Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Spiritual Formation Institute
Living the Caffeine Driven Life
Dr Alex Tang
Wake up every morning, mind in a mush,
already late, running in a rush.
Brain not engaged, still not in gear,
coffee, o coffee, I need thee here.
I need the fix, I need the kick,
a cuppa of java will do the trick,
To get through the day I need the buzz,
hot coffee, iced coffee, no need to fuss.
Too much work, datelines, too little time,
another cuppa coffee and all will be fine.
Need energy, lift up mood to euphoric the day,
coffee will energise, colourise and yom the way.
Clock out time, day is done, night is coming
energy draining, fuzzy mood darkening.
Going home, coffee glow from cheek fading,
caffeine level in blood stream slowly falling.
Such is life, with hustle and noise, our busy condition,
a life truly driven by the world’s only legal addiction.
Filled the cups with espresso, latte, mochas and macchiato
available only in Starbucks, Coffee Bean and alfresco.
We live in a fast track world where everything is zooming by us at great speed.
Like a hamster on a treadmill, we need to be constantly running to remain in the
same place. Just when we are coming to terms with a hand phone that has a
camera, comes a new hand phone that take pictures and MMS them, surf the
internet, receive television, update us on the latest football scores and still
allow us to make a phone call. To survive in this world, many of us felt that we
do not have enough energy to make it through the day. Hence the sale of
stimulants such as “red bull” is skyrocketing. The caffeine in coffee is a
stimulant. Coffee may the commonest ingested legal stimulant in the world.
Surprisingly, many scientific studies discover that coffee is actually
beneficial to health in most people. Coffee is addictive as those who did not
have their daily cuppa can tell you. Is it possible then, in our caffeine-driven
life to maintain a Christian spirituality?
Many of us who are trapped in this fast track world feel that we cannot maintain
our spiritual life. We feel that we can only maintain our spirituality if we
enter a monastery where we will have all the time, quietness and solitude to
spend time with God. We long for such an opportunity but probably will never
have it in our life. I believe that this is a fallacy and a myth. Most of us
will go crazy after a day in a monastery without our Korean serial, CNN and
other distractions. I believe the key to the spirituality in our caffeine-driven
life is to be mindful of where we are and how we can arrange our life around it.
We must master our caffeine-driven life and not let it master us.
First, we must be aware that there is nothing wrong with our lifestyle at the
moment. In another century, we may be planting rice, but we are here and now and
we have to accept it with grace. We are right where God wants us to be.
Second, we must be mindful of the dangers of our lifestyle. The creator of our
bodies knows that our flesh-and-blood bodies need rest. Hence He mandated the
Sabbath. It is important for us to take time out for rest. Rest periods should
be weekly, monthly and at least one annual vacation. If we are convinced that
something is important, we will find time for that.
Third, in our busy lifetime, it is possible to ‘stop time’. We ‘stop time’ by
practicing the spiritual discipline of meditative or centring prayer where we
can take time off and spend it with the Lord any moment of the day. That is what
Paul meant by praying unceasingly. There is a quiet oasis of calm inside each of
us where we can meet with Jesus anytime, even in the middle of a hectic day.
Finally, we must be mindful of what is important that needs to be done and what
are not. Prioritise is the keyword. We do not need to do everything. However, we
must do the needful; that which the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do. Then we
can lead a Christ-centred life in the midst of our caffeine fuzz. Adelaide
Proctor put it aptly in the following poem:
It isn’t the thing you do, dear,
It’s the things you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache
At the setting of the sun;
The tender word unspoken,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night.
The stone you might have lifted
Out of your brother’s way.
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time or thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.
These little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind,
These chances to be angels
Which even mortals find –
They come in night and silence,
Each chill reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging,
And a blight has dropped on faith.
For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great,
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late.
And it’s not the thing you do, dear,
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache,
At the setting of the sun.
In our caffeine-driven life, it is possible to practice Christian spirituality;
experiencing the presence of God. Eagle Brook Church in Lino Lake, Minnesota in
the United States is building a new auditorium for their church. This auditorium
will have theatre like seats with cupholders for coffee cups. “Coffee is such a
part of our church culture,” commented the director of operations. The local
press has speculated that the coffeeshop culture is the major reason Eagle Brook
has become the largest church in the state. Coffee anyone?
Soli Deo Gloria
|posted 23 August 2006|