Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Coffee Cup Police

I'm thinking of infiltrating the Sunday morning coffee club soon with the suggestion that they use regular coffee cups instead of deathrophome. My initial idea is to say to them that I'd be happy to take the ceramic cups home and wash them in my dishwasher so they don't have to worry about doing dishes. That may set it up to be only a short term change. I've tried to lead by example without necessarily "preaching" about it, but I think the first step we could take on this front begins with this group because it is the smallest group and would take the least energy to "correct." Do people enjoy drinking out of styrofoam cups? We have enough ceramics for all of them, but they go right to the styro--laziness! Any input from fellow eco-messiahs in our own minds?

My big thing these days is to help encourage lasting change in the congregation instead of simply taking the reigns and altering behavior, thereby making it "the pastor's thing." I think I've "earned enough capital" (to daringly quote a phrase from the former gov. of Texas) to convince the people by my own witness, but worry that simply changing their behavior for them is too heavy handed and won't be long lasting. When do I put away the subtlety and just say "quit using the damned styrofoam?" This is also an issue with moving this congregation toward weekly communion. I know we need it, they aren't overtly opposed to it, when do I just take the initiative and make the change? I've been here 2 years.


  1. The easiest seasons are in the past now, but my congregation decided to try weekly communion for Lent one year. After Lent was over...we just kept doing it! If you don't want to wait for Advent or Lent, then a sermon series might work. "Spring cleaning, spring sustaining" could meld ecological sustainability [coffee cups] with spiritual sustainability [communion].

    My considerable lifelong experience (...the past two years) is to emphasize the temporary change for a short time, and then evaluate it. If people are down with it, then just keep it going (and say "hey, not the pastor's thing, the worship committee decided they liked it"). ;-)

  2. I believe that if there is no vocal disapproval, then just start doing it. If you want a convenient excuse or some lead time to let them process it, then I would recommend doing it for the summer.

  3. I would suggest a styrofoam fast and use the money, however small for a Heifer International project or something tangible. Being of the boomer generation that is probably less eco aware than you, you probably need to encourage us with as tangible carrot. Also I would enlist a group of people to take turns washing the cups in the dishwasher, (does your church have one?) as service) Just a thought. Would people be willing to bring their own mugs to church? I would! It holds more coffee than those skimpy ceramic cups and is much easier to hold. Another thought.