01 February 2009

The Church Of Strong Coffee

On Friday morning, I had coffee with Pastor Nadia at St. Mark's Coffee House. The coffee is strong at St. Mark's, and so is Nadia: her intensity, experience, community and her faith make a strong cup of brew! Let's say six shots of espresso...

Why? Well, I wanted to see what it was like to talk with someone I might actually think of as my pastor because a) I haven't ever actually talked to a pastor, and b) I've never thought of thinking of someone as my pastor. I also wanted to find out how her church got to where it is.

One thing she said that I liked very much was that the church grew organically from the needs of the people. Not planted in any intentional way to meet a perceived need. This is no 7-11 planted franchised church experience! It turns out that the HFASS has been meeting in one form or another since January 2008 but has only been having weekly church services since end of November, so at this point: "first visit you're a visitor, second visit you're a charter member," says Nadia. We also talked about the importance of community to christian faith. As Nadia put it: "when your mother dies, your yoga instructor is not going to bring you a casserole."

The best part was a discussion of Truth, and rejection of the idea that we know ourselves what that means in any absolute sense. God knows, we don't. Just because Christianity works for us, doesn't mean that that particular little niche of Christianity over on 5th Avenue is the be all and end all of the search for meaning, love and truth. There may be more than one path - not really up to us to make that call - though it seems likely to me. I got a feeling the Table is a whole lot bigger than many think. Folks might be surprised to see whose breaking bread with who at the end of time. God is bigger than me, my ability to comprehend the universe, and Christianity itself.

No doubt god works in mysterious ways, and me sitting in St. Mark's coffeehouse with Pastor Nadia is proof of that.


Thanks to "Out Of Ur" for the perfect graphic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It would be wonderful to find one of the churches that are also community. Your pastor's words haven't been played out in my life. Nobody from church brought casserolls when my mom died - or my dad either. The truly caring people in my life at those times were from my service club.