Freshly Brewed Conversations

Spill Like a Champ Credit: Alan Levine

Sometimes we strive to create spaces of hospitality and fail.

Many years ago, I lived in an intentional community on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois. As a community practice, we specifically set aside Saturdays as a day to connect and spend time with neighbours.

On one such Saturday, a group of door-knocking evangelists visited our block. One rang the doorbell to our third-floor apartment and we, eager to engage a conversation of theological diversity, readily welcomed them in.

My roommate offered to make coffee. Our guest accepted.

“How do you take it?”

“Black, with sugar.”

He returned several minutes later with a mug of freshly brewed conversation fuel, prepared to the taste of our guest.

We shared friendly discourse about God, heaven, and loving our neighbours. After some time, our guest left. We shook hands, offered thanks, and invited him to come back again. He said he would.

The door closed behind him.

The community barista immediately turned to us.

“Did you notice he only took one sip of coffee?”

He picked up the mug, sipped, and spit it back into the mug.

“Oh my God, I didn’t put sugar in the coffee.”

It was flour.

Our visitor never came back.

Jordan Leahy lives with his spouse, Lindsey, and daughter, Ruby Day, on the occupied Monacan territory known as Charlottesville, Virginia.

Image credit: “Spill Like a Champ,” August 29, 2013, Alan Levine CC,

Issue 55

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 55, Winter 2020, Entertaining Angels.

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