I've been reading a book (shocker I know) titled "Jim and Casper Go to Church". It is about a Christian (Jim) and an atheist (Casper) who visit various churches large and small across the nation. It is interesting to read their dialog and I suggest you pick up the book (I found it at my local library). Casper's comments can be boiled down to two main thoughts: If the church is so different, why does it look like the world (they visit a church that plays U2 songs and go to worship where the musicians look like American Idol stars) and If the church's message is so special why is it watered down (why, when the pastor could be talking about God and the life changes that come with a relationship with the creator of the Universe is he/she giving us self help tips?).
This morning I had a strange experience. On my way to work, I stopped at the local coffee shop. I parked my car and got out to walk to the store. While I was walking in, a guy waved at me and smiled. It felt like walking in to church almost. Then it struck me, the coffee shop is a similar experience to church. Some days I recognize more people at the coffee shop than I do at church! The barista even knows some of our names (unlike some pastors). Maybe we could even bring a speaker on how to be a better co-worker (a "sermon" I actually heard at a local megachurch). Ta da! Church! I got my coffee and headed to work. On my drive I realized, this morning coffee shop interaction might be the friendliest and maybe even only interaction some people get all day. Upon leaving the coffee shop they are destined to sit at their computers for hours on end leaving only to attend mundane meetings (where they are probably yet again in front of their laptops). This morning coffee ritual is more than just coffee, its interaction, maybe even community.