The other day I was hanging out with my wife in a part of Denver that some might consider “sketchy.” The buildings are run-down, the cars are older and less flashy, and “emergency” medical marijuana offices line the streets. In fact, there was an MMJ doctor’s office right across the street from the coffee shop we were sitting in. Normally, my wife and I don’t hang out in these parts of town, but today we were looking for an excellent coffee shop and Crema Denver was supposed to be the best around.

We parked my money green 1997 Toyota Corolla on the street near the shop – it blended in perfectly with the run-down nature of the neighborhood. The rust spots forming on the hood removed all doubt that the car and my wife and I were supposed to be there. We walked into the eclectic shop. The menu was on a plywood sign. The art decorating the walls was local and pushed limits. The people were young, and some would think they were weird. Nose rings, earplugs, tattoos, modern fashion, and a hippy flare all blended together. But the coffee – the coffee was AMAZING. Seriously.

Howard Shultz writes in Onward about the mark of a good coffee shop, “Every sip is proof of artistry…”At Crema Denver, every sip was proof of artistry. From the poured latte art, to the flavor – it was right, and it was beautiful.

Last week, I visited a not-so artistic “Christian” coffee shop. From the setting, it seemed like they were trying to be artistic, but their desire to be trendy made them cliché. But the worst part wasn’t the setting. It was the coffee. The coffee was boring and lacked expertise. Their lattes weren’t special. Their black coffee was something McDonald’s could have made. If Crema was art, this shop was the Chinese knockoff.

But this isn’t an article about finding quality coffee in Colorado – this is a post about why Christians are failing to engage culture. This is a blog about why Christians need to stop making knockoffs and pursue art – whether that’s in coffee, music, books, or t-shirts.

The best example of poor taste is the lack of creativity and ethics in the Christian t-shirt and bible-cover world. The world were companies strip search the Bible for verses they can take out of context, violate ethics by robbing someone else of their brand, and then combine the two. Christian bible covers and t-shirts are covered with misrepresentations of Scripture and stolen graphics. Yes, I’m saying that many Christian companies are stealing – stealing other people’s colors, designs, and creativity. They are literally being the antithesis of God. Where God was creative – seeing emptiness and creating beauty – these Christian companies lack creativity – seeing someone else’s creation as a chance to turn a profit.

If you’re a Christian and you want to create a coffee shop or a t-shirt line – please don’t do it just because it’s cool or because it’s a “ministry opportunity.” Only create those products if you are passionate about them, and actually have the ability to become an expert – an artisan. There are a lot of Christian operated coffee shops that make quality coffee. There are Christian t-shirt companies that are artistic. Unfortunately, they are the minority.

Do you agree? Or do you really like your “Faithbook” t-shirt? (no this blog doesn’t have a lisp) Begin the conversation by commenting below…

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