(Here is an article I wrote for our church by bi-monthly newsletter mailer. To my friends on the west coast this is something churches send out in the mail, on paper, with an actual stamp. If you are confuse, I can explain this to you in another post, but for now just know that it is a great way to communicate with people that don’t involve twitter, facebook or other online medium. But I couldn’t resist sharing it with you….online. If you are still confused as to what my favorite spot is, just ask.)
Well, I have been here six months, and there is something I know you have been waiting for. One of the top questions I get asked is, “What is your favorite local coffee shop.” Coming from Seattle, coffee shops are something that I know a lot about and am well versed to give my opinion on.
This pastor would, on the low side, spend 15-20 hours a week sitting at a coffee table. I did this because life happened there. This was where our community (both those that were followers of Christ and those obviously not) gathered, and I wanted to be in the middle of it. I would go to my church building to get away from people as it was a sanctuary of quiet. So you can see, I have the credentials to give my opinion on coffee shops.
Studies have shown that most people have the capacity to have three places in their life that they base out of. The first place is their home, and the second place is their work (or school if you are a student). The real fight happens over what the third place is. Every organization in your life is vying for that third place. Starbucks, a nationally known coffee shop that has its nearest shop roughly 62.6 miles away, speaks of the third place in their corporate literature and employee training. There is a national push for them to be that place in the majority of American lives.
And it is working. Who wouldn’t want to go to a place where everyone knows your name, you get free wireless internet, refills are never ending, window seats abound as well as a quiet corner nook, and there are endless people to talk to if you so choose? That sounds like heaven to me. They are making inroads to becoming the third place.
Sorry I digress; you want to know what coffee shop (third place) I like the best here in Rhinelander. Well, it is one that is just outside of town on the north side, tucked away in the woods off Hwy 17. I love it, because that is where those in our community come together; and no matter if you are a regular or a newbie coming through the doors, you are treated like family.
Everyone is there. Dads bouncing babies in their laps, and wives assisting their slow moving husbands. There are kids popping from table to table as the elderly try to converse with them. There are some that gladly pay for those that are in need, and they all get free refills. People are so friendly and don’t bury their heads in a book and act like they don’t see others coming. They even let people come in and experience the environment without paying. Almost daily I see groups of people that would not even call this their third place, find a place here to meet and gather. No matter if you are a regular or a newbie coming through the doors, you are treated with dignity.
The beauty of this place is that they actually have the worst coffee in town (it’s really bad), but everything else about it makes it my top pick. But not to offend all the other coffee shops in town, I don’t want to mention the name, but I think you figured it out.
“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”
The Message : Hebrews 10:24-25
”That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.” The Message : Acts 2:41-42