life in the suture zone...

In the earthquake faults between tectonic plates, the suture zone is the in between place where they meet. I find in that a metaphor for the times in which we live... and invite your conversation in the suture zone.

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Location: Bakersfield, CA, United States

... a struggling, but mostly joyful, apprentice of Jesus.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

café dolce 5: the menu, the meal...

Well, here is the latest in the Café Dolce series of posts. It was a long time coming, partly because the summer was so busy with work and kids. But the truth is that every time I sat down to write it I could barely get two paragraphs out until the dissatisfaction was so strong that I couldn’t go anywhere with it.

Suddenly, on a morning several weeks ago (and after only one cup of coffee) I had an epiphany of sorts. A small one, but still an epiphany. You can judge for yourself if I’m overstating the case when you’re done reading.

One of the problems of the modern generations (I’m speaking of myself, my parents and older) is that we have become so skilled at slicing things apart into individual and separate pieces, and thinking, by doing that, we understand what we have dissected. (In another post, I may explore how our post-modern children have done the same thing in deconstructing modernism – that’s a hoot! Modernism hoisted aloft on it’s own petard!) Anyway, the same could be applied to this Café Dolce metaphor, or to the experience of eating itself.

As someone who has been in business before, I can guarantee you that the owners of the restaurant I’ve based these particular posts on (or any restaurant that wants to stay in business) have given significant and ongoing thought to what’s on the menu. They know that their stock in trade depends upon convincing as many of those as possible who like relatively inexpensive fresh-made hamburgers, or hot and cold deli sandwiches, or bagels and espresso or whatever else they have on their menu, to stop by and spend some bucks, hopefully on a regular basis.

You could say, in one way, that the owners of Café Dolce are very modern in their approach. It’s all about burgers and bucks and capturing market share from the competing nearby food vendors. Though profit is their motive, if we use this as a metaphor for the church, isn’t it true that there is much more going on in Café Dolce than just the menu and the results of ordering from it?

I remember being there for breakfast once and seeing a woman I know and her husband having a very intense, yet quiet and private conversation. Isn’t that something more than menu? What things have been rejoiced over or struggled with at the tables of Café Dolce? What bonds have been formed and broken over their food? What deals struck and partnerships dissolved as people ate their meals? What gladness of heart?

While the food from the menu is certainly part of the meal, the meal is more than the food. Does that make sense?

Have we so focused on the menu that we’ve forgotten the meal, the fellowship, the relationship?

No wonder Jesus invited us together to table.

Chew on that awhile and see what you come up with.

Grace and peace,



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