A few months ago I spoke at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. The pastor, The Reverend David Browder, began his sermon with a discussion on how society has changed over time, just like coffee. He noted that we used to all drink from one pot of coffee, but now individualize our choices and no longer share a coffee pot.
This analogy has stayed with me: a community coffee pot vs. a non-fat, soy latte for one person, a regular, no-foam latte for another, etc..., etc...
I don't want to make anyone feel guilty about all the coffee choices we have now...I have my favorite coffee drinks also.
But returning to the sermon's point: I wonder if we have less of a sense of community than we did a generation or two ago. Do we know our neighbors? Do we know the people who sit in our pews at church or shop beside us at the grocery store? I ask these questions because I think the less we know, the more we can become detached from others' problems.
CCSC is not a neighborhood, but is a community for volunteers, staff and clients. Most of our volunteers have not undergone the crises that the clients have: their background and life stories are different. But the volunteers listen patiently, taking in all the clients have to share, and then determining how we can best help. I rarely observe judgement, but instead see compassion and sadness at how hard some people's live are.
Understanding others, especially those who have different backgrounds, is akin (I think) to drinking from the same coffee pot.