03 April 2008


In my earlier post, "Keep Spreading the Word," I said this about "The Crave" coffee house "mission project" of the LCMS: "Now, as folks listen to the praise/rock band at the Saturday evening "service," they can also sip their latte, eat their Pesto Crusted Grilled Cheese (check the menu), and even get up and go for seconds while the band jams on for Jesus."

A concerned friend just emailed me with a possible 8th Commandment alert. This friend does not at all support "The Crave" and even agrees with me that it is sacrilegious and a problematic use (at best) of our mission monies. Regarding the above quote, though, my friend says: "While I have never worshipped there on a Sat evening… and never intend to do so… it is my understanding that they CLOSE the coffee bar during worship services… no food, coffee or other drink is served during that time… and the live music / rock bands …live entertainment starts later in the evening… 8:30 I think…"

Okay, fair enough. I may very well misunderstand the time schedule. I was simply piecing together two bits of information from the menu found on the Crave website. First, the Saturday hours for "The Crave" cafe are listed as 2:00-8:00 p.m. Second, the "CRAVE Worship" is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., right in the middle of that time when the cafe is listed as open. While the menu does not explicitly say that the cafe/coffee bar closes down during that 5:30 worship time slot, I'll certainly allow for that possibility. Perhaps they need to clarify so that dopes like me don't step in it and cause others to do so as well. (Hmm. Would that make me more inclined to take in a "CRAVE Worship," if they close down the food and drink bar? Nah!!)

Then, on the other hand, one pastor friend of mine who did attend a "CRAVE Worship" a while back did make the comment about how odd it was to sit in a "worship service" while the person next to him was munching on his reuben sandwich. So, even if the Crave cafe is not open during the "worship" time, it would appear that the eating and drinking still take place concurrently with the "worship." To that, St. Paul's words certainly do seem appropriate (and thanks, Pr. Weedon, for pointing this out!): "What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?" (1 Corinthians 11:22).


Anonymous said...

Hi Pastor,

As that concerned friend, I was also operating under information from my wife... who knows the Sem student who at one time was serving as the Vicar at Crave... and may still be there... not sure... but he had told her awhile back ... that they do not serve food during worship.

Maybe they changed that policy? If so shame on them!!! They need to read 1 Corin again!

And i reiterate that I do not in any way agree with the place and would never worship there... mmm personally, I cannot call happy clapp, praise band, lets all hold hands and sing kumbaya type services "worship"

Thanks for the great blog though! I like your blog : )


Randy Asburry said...

Thanks for clarifying your position on "The Crave," Matt! :-)

Anonymous said...

I was under the assumption that the food and drink was free. You mean they actually charge for food and drink at a "worship service?" Suppose you are young or poor and do not have the funds to make a purchase. Does that mean you have to sit there and watch all the successful, bright, shiny, happy people around you chow down while you sip on a cup of water from the tap? Surely not. Do you know what CRAVE does with the money it charges congregants/customers? Do they give it away? Or is this a for profit venture much like KFUO apparently is?

Frankly, I'm MUCH more impressed with the work of the Salvation Army than I am of CRAVE---at least of the little I know about it.

BTW, I think your First Corinthians quote is quite appropriate here.

Tom Fast

Michael Kumm said...

Well, we have one CSL Prof who is the "Supervising Pastor" for Crave and at least one or two others who "attend" there. Sad, sad, sad.

Michael Kumm

RevFisk said...

While all this flies about, has the St. John Ellisville "plant" at Schlafly's Bottleworks flown under your radar? It's been in the works since my 4th year, starting a brand new church right next door to the LCMS parish in Maplewood, in a bar, without ever informing the neighboring pastor and his struggling congregation.

The time I visited, with a few friends, and looked like an award evil cleric leaning on a wall and trying to ignore the painful feeling in my gut the charismatic praise was causing, I was highly disappointed to glance into the crowd of young people - comprised about half of seminarians and their wives - and notice one girl sipping her beer.

Now, I'm all for beer. I like it. In fact, I have even attended an evening prayer service after sipping beer somewhere else with my buddies. We weren't drunk. We prayed. It was great. But something about drinking beer while I'm singing praises to Jesus about how much I love him [because that's what "wosrhip" is] just seems...um... misguided.

Needless to note, the preaching that night was a 2nd year seminarian who spoke from the Purpose-Driven platform, elaborating on the "Gladiator" quote, "What we do in time echoes through eternity." And no, he wasn't talking about what Jesus did on the cross lasting forever. He was talking about what you, Christian, need to do now that you're saved. (I'm amazed he could sit through courses at CSL and really believe that...but who am I?)

Later, in "group break outs" we were asked to discuss moments of high "spritiuality" in our lives. The man next to me at the table, a boomer to be sure, a member out at Ellisville, was completely confused by me. I had been rather silent during the schwermeraish answers, so he asked me, "what about you." I replied, "I have never had a spiritual high as great as when I was baptized."

"You were baptized as an adult?"


More confusion.

"Then how can you remember it?"

"I make the sign of the cross and speak the name of the triune God. In fact, I remember my baptism more than once a day. It's great."

I then proceeded to actually have an "igniter moment" with the man, telling him about the power of the Holy Spirit in the promise of baptism, and how it frees us through the cross from slavery to "what we have to do." The man was honestly interested. HE'D NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE - a member of one of our "best" parishes now involved in a "mission plant" because of his commitment to "Lutheranism."

Oh my...what an age in which we live. :D

Sorry for the length!

Randy Asburry said...


Good question, about the "beer church group" at Schlafly! No, I haven't missed that one; just haven't mentioned it...yet. ;-)

Thanks for your insights. Sounds like you have much more intimate knowledge of that aberration than I do.

(And don't apologize for the length. We need to hear this stuff!)

Randy Asburry said...


No, I don't believe that the food and drink are free. Just look at the menu at the CRAVE site.

As for what they do with the money, I have no clue. Fund their unique "ministry" somehow? Who knows?

Anonymous said...

If the food and drink are not freely provided to the congregants, then methinks we are in need of another "cleansing of the Temple." I'm serious.

I really, really appreciate the zeal folks have in trying to reach out with the gospel, but I hope efforts such as these don't end up completely perverting the piety of the people who attend. Just pause and think on the dynamic at work when the church sells trendy and expensive food and drink in such manner. What is this doing to the people? We ought to pray for them.

I suppose I'd be more open to such a thing if I knew it was simply a catechetical service which had as its ultimate goal the bringing of the congregant/customers into the Divine Service. Please tell me this is the plan here.

Tom Fast

Randy Asburry said...

Tom said:

"I suppose I'd be more open to such a thing if I knew it was simply a catechetical service which had as its ultimate goal the bringing of the congregant/customers into the Divine Service. Please tell me this is the plan here."

Um, "catechetical"? "Divine Service"? Methinks you're speaking a foreign language for what's going on here! I wish I could tell you "this is the plan here"!

Anonymous said...


Please excuse me. I need to go pop a couple of Tums.

Tom Fast

Randy Asburry said...


That coffee and sandwich during church getting to you? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ha!! Boy did you nail it!

BTW, I would recommend to any of you who are considering attending that "church," to avoid going during thunderstorms. Lest you literally become ablaze.

Tom Fast