I love coffee. Attending the Canadian Council of Churches biannual meeting afford very little time to explore the surrounding community. But a quick stroll around the campus revealed the existence of the Cafe Qui Pense. Located next to a local bookstore the café offers a great selection of specialty coffees and baked goods. Like many great local coffee shops there are also fine books and magazines to read as one sits in the small but comfortable seating available to customers. The experience was such that I felt at peace before, during and after the coffee drinking experience.

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I also enjoyed meeting the locals who drop in, some just to pick up a coffee on the way to work, some to sit and take in the atmosphere. In particular I enjoy the people who come with their dogs. Because many leave the dogs tied up outside the café I get to go outside with my coffee and greet the canine in a fulsome manner. Oddly while I am very familiar with speech I like to keep my physical distance with people. But not with dogs! I love to get down on my knees and greet the dog on eye level, and pat the dog to let her/him know how interested I am. This also deepens the spirit of peace at the café.

Cafes offer an opportunity to meet the locals who live and work in an area, to get a feel for the context of the place where I am doing “theology”. Studying theology, especially the ecumenical experience of working with 40+ denominations in a small and intimate setting, can remove one from the realities of life that surround us. But diving into the community around us tests that theology and reminds us what the endgame is for a life of ideas and thought. If we can’t talk to our neighbour, the stranger, the other, about what we believe and how we believe, what good is that experience?

Speaking of connecting with others I also find it a great pleasure to identify those in my midst who have rendered me or others exceptional service. Here at the Canadian Council of Church Jolan is that person, she is responsible for the all of the delegate needs; from sleeping arrangements, travel, dietary needs, internet connections, and scheduling. I really appreciate this work she does and so it was a great pleasure to treat her to a latte, a small gesture of kindness and gratitude.

The Mocha I am drinking as I type this blog is delicious. I save money in many ways; in terms of transportation (bus and walking is cheaper than driving/gas), clothing (buying used), and food (I use gift cards people give me to buy lunch) and have no expensive hobbies, nor do I spend money on fitness centres (walking keeps me reasonably fit). So the coffee is a treat I give myself as a means of enjoying life and finding things that bring me joy. When people challenge me on the money I spend on coffee I ask them what they spend on parking, gas, the gym, clothes, etc… Usually my $4-5 coffees is small potatoes in comparison.

Coffee does have caffeine and that can be problematic. But I feel that because I drink it black, without any ingredients, and because I do not drink coffee to stay awake or gain energy (I am naturally energetic and hyper) I feel the value I draw from coffee is one of taste and the feeling I receive from the experience.

Coffee is a sweet joy.