Of coffee shop christianity and animal rights stickers

I am sitting in this coffee shop. It is nestled on a cozy, residential street near South City in St. Louis. It reminds me of Big Bear Cafe in Columbia Heights in DC. Rows of anciently old brick town houses and apartments align the steet it graces, right at the corner. As I was driving up, I had the impression I was lost, until I gazed upon patio seating and college-aged students reading outside.

I settled into a sunseat area with two cushions laying on top.I am sitting indian style, making sure my stretchy cotton blue dress covers my knees. Initially, I sat on top the right hand cushion as the AC vent was right below the left. It was more sunny in that spot. My eyes were unable to comprehend the words of “Mission of God.” I repeatedly rubbed my eyeballs, trying to get them to work.

Another girl came in, upon the play area that I had designated as my study spot. She looked college-aged and idealistic, but not necessarily hipster. She did have thick-rimmed glasses and a bull nose piercing, which made me think of Rebekah who was given a ring to put on her nose, the old school style of engagement in some societies today and of the past. I only thought about that because “Mission of God” is currently talking about the God of the Hebrew Bible, and I have spent the past several days reading through the Pentateuch. Presently, I am reading about everything unclean in Leviticus. Provocative reading.

This girl probably never thought about that upon her choice to get a bull nose ring. She was simply expressing herself. I can empathize. I have had my nose pierced twice. I weirded some preppy girls out in high school when I was 18 and got it pierced. I was delighted with myself, my slight rebellion, and my freedom to express. This girl isn’t a hipster. She is young and figuring out who she is- a big part of that is through outward expressions.

Her laptop was up, and was covered in stickers. I remember when my laptop was once covered as well. It had band stickers, climate energy initiative, something about social justice and something about naked vegetarians in Eden.

Her computer was covered by her veganism. I immediately knew one aspect of her frame of thinking- killing animals is wrong under all counts. As human beings we are not elevated above the creature- we are all creatures.

I imagined myself having a conversation with her- I resonate with her passionate ideals. But I have not brought myself to it, yet. It is not really one of those conversations to have with a complete stranger.

One of her computer stickers crys out “LIBERATE!” It was speaking of animals. Upon pondering this sticker a little bit more, my heart cried out “Amen!” Not simply because I need liberation (I do), not simply because the human race needs to be liberated (they do), but because Creation itself is crying out, in groans, for its own liberation.

And the Lord is at work to do it- to renew all things, all CREATURES of our God and King. They are set up as part of the election- all of them- for they have no conscience to truly rebel.

I walked into this coffee shop today for myself, to caffeinate my body and get some work down, and enjoy the atmosphere. But the Lord, in his compassion, used an opinionated sticker to reinforce the bigger picture- it is not about me. And it is not even about just people. It is about all of Creation being redeemed, and he has invited me to partner with him, not to sit in coffee shops all day, but to play an active role to liberate Creation. I am an integral part of the Kingdom drama.

That sticker preached the gospel to me today.


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