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Community, Coffee, Terrorists and Peace on Earth

18 Dec 2014 | Adam

This week the nation stopped to watch a man take hostage of some Australians buying coffee from a cafe in Sydney.  This man believed that his life and the lives of others were a worthwhile payment for some advertising for his beliefs.  It didn’t really work because his website and facebook page have since been taken down… all that remains are 140 character sermons on his Twitter account.

He was a self appointed Islamic Sheikh who saw himself as a kind of freedom fighter against the United States government and her allies.  Only a few days ago he posted…

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Thieves tools left at our back door

The same night the #SydneySiege was going down we had yet another break in attempt at Cup From Above.  Thank God this one was unsuccessful.

Cup From Above is a Community Cafe.  Our mission is to “Love & Connect Our Community” and today, the 18th December, we have now been open two and a half years.  What a journey.  And today, just like everyday, we helped several people at the cafe who are struggling with addiction, homelessness and mental illness.

The word community is derived from a latin word munio which means to build up, to fortify and to strengthen.  That’s what we’re trying to do at Cup From Above:  we’re a community cafe.  As a community we work together to build each other up because together we’re stronger and life is just better lived together.

Hussain Ali & Adam James

Hussain Ali & Adam James

We have 73 volunteers in total now.  A lot of the crew here are christians.  There’s been 14 different christian denominations represented.  I’m a christian myself but I’ve fought hard to avoid the cafe becoming a “christian cafe”.  A bunch of our valued team members are atheists and agnostics.  We’ve proudly showcased art on our walls by muslim Afghani refugees.  We even had a satanist here for a while!  Now I vehemently disagree with satanism but that doesn’t mean that individual is not an equal valued member of our community.  The satanist is welcome just the same as the Jehovah’s Witness, the muslim, the post modern secular humanist or the local southern cross tattoo’d bogan who doesn’t know what the bloody hell he is.  We’re Aussie’s who live in Aspley, love coffee and working with each other to help out people in need and because of that we’re all built up, fortified and strengthened.

You see when a community was being attacked they would come together to fortify (munio) and build a wall around the village so they were safe.  Safe from wild animals or marauders that might attack and steal from them.  It was something the community came together to build to DEFEND themselves.  There’s another english word that was also derived from the latin word munio: ammunition.

For me-as a Jesus follower-I believe in being an ambassador of peace.  Ironically according to twitter so did Man Horan Monis!  This is exactly what he claimed he was doing.  Yet he took ammunition, put it in a gun and killed innocent people to bring about peace by exposing the U.S. Government (for taking ammunition, putting it in a gun, and sending it over with soldiers to kill innocent people).

I think it’s difficult to make peace with ammunition.  I believe the best way to make peace is with community.  As a community it’s healthy to build a defence against wild animals like Man Horan Monis.  I think it’s fair game that the police have guns and the best training possible so they hopefully never have to use them but can if necessary.

Yes I believe in justice.  Yes there should be consequences to actions.  I believe in healthy confrontation and tough love.  So much so that a few of my team members think I’m too harsh some times.  But it’s not punishment that brings about peace.  It’s grace.

If we really want to bring about peace we have to learn to live in a real community with people who we disagree with and don’t like.  This means you are forced to get over your pride in some false sense of superiority.  This disease of pride infects both the poor and rich, black and white, old and young, religious and non.  The cure is a heavy regular dose of loving your community.  If you’re not doing anything for your community… you’re probably infected.

If anyone was justified in wanting revenge it would be the father of Tori Johnson who was murdered on Monday.  I publicly applaud his statement “I want to demonstrate that there can be peace in the world. My son has paved the way for that and I want to make sure I continue it” (article here).

Not only hasn’t there been a backlash in response to mentally ill people or muslims… Australians are proactively ensuring that they continue to feel safe and valued in the community with the campaign #illridewithyou.

It’s very likely that the people who have robbed us and tried to rob us again were the same people we gave free food to today on our two and a half year anniversary.  It’s so frustrating.  But nothing compared to what’s just happened in Sydney.  I also believe in “blessing those who persecute you”.  I believe in “turning the other cheek”.  And I just hope and pray that tomorrow is the day they turn their life around.  Who knows… maybe they are another future Man Horan Monis and because I showed them unnecessary grace it stops them from becoming a peace-destroying murderer.

Tomorrow is our last day for this year.  Thank you all for working alongside us to help build a great community here in Aspley.

We look forward to even greater things in 2015.  Have a merry Christmas.

-Adam


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2 responses to “Community, Coffee, Terrorists and Peace on Earth”

  1. Isaac Lane says:

    So touched and honoured to be encouraged to bring community out people who may need community!!!! Very Well Said!!

  2. R.wahry says:

    Thank you for unconditional love shown. All the best.

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