For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Being a Caffeinated Calvinist

Maybe it just has something to do with still missing Brewer’s Coffee House so much since they closed, but coffee has been on my mind a lot lately. There’s just something about that steamy, creamy stuff. I’ve always known there had to be something more to it all, and now I’ve found part of what the connection might be.

Awhile back I stumbled across something called the Caffeinated Calvinists Blog Network. Now, as someone who is passionate about both theology and coffee, how could I resist. So I submitted a request to join, and as you can see from the side bar on the lower left of this page, I’ve now become a member of this elite group (OK, so elite might be pushing it, since they let me in, but go with me here).

The network is overseen by Shane Vander Hart and the folks at Caffeinated Thoughts, which is self-described as a site “about looking at the news, politics, culture, life and theology from the evangelical (mostly Reformed) point of view of our contributors. We like to think our thoughts are stimulating hence the name “Caffeinated Thoughts,” and many of us love coffee as well. We just don’t blog about it.”

So, to the point. One of the first things I read on this new “network” was a brief blog from Theology for Girls (please, I followed a recommended link; no jokes here, thank you), which in turn was repeating some information from another blog, Standing on Shoulders, which gave a nice link between coffee and theology. (Sorry if that train of links and thoughts was confusing).

Here is the essence of what they both reported, quoting from yet another source, John Coffey’s Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England, 1558-1689. (gotta love the name). Anyway, according to this research:

"Coffeehouses, which were famed as places of public debate and discussion, dated from around 1650, when the first one had opened in Oxford. By 1663, London alone had over 80 coffeehouses, whilst by the end of the century it had more than 2000."

"People met there to read newspapers and discuss politics, and High Church Anglicans associated coffeehouses with Puritanism and republicanism; one declared that ‘a coffee-house is a lay conventicle, good-fellowsip turn’d Puritan."

Intrigued, I did a little more digging in my own library and came across this item about famed pastor and theologian John Gill. “It was his practice, once a week, to meet his ministering brethren at the accustomed coffee-house, where a sort of ministers’ club assembled.” (from The Metropolitan Tabernacle: Its History And Work, by C. H. Spurgeon)

In fact, in Spurgeon’s collection of proverbs called The Salt-Cellars, he includes this little tidbit: “Advice to a thirsty soul. Try coffee.”

There it is. Coffee and Puritans joined together in the annals of history. So now I know what the connection is. And the next time I have that craving for a Scary Berry Mocha from the Mudhouse, I’ll know it’s because of the Reformed/Puritan blood flowing through my veins, and I’ll tip my cup heavenward toward Spurgeon and Gill and the rest of those who have gone before, looking forward to the day we can share a cup together.

(Disclaimer: The preceding article, while containing actual historical quotes, does not in any way claim any legitimate theological import to the drinking of coffee. While this is an enjoyable pastime, no actual spiritual benefits have been proven, and no firm biblical evidence has been offered either for or against coffee. That is all)


Anonymous said...

Hello Scott, Great follow up post here.

“Advice to a thirsty soul. Try coffee.” Love it!

Welcome to the Network!

Theology For Girls

Becky@ Daily On My Way To Heaven said...

Welcome to the network! I enjoyed your post.

Blessings from another Caffeinated Calvinist.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed this! Fascinating! I wish I had a good cup of coffee from Gill's accustomed coffee house instead of the Maxwell House (I know, I know!) that I'm drinking at the moment. Welcome to the Caffeinated Calvinists Network!

Maggie said...

:) Poor Dad--you need your Brewers, don't you? there's a little place here that looks decent...(hint, hint--come see me!)

Scott said...

Thanks for the "welcoming" comments.

And, Sunshine, I would love to come see you. But I don't think your Mom would approve of me driving 75 miles for a cup of coffee! Love ya; hopefully we'll be down sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

Very glad to have you, Scott! Already love your blog!