Tag Archive: Starbucks


Christmas is coming!

For different people that means different things.

i like to start referring to myself as ‘The Grinch’ as Christmas approaches, but it’s not entirely true. Continue reading

Earlier today i was sitting working in Starbucks while Chris Martin sang gentle somewhat melancholic tunes to me.

SUDDENLY, like in a movie [one that was maybe titled ‘Everyone in Starbucks rushes pointingly at the window’] everyone in the store suddenly started rushing to the window behind me, pointing and looking very much like they had just witnessed someone steal a laptop computer from an unassuming customer outside before jumping through the window of a car that came screaming up and drove wildly off into the distance.

What had happened to cause such a ruckus, you might ask? [especially if you were the kind of person who uses words like ‘ruckus’ in ordinary everyday sentences].

Well, outside the Starbucks store, and clearly visible through the window behind me, a man had just had his laptop grabbed by a young guy who then jumped through the window of a car that came screaming up and drove wildly off into the distance. 

Talk about action. No, that was an observation, not a command. Stop actually discussing the concept of ‘action’ and pay attention here…



What made it a little worse for the guy in question was that a short while later i overheard him speaking on his phone in Starbucks and he was telling the person on the other end of the phone, [and me, i guess, but with far less intentionality], that this was the second time it had happened to him. The second time he had lost a laptop.

This was starting to sound like my life for a second [For the record, i think i am on three – two stolen and one blown over the side of a mountain by a gust of wind – true story!]

i was super bummed for the guy and spent a bunch of time trying to figure out if there was anything i could do for him. “Um, sorry you lost your laptop computer, but can i buy you a Flourless Chewy Chocolate Cookie?” didn’t seem like the most helpful of things to say, and “Hey, can i buy you a new laptop?” didn’t feel like anything i wanted to try and explain to tbV later that evening.


The one thing i had heard him say [this is not a blog post about the importance of not eavesdropping on people in coffee shops just in case you thought that was the twist cautiously making its way to you] was something about needing to go somewhere to pick up a different computer so he could finish the work he needed to do.

On this particular day i happened to have the black tinted window gangster BMW we have been kindly lent for the last few months and so eventually i approached him and pretended to grab his bag. No, i didn’t. That would have been horrible. Stoppit! But i asked him if he had a vehicle and explained that i had one and if he needed to get somewhere i could give him a ride.

He seemed genuinely moved and appreciative, but he turned down the ride with some or other reason i didn’t listen to [i felt like i’d eavesdropped enough by that point] and i went on my way. And as he left the Starbucks a little later, he turned to me and gave me one of those we-both-get-the-same-thing subtle head nods and i smiled at him because i had no idea why he was subtly head nodding and figured i needed to pretend i did or else he might come back in and try to explain it to me.


So a story about me not giving a stranger a lift. How useful is that?

Well, i am hoping there is a bit of a point.

This past weekend the whole #YesAllWomen hashtag and ensuing stories and blog posts and articles really affected me quite deeply. i resonated so deeply with the message that was being both passionately shared and enthusiastically pushed back against. But i didn’t really have any idea what to do to make any of it any less painful.

So i wrote this blog post. And it didn’t feel like much at all, and probably wasn’t. But it was something. Like the little kid in the story of Jesus feeding the crowd who gave up his lunch [which let’s face it was completely ridiculously underwhelming in the face of the immense need] i gave what i had and hoped against hope that it would be used to accomplish far more than it ever had the capacity to achieve in and of itself. All i really had to offer was awareness and i am looking at what feels like the next step which is asking the right questions [anyone know what ‘The Right Questions’ are? or one right question? even one ‘Heading towards rightish’ question might be a good start?]


On another day, the laptopless guy might have really appreciated a lift somewhere. i hope that i will be the one asking when that happens.

i am trying to cultivate a mindset of being more open to invite the interruption that happens around me. You see, i had a bunch of work i was in the middle of doing, so giving this guy a lift would certainly not have been convenient. It probably would not have been comfortable [cos he probably would have wanted to speak to me or something… urgh… and then expected me to maybe speak back.] But it would have been great.

If he had needed a lift, i imagine he would have felt loved. Actually i imagine he felt that anyways [that subtle head nod had to mean SOMEthing?]

And that is a great start. It is not a great finish. There is more we can do. There are more significant ways for us to get involved, but we have to do what we can and hope that something more impressive reveals itself as we do so.

That is all. Except i’m not that convinced that i would ever go and watch a movie called  ‘Everyone in Starbucks rushes pointingly at the window’, no matter how much Johnny Depp starred in it.


[One man who has inspired by me in this by sharing his platform with some women so that their voices can be heard is Micah J Murray and you can read some of those powerful posts over here in this first post by Becca Rose]

Okay, so wanted to share some more sound bytes from the CCDA Conference i am currently attending in New Orleans…

highlights of day 2 so far was really just connection with people before and after sessions – old friends, new friends and even old friends of new friends… someone spoke out on the leadership panel this morning against the idea of people being called “human resources” but whatever the word or phrase they would like to use to describe the phenomenon, there is certainly an abundance of great resource contained in a lot of the humans i have met here… so just a wealth of experience and understanding and creativity and really trying to connect with a bunch of quality folks this week and hoping something will rub off somewhere.

after preaching about God being hot a few weeks ago [not really] i am learning to contextualise my speak now that i am among local foreigners and especially after lunch when i was telling the story of how i once took a third class train from Cape Town to Johannesburg in South Africa and it was so hectic that at one point this drug dealer in my cabin offered me protection… i meant that he would protect me from danger [not that he was offering me a condom, Erin!] and so always good to make sure people get what you’re offering them.

so fun times, good food, dangerously placed Starbucks, but it has good wi-fi so think of all the “money i am saving”

this morning’s worship time was again a powerful time – a very diverse crowd makes for diverse expressions of worship and although i’m sure we’d all love a lot more, it has been great to at least sing one song per session in a different language… this morning was Spanish and it was stunning.


Looking at the message to the church in Ephesus from Revelations 2 the message was pretty simple but powerful.

Mark 1.35 – Jesus got up early to go and pray – and as much as all the pastory and leadery types [myself included] nod vigorously when this is spoken, we can not hear enough cos i will bet you there is a considerable number of people in that hall [me included] who could do with ‘being still and knowing’ a lot more regularly and intently. So encouragement and gentle challenge to deepen your walk with God by spending time with Him. Help me, God.

The idea that Jesus had no Lone Ranger mentality – the interesting note that the only time we see Jesus alone once He has started His ministry is when He went off to spend time with His Father. Rest of the time He surrounded Himself with people. The idea that ministry is done in the context of community. And if you are out there doing it on your own, you are more that likely doing it wrong [easy clues are when you refer to what you are doing as “my ministry” or “my church” or perhaps when the ministry website is your name dot com?]

The idea that WORD plus DEED is the theological understanding [building on last night – PROCLAMATION plus DEMONSTRATION]

# be close to God

# be in community with others

# know your mission [proclaim the word of God. demonstrate it]

Powerful statement by John Perkins that “This is the first generation that values diversity” and I suspect that for the most part he is probably right [to a much greater extent than previous generations at least]


Calling this ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ might sound offensive towards those participating on the panel, but i am not talking looks here – just that that phrase does justice to the overall of how i felt about the panel this morning being asked a bunch of questions relating to community development and then interacting on their answers. Some really good stuff, some random in-between stuff and a little bit of “uh-uh you didn’t.” But for the most part medium to good, with some gems.

# Someone reminded me of the Jewish proverb “May the dust of the rabbi be upon you,” the idea that you are following so close behind your teacher and mentor that you literally wear their dust. Reminded me of Paul’s “Follow me as I follow Christ.” 

# A call to anglo-white leaders that we need to be know this – that God does not show up when i show up. He is already working in all these neighborhoods. i don’t “bring God”

 [Maybe we can add to that the knowledge that God loves these people way more than i ever will and He is more amped about His Kingdom than i will ever be!]

# In an answer dealing with how various culture groups view other culture groups a one liner that someone one lined was ‘The demon of superiority is there. We need to overcome it’ which is as self-explanatory as you need.

# Building on last night again we heard that the purpose of you moving into a community [one of the big pillars of CCDA is RELOCATION] is not to change it. It is to find a person and to pour yourself into them and watch as they change the community. [Isaiah 61]

# This was an interesting point which i don’t think i have considered before. As the dominant culture [white people] we don’t need to learn other cultures [that is the reality that is, not the one that should be] whereas the minority cultures always have to learn the predominant culture [one example is westernised time and the idea that a meeting has to start on time which you don’t find so much in the Latino and African communities – we come in with the assumption that our idea of time is right and the minority culture has to learn that or be left behind or severely judged or corrected]. And this was accompanied by the idea that there are a bunch of assumptions to challenge. One of them would be the question of ‘What is success?’ and another one that came out quite a bit through different questions and answers was ‘What is a leader?’

The importance of asking, ‘What did you learn from your family and from your community about leadership?’ And a bunch of other important questions we need to give time to.

# The idea of needing to course correct. Not 180 degrees which is what it often sounds like people want. Realisation that as with the church in Ephesus [Revelations 2] there is a bunch of stuff we are doing right or have gotten right… but we definitely need to slightly alter the direction of this ship in certain ways. The assumptions of one cultures superiority over another being a huge one. The question of who mentors you and the need for non-white mentors. So ask yourself this: Who were the authors of the last ten books you read? Who were the last ten speakers you listened to sermons from? Who is shaping your worldview? And if you are serious about desiring diversity then that is a good and probably quite easy place to begin.

Just some snippets, but hopefully you managed to find some gems in there that spark something in you.

[For even more from evening 2 of the conference, click here]

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