My maternal grandma went to Starbucks for the first time last weekend. Actually, it was the first time she's ever gone out just for coffee. She went because her daughters were visiting. They shared a pastry between the five of them. She had water.
My grandma didn't grow up "going to coffee." She grew up in a time when coffee wasn't a main event. Coffee was just a cup of hot, murky black liquid ("It tastes like a cup of crappy coffee." "No, it's the world's best cup of coffee!" Ah, I love the Elf...) The coffee's hotness factor was the best thing about it, not the triple shot skinny vanilla latte extras that we order today. But Starbucks is just one example of the way we've blinged up lives since my grandma's time. Our culture demands snazzy names, design, special effects to attract our attention. We've gradually added more thrill and excitement to our daily routine and we're addicted to it.
Like with sex. In Real Sex, Lauren F. Winner says that the reason sex is better in marriage is because it is solidarity and comfort, as opposed to the thrill of the unknown. "Sometimes premarital sex feels dramatic because, by definition, it is part of a relationship that is itself not wholly stable... Everything in your relationship gets some of its charge from the uncertainty, the unknown: put negatively, it gets its charge from the instability; put more generously, it gets its charge from the possibility. This may be the single most significant way that married sex differs from unmarried sex. Married sex does not derive its thrill from the possibility of the unknown. Married sex is a given. It is solemnized and marked in ritual."
Like me with church. I'm guilty of obsession with the false, with the facade, with the fun and not the commitment when it comes to church. A few weeks ago my husband told me I'd be going with the church staff to a Creative Church conference in Dallas. It sounded amazing. Creative. Church. Communicatons.--exactly what I love. When he told me later that the opportunity had been given to another staff member, I was devastated. Too devastated. The problem was I had bought into church the way the world buys into sex: I'll take the big productions, go to the motivational conferences that talk about the good we can do when we get back to our routine world--the polished, pretty part of faith. But when it comes to committing myself to the daily grind, to the loving by serving when it gets messy and deals with the real, the gritty life, that's not so thrilling.
I am a whore I do confess/I put you on just like a wedding dress/and I run down the aisle, run down the aisle/I'm a prodigal with no way home/I put you on just like a ring of gold/and I run down the aisle, run down the aisle, from you (From Derek Webb's song "Wedding Dress")