His Word Found Here

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    Passing by the new Bible-and-coffee shop under construction at 22nd and Ballard today, I saw this note in the window. Notably: “…Secondly, as a place that unbelievers can meet Jesus, and those fallen away, may have the opportunity to reconnect with Him…”

    We’re one of the least-churched parts of the country; there’s not a large natural customer base for them here. They’re going to bleed money. So, really, the shop must be almost entirely about outreach.

    I’m an atheist; I don’t have any interest in this shop, but it seems the shop has an interest in me. I’ll be biking or walking past it just about every day. I wonder if they’ll be very aggressive, e.g., proselytizing at the Farmer’s Market. Maybe it’s unfair for me to wonder that. It’ll be interesting to see how this place fits into the community.



    Blech. Churches are generally large and clearly marked; those are the places people interested in meeting or reconnecting with Jesus can do so. Plus in theory, of course, it can happen anywhere. I have no problem with a Christian bookstore/coffeehouse, especially when it is clearly identified as such and I won’t wander in by accident, but that sign is just icky.

    Also, the idea that a store or coffee shop is a place where I might “meet Jesus” sounds a little dangerous. Do they have health and safety code violations that might hasten the blessed event? (just kidding!)



    Based on the image used in the sign in their window (heart surrounded by thorns, tattoo-style) and the language of the note, I suspect this place is probably a branch of Mars Hill. I can’t think of anyone else around here with deep enough pockets to fund the rent for a place like this that won’t make any money.

    It will be interesting to see if they acknowledge any church affiliation, or if they continue to present themselves as broadly “Christian”, after they open.



    Oh, hey, I totally missed that there was an earlier post about this, and that the future manager of the store had pitched into the thread.

    Sorry for the repeat. I’ll touch that thread so it pops up before this one.



    My mom became disenchanted with our church when I was a pre-teen. She went to different churches and the one she found she liked was one of the first non-denominational churches up by Woodland Park. She was tired of the women going to our church as a fashion parade, night before drinking, etc and then Sunday all god-like.
    She always believed in God. What I do remember her saying to me one day – she pointed to a closet in our house and said you can be just as much a Christian by going into that closet as opposed to a church – as long as you live a good life and believe. Not everyone believes in God, obviously, but some believe in a spiritual source. Whatever – I still remember my mom saying just to lead a good life and I hope I am making her proud.
    I’m not too sure about this place that’s mentioned here.



    The Hot Molten Cakery place is pretty close to a religious experience. I watched them making a smores milkshake that involved torching a marshmallow. It needs to happen. Soon.


    great idea

    “Hot Molten Cakery place…”

    sounds like the work of the devil!



    Wow, that sign looks like it is at least 20 point type – definitely intimidating! I can see why you must have been drawn to it — it’s important to make sure that “others” don’t get a foothold in the neighborhood. Leave that “tolerance” stuff for the suckers.



    You know, I think you’re right, Mondoman: I’ve got some intolerance going on here. I know I’ve got a knee-jerk reaction to religious conservatives. I grew up in a place dominated by a single conservative religion, and now I live in one of the most secular places in the country. It’s easy for me to hunker down into an us-vs-them attitude toward anything religious on “my” turf. Actually, you’re very right, that’s exactly what I’m doing with this place.

    The thing I’d add to that, though, is that what I’m particularly sensitive to — biased against, maybe — is socially conservative religious institutions trying to pass themselves off as something other than that.

    When Ballard Church came in, for instance, I spotted their downplayed connection to the Free Methodists right away, and that set off loud warning bells for me — those folks (the FM’s, not necessarily Ballard Church) are anti-abortion, anti-evolution, anti-gay, anti-you-name-it. And Mars Hill serves up what I perceive as a big heaping mess o’ misogyny and creepy intrusion into its members’ sex lives. And both of those churches wrap themselves in sort of blandly youthful and hip marketing that’s totally disconnected from the very real doctrinal differences that there are between them and the mainline churches. I find it deceptive, and it’s that deception that I don’t think should go unchallenged.

    So, here’s this Bible-and-coffee shop that’s being started up by people affiliated with Ballard Church and Mars Hill, and the branding so far is very Mars Hillian. OK, so outreach to the unchurched masses, they’ve got every right to do that, and to plow thousands every month into an expensive spot on 22nd & Ballard to do it. But if their aim is to attract people to very socially conservative religion, then I hope they’re up front about their politics.

    My assumption that they won’t be is where, you’re right, my bigotry is showing.



    Gurple: IF this shop caters to the conservative/evangelistic Christians, I would suggest that they may also be doing a disservice to other branches of Christianity. There are plenty of churches in Ballard that aren’t invasive in their members’ sex lives, condone excommunication, discriminate against gay people or keep the genders in rigid roles.

    If you think about it, with this being such a largely unchurched area, a bible cafe might actually be welcomed (if not profitable) by those who feel they are in the minority. And if they are smart, they *won’t* ask each person who comes in if they are down with the jesus. Not only will they have more profits by someone who just likes their products, but someone who is genuinely curious, but doesn’t want to talk to anyone yet could come in and chill. Confronting that person with a conversation they don’t want just yet would hurt conversion, not help it.

    I think the real test is what happens when a Christian gay couple walks in the door.



    Amazingly enough, I’ve seen and heard much more lack of tolerance here in Seattle than in the not-the-best neighborhoods of Cambridge and Somerville, MA, where I lived previously. Maybe it’s Seattle’s lack of intellectual diversity?



    Mondoman, I’ve seen this sort of response before, though it was in Portland. There was a public university whose students were mostly liberal. Despite all the chatter about free speech, they wanted to kick out this evangelist who would stand on the public property and preach for hours. I smelled a whole lot of hipocrosy in that and felt he should be allowed to continue. However, I don’t think he was a quality person for a range of reasons. I’ll still support his right to froth off at the mouth, but the moment he lays a finger on someone (he came within an inch of pushing a crippled guy down), I’d call the police quick as a wink.



    Well, I don’t think anyone here is arguing that these folks should be kicked out or shouted down.


    James Fox

    You should try the coffee…..it’s actually very good!


    Darth Satan

    I think you mean Kool-Aid…



    Even if they had the best coffee on Earth, I would chose not to give them a cent. There are plenty of places to get an amazing cup of coffee in Ballard, so I will leave this shop alone and choose not to support them and the alarmingly misogynistic views of the churches behind it by not giving them any of my money, just as I’m sure they’re probably not going to be giving any of their money to organizations like Planned Parenthood anytime soon.

    It’s as simple as that. If you don’t agree with their views, vote with your dollars and don’t go there. Ask your friends and family members to also vote with their dollars if they happen to think that women are people and not baby factories.



    @Darth Satan, THAT is funny!



    Think they should tax churches, help solve the debt or put a dent in it.



    The location seems odd to me. It will be interesting to see how it does.

    The sign creeps me out.

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