Today Starbucks have introduced some changes. One of the most publicised, is that they want to use your first name. Of course to demonstrate an intimacy and a closeness. They think about these things, you know…. The sofas are stained and the tables are often chipped rather than pristine in order to, wait for it, make the place feel more homely. This was the whole 90’s obsession with making the coffee shop a ‘third place’, somewhere in-between home and work.

Nice, you might say. Yet the cynic in me finds it so faux. They probably try to emulate what some of us older ones have experienced in an era long gone. I still remember making my first trips to the corner shops where the ladies working there knew my name, and probably a few funny stories about me – from mum and dad, of course. This all happened over time and through conversations, the way intimacy should happen.

I still love the idea of people getting to know me and vice versa. I guess if you’re a chronic loner you might wince at that… Yet, like everything else in our fast paced culture today, we create artificial, fake shortcuts that mimic the ‘real thing’.

Why not give the baristas extra pay, and extra training? Why not hire people for whom this can be a vocation (don’t scoff…) instead of a promotional slick video or glossy brochures?

What troubles me is that we make the same mistakes on the church scene. We love the slick and superficial and struggle with the raw and the long-term… Image over intimacy… Efficiency over authenticity.

BTW, they also offered anyone who tells their name to the barista a free late (lol, not really proper coffee in coffee-snob-land), to sweeten the deal. No, I passed on it. I like free things but ain’t that much of a cheapskate. Ooo, I just got a couple of vouchers for 50% off lattes, for ‘my friends’, too.



Here are some good links that I have recently come accross:

After hearing a little segment on Jeremy Vine on BBC 2, I came across this very honest, heart-breaking and inspiring blog about a 27 year-old who loses her husband after just five months of marriage.

A simple technique dramatically improved the memory recall of Harvard Medical School students. Try it for yourself.

An informative analysis from a prestigious source regarding the viral phenomenon of the year so far. Well worth reading.


Victoria Derbyshire does some brilliant interviews in her award winning programme on BBC 5Live with ordinary people that become involved in extra-ordinary situations. Listen to Darren Rathband on the podcast. Moving.


One of my latest discoveries. A fabulous jazz trumpeter with a haunting and mesmerising execution. This one sounds even better with little lighting and headphones.


Just to lighten the mood a little…


It has been nearly a month since the last edition. Easily explained looking at the area covered (Numbers 4 – Joshua 1) and a ‘dry’ spell in blogging.

★ The intricate instructions for the Israelite worship were a pale reflection of the complexity and richness of YHWH’s character and nature.

★ God was concerned that his statutes would be explained and passed on to the coming generations. God desired influence not just information.

★ Stand up for truth even when the lie seems to have the popular vote. # Joshua and Caleb

★ A complaining attitude has forgetfulness and ungratefulness as its parents. # Israelites

★ God has richly equipped the nation with judicial, ethical, medical and spiritual advice. # the Law

★ It seems ironic that God is generously patient and merciful to Israel because of Moses’ intercession, yet Moses pays the price for his disobedience. # leadership standards and suffering

★ Sometimes we can forfeit our long-term future through a short-term foolishness. # Moses

★ God raises a new leader in the context of a sad departure. Often the dynamics of the kingdom mean that as something dies, something else is birthed. # Joshua