On Specialty Coffee and the Doctrines of Grace

(Photo by LifeHacker)

Third Wave Coffee is all the rave in Manila right now. Depending on who you’re asking, many people have different views on what it really is. In my opinion, however, it primarily involves the appreciation of specialty coffee.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded “specialty.” Specialty coffees are grown in special and ideal climates, and are distinctive because of their full cup taste and little to no defects.  (Wikipedia)

I read somewhere that, “Third wave is all about education, not attitude.” And rightly so. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When a regular coffee aficionado has been initiated to specialty coffee, snobbery might ensue. He might go through the stage of bashing and boycotting Starbucks. And instead of telling people about the good news of specialty coffee, he simply shrugs in disgust at the ignorance of Starbucks-loving folk. Read why this guy thinks Third Wave Coffee Is Killing Itself,

I’m tired of the attitude of the people who make it. I’m well enough known, to my great chagrin, that people rarely give me attitude to my face, but I have eyes and ears. I watch as people are lectured and mocked for not understanding the coffee shop’s manifesto. Last week, I watched a man in front of me in line receive a condescending jeremiad, air quotes and all, about the difference between their macchiato and Starbucks’ “macchiato”…

Lose the attitude. Lose the condescension. Lose the superiority. Third-wave was supposed to be about education; it was supposed to about opening your eyes to the idea that coffee, like wine, has terroir that’s destroyed when you load up your cup with sugar and milk.

In the same way, when someone is first introduced to the Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as Calvinism, two things happen: they either reject it or embrace it altogether. Those who profess the Doctrines of Grace, more often than not, enter what most theologians would call “The Cage Stage“. R. C.  Sproul writes,

Cage-stage Calvinists are identifiable by their insistence on turning every discussion into an argument for limited atonement or for making it their personal mission to ensure everyone they know hears—often quite loudly—the truths of divine election. Now, having a zeal for the truth is always commendable. But a zeal for the truth that manifests itself in obnoxiousness won’t convince anyone of the biblical truth of Reformed theology. As many of us can attest from personal experience, it will actually push them away.

Sad, but true. I have to confess that I have been in the same position before. Instead of winning people over, I have pushed them away. I have unjustly marginalized those who are not “in the know”, forgetting that I myself have been in the same position as they were prior to be being “enlightened”.

Just as snobbery is antithetical to the specialty coffee industry, theological elitism should have no place in the Christian life.

On Homeschooling and Classical Education in the Philippines

My husband and I have been considering homeschooling even prior to getting married. It was quite a tough discussion then, especially since I was convinced otherwise. Yet after much research and prayer, I was reassured that the lack of socialization is the biggest myth of homeschooling. So I eventually conceded.

One of the reasons why we wanted to do homeschooling was the “learning” aspect, or the lack of it, in the whole education system in the Philippines. We were both adamant about the importance of learning–how much a child actually digests what is taught–as opposed to grade obsession. That is how we came about classical education or Trivium.
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Shepherding A Child’s Heart

Because of the power outages in the past week, I have had the opportunity to catch up on my reading. I decided to pick up Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding A Child’s Heart, again. I was still serving as a children’s worker in a local church the last time I read this book. But now that I have my own child, I’m seeing everything with new eyes.

I cannot begin where the Lord has used this book to point out the errors of how I have been raising my daughter. I have yet to finish the entire thing again, but I could not recommend it enough.

Here’s are some excerpts that I found really helpful…

What must you do in correction and disccipline? You must require proper behavior: God’s law demands that. You cannot, however; be satisfied to leave the matter there. YOu must understand, and help your child to understand, how his staying heart has resulted in wrong behavior. (p. 5)

As a parent, you have authority because God calls you to be an authority in your child’s life. You have the authority to act on behalf of God. As a father or mother, you do not exercise rule over your jurisdiction, but over God’s. (p. 29)

Human anger may teach your children to fear you. They may even behave better, but it will not bring about biblical righteousness. (p. 36)

Changing behavior without changing the heart trains the heart toward whatever you use your means. If it is reward, the heart is trained to respond to reward. If approbation, the heart is trained to strive for approval, or to fear disapproval. When the experts tell you that you must find what works with each child, they are saying you must find the idols of the heart that will move this child… If you address only behavior in your children, you never get to the cross of Christ. It is impossible to get from preoccupation with behavior to the gospel. The gospel is not message about doing new things. It is a message about being a new creature. It speaks to people as broken, fallen sinners who are in need of a new heart. God has given His Son to make us new creatures. God does open-heart surgery, not a face-lift. He produces change from the inside out. He rejects the man who fasts twice a week and accepts the sinner who cries for mercy. (p. 69)