I love coffee. I love the smell, the caffeine boost, the warmth, the fullness of that taste of glory.
But I’m not picky. I’ll enjoy a cup of Folger’s, Starbucks, or the stale batch of brew at the office. So when I found myself in a new circle of coffee aficionados a few weeks ago, it was rather unfamiliar. I don’t understand the urge to spend four dollars on a cup. I can’t really tell you the difference between a cappuccino and a latte.
Yet, I observed my friends joyfully smelling beans, perusing coffee maps of the city, and crafting the perfect Insta of the experience. To me, a cup of coffee should be an efficient caffeine delivery system. To them, it’s an almost transcendent daily highlight, a praiseworthy delight.
I’m ashamed to admit, I found myself judgmental.
Aren’t there more important things in life?
Later that week, a quote that caused me to refine my theology. What if our “afición” drove us to enjoy God more, through His good gifts?
A theology of enjoying coffee
Consider the following quote from Douglas Wilson on the “thickness” of Creation. He applies the principle to beer, but I think it works well with any pointed enjoyment.
“Creation is a gift meant to bring glory to the Creator. All Christians agree here. But Christians throughout the ages have put their suspicions in different places. Take C.S. Lewis and Augustine. I love them both, but I would rather have a beer with Lewis. Lewis would order us a really good beer, just because it was a really good beer, with his understanding of God suffusing the whole. For him, while the thickness of creation can become an idol, a rival to God, it is intended for us as a sermon by God about God. And you can’t honor the preacher by ignoring the sermon. But Augustine would perhaps think that a thin beer would help us think of Jesus more, not distracting us quite so much, and that when we had really advanced in grace, we might have be able to get the same effect with water. I say this in the full recognition that I am not worthy to have been Augustine’s boot boy. So then a right approach to a thick creation honors the Creator more fully; we honor his work as he gave it, instead of trying to dilute it in a misguided zeal for his glory.”
Plain and simple, some coffee is better than average.
Does the thickness of an elegant, hand-crafted Americano move your affections to praise God? It should. There is an abundance of thickness surrounding us. In coffee, in everything. God graciously drops his gifts among us to discover, develop, consume, an ultimately direct praise heavenward.