The four elements of great coffeehouses

The article is aimed at the college student, but it’s wonderfully applicable to everyone who craves community.

The article in Comment magazine is titled “Great coffeehouses, great conversations, and the college experience” and written by Larry Bourgeois, who has been starting coffeehouses and bookstores since the 1970s. As his bio says:

Larry believes that effective young adult ministry requires using more untraditional places and spaces than are found in common institutional church settings. Quality coffeehouses conveniently located can provide essential hospitality and common ground where “conversations of consequence” can naturally/supernaturally regularly occur.

What makes a great coffeehouse?

Great coffeehouses embody four elements. First is Creation, a relationship more about the earth, stewardship, and accountability than about “products.” Great coffeehouses are places of Calling, where, as Frederick Buechner said, “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” As individual callings meet, they develop Community, where divisive issues become shared concerns, and through which we find Communion, the celebration of the mystery and majesty of the cosmos in each other and the world. This is the cultural potential of the third place.

What local coffeehouses best fulfill these four qualities?

Read the article online at Comment magazine.

— Photo by qwrrty on Flickr

Clotheslines in a Good City?

So on the heels of the Grassroots Green event, I was reading through the Green Living Guide (which everybody should buy!) and noticed a small article promoting the drying of clothes on a clothesline instead of an electric (or gas) drier. I didn’t even realize, though I shouldn’t have been shocked, that many HOA’s, landlords, etc. have banned clothesline-drying on primarily aesthetic and property value grounds. But apparently, the resulting controversy is big enough as to make national news.

So the question is: should a good city — and her residents — encourage the unsightly but environmentally-friendly practice of clothesline-drying? Or promote a more “beautiful” city by mandating the more sightly, but less environmentally-friendly use of electric dryers?