Wednesday, May 23, 2007


You know, the brown liquid, elixir of life, staple commodity of the NHS and any other large demand led service industry.

The only thing is, the word means different things to different people. Some have given it a language all its own, with carefree talk about skinny this, grande that, latte the other thing, till no sane person under the age of thirty knows what the heck they are talking about. Some folk will accept anything wet and brown as the genuine article, others (present company not necessarily excepted) get all snobby and want to know what kind of beans it was made from and have a certain qualifying threshold of taste to be worthy of the exalted name.

In the final analysis, if it’s made from beans and not leaves, and isn’t chocolate, then it’s probably coffee.

By now most of you will have glazed over completely and will be left wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Or you’ll have gone to put the kettle on….

Oh, right, that’s Java for me then, and perchance a hob nob or two?

Ok this next bit requires a bit of a stretch, but stick with it if you can…

Right at the moment my caseload is suddenly overrun with patients with end-of-life disease. Most of my visits this past fortnight have been to administer palliative care or to help with bereavement. And most of the folk I visit would claim C of E as their religious denomination. And just like their coffee their C-of-E comes in all shades and flavours from the happy-clappy-evangelical skinny lattes through the christenings-weddings-and-funerals freeze dried instants to the high-church-latin-mass bean snobbery.

I could now descend into the depths of silliness and start assigning other choices of beverage to other faiths or denominations, (for some reason I’m getting Dandelion and Burdock for Wiccans about now….) but my point is (oh yes, there actually is one folks), we routinely ask for peoples denomination when we check them in for any variety of health service pretty much, and we take their professed C-of-E-ness at face value, but unless and until we ask what that really means (as I am having to do quite a lot at the moment) it is all too easy to lump them all in as freeze dried instants, when they might be looking for a whole lot more.

Brothers and Sisters, bless you all for listening. Here endeth the lesson. Now, where’s that Java…


Katy Newton said...

Not much call for the motley at the moment, then.

Poor Dr J. That doesn't sound like much fun at all.

Z said...

When served weak, cheap powdered coffee after a service at another church, my fellow churchwarden growled "Good coffee in church is part of Mission!" I don't use words like mission myself, but he was absolutely right.

low church, middle-of-the-road, C of E ready ground, cafetiere made, hot and strong, if you were wondering.

Slurry said...

Dr J, you truw=ely do come up with some strange things.

Doctor Jest said...

katy-- gosh, thanks for stopping by. You're right the motley hangs firmly on its peg these days. I'm thinking of getting a long, Bregmanesque "Grim Reaper" style cloak and hood thingy instead just at the moment.

z-- every place of worship should be graced by wardens of such taste and discernment. Of course a few holy hob nobs wouldn't go amiss either ;-)

slurry-- yes, its been rather a long month thus far, sorry if I tend to ramble...