Great coffeehouses, great conversations, and the college experience

My very good friend, Larry Bourgeois, along with Brandon Dawson, have written a helpful article on how coffee houses foster deep conversation of consequence in the college culture. It is published in COMMENT Magazine.

Here's an excerpt:

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...

...Coffeehouses at various times have been incubators of some of the world's great ideas, and we betray a core contribution of the coffeehouse tradition when we don't foster creative conversations—conversations with the potential of transforming society.

College life presents two parallel tracks: the work your teacher is supposed to make you do, and the things you explore to honour your heart and soul in your own parallel quest. Countless times I've heard teachers and students say the most fulfilling parts of the college experience are the extended conversations, the relationships that develop and expand on the assignments. If you're just taking classes, you're wasting much of what is most valuable about the college experience. And a great coffeehouse might just be the environment not only to bring your deepest desires and longings to life, but to allow you to do so for others.

We live in a world where simple consumer choices can birth or destroy authentic community and self-fulfillment. When you vote with your dollars in an independent coffeehouse dedicated to free thought, then conversations of consequence, newer forms of what I call "Habitat for Community" are nurtured. You invest in creativity and transforming wisdom that produces true "commonwealth." Simple choices, like where to buy your coffee, become paths toward freedom and friendship. They develop social capital, and likely sustain someone's entrepreneurial dream and means of serving others.

Read the entire article here.

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