just serve communion at the coffee bar and kill two birds with one stone.

    Don’t let it get to you, no matter what church you go to, you are bound to find religion. For instance, our church can’t seem to be able to pray to God without a CD playing and a microphone in hand. Apparently God is hard of hearing with all the jet noise out here and prefers a soundtrack to go along with the petitions.

    At least your religion has caffeine and sugar. All I get to suck on is leftover spit and instrumental versions of tired hymns.

  4. well, the coffee thing I could let go…maybe. I mean, lutherans (if it is lutheran) love their coffee…of course, your church sounds too uptight about their coffee and the varieties thereof to be lutheran, so maybe that isn’t the case. But everyone sometimes needs to get away from the sermon, most of the churches just require you take a little trip in your head.

    The communion thing, however, that’d be a major situation for me. If a pastor and/or deacons (or elders, or whatnot…the people called to serve in leadership positions) aren’t handing it out, then it’s just crackers and wine for me, which I could get at home.

    Of course, at home, I don’t have pre-made varieties of coffee to choose from…

  5. Since Mormonism is a lot like McDonald’s (as in, no matter where in the world you go it is more or less the same) this was a totally fascinating post for me.

    My hunch is that you will know soon enough if it’s for you and trust your instincts.

  6. Ha, ha, ha!

    OMGoodness! I laughed so much at this and at the comments as well.

    Church is so full of religion, no matter how hard you try not to be legalistic/religious, you end up being legalistic/religious. You can make everything religious. (Shaking hands with the pastor, praying BEFORE praise and worship instead of after, making announcements after the sermon, etc.) God must laugh at us sometimes. I can’t imagine having coffee right in the sanctuary. Do they have a cash register too? Can you hear the totals being rung up? Do people jingle their change when paying for the coffee? That would be quite a distraction.

    Anyway, not to make your situation any less than it is, but that was just HILARIOUS. Thanks for the laugh. I’m sure you will figure out if you want to stay or not. :)

  7. Well this is America, Humanism and Liberalists really seem to go together, like coffee and sugar. How true Dave, why don’t they just have commumion and coffee in the same place. We sure have our values mis-placed. More of the “dumbing down”…and it’s affecting the Church. I’m leaving.

  8. if you’re leaving, be sure to grab some communion on your way out, and some coffee to wash it down…

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