Why Coffee Is Important to the Christian Faith
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said about coffee “We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.”
In churches across America and the world, we have come to see the drink as ubiquitous as the Bible. What most people might not realize is hpw linked the two are. Jesus might have smiled at Starbucks.
Muslims created coffee as a way for Sufi scholars to be able to conduct midnight prayers. Because of its Islamic origins, Christians initially were suspicious of coffee. But the taste proved irresistible. Pope Clement VIII approved coffee after sampling it from a visiting merchant. He supposedly said “Why this Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall fool Satan by baptizing it and making it a truly Christian beverage.”
Coffee continued to gain prominence in Europe and support from Christians grew. Coffeehouses became a communal forum for people to share intellectual and religious ideas. Protestants liked the beverage when they noticed it had a sobering effect on their members.
This continues into the modern era where coffee has been a way for church members to meet and chat with each other. In fact, many Christians have said coffee is an essential part of their church because it supports community building and talking. As the Bible states, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
But it has not been universally loved. Some Christians abstain from coffee because of its addictive quality. They quote Corinthians where Paul advises against even moderation of substances that could be addictive “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them.” Mormon teachings do not allow for the consumption of caffeine, making coffee off-limits.
A new study by the American Bible Society found that 37 percent of Christians surveyed needed coffee as a daily necessity. Before you start to associate coffee as the “devil’s brew” know that the same study discovered over 60 percent turn to the Bible, not coffee, as the first thing they do in the morning. While coffee provides substance to the body, the Bible is still what Christians use to nurture their soul.