Why Coffee?

What literally stands behind the request of a friend who asks, "Do you want grab a cup of coffee?" 

On some level, beyond the literal enjoyment of coffee or other beverage, from a cup of hot black coffee to something that approaches a work of art created in the medium of steamed milk or whipped cream, the request to have coffee conveys an invitation to conversation. The eclectic, diverse intimacy of a coffee shop atmosphere contributes to the richness of conversation with an acquaintance or the closest of friends. In the artful atmosphere of a coffee shop, a conversation can be casual and fun or heady and deeply intellectual. In the coffee shop, one may join a group of friends, a single acquaintance, or find fertile solitude for the cultivation of your own ideas in an atmosphere provided by the company of others engaged in other conversations. This site has in mind the nature of a very specific conversation metaphorically signified by an invitation to meet for coffee. 

A half millennia ago, Martin Luther posted 95 academic theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Many have sought to tell the story of what happened and why in the age of European reformations ever since. As you delve deeper into the substance of this site you will encounter a particular point of view. The Reformation occurred, not as the result of the singular actions of a former monk angry over church corruption, but as the result of complex global processes that demanded a reassessment of the place of humanity in the cosmos, the relationship to human beings to each other, and the relationship of God to the natural world. 


The 95 Theses, from this perspective, were an invitation to conversation. A difficult, strident, loud conversation, sure, but a conversation nevertheless.  As you enter into the richness of conversation around the continued relevance of the Reformation, you will find the purpose of this site to be the stimulation of your own thoughts rather than the dissemination of information.  For this reason, our conversation begins with a question: How can the call to a rather obscure academic debate, an invitation to conversation, extended by a former Augustinian monk teaching at an upstart university 500 years ago, continue to resonate with such power, and endure to hold such profound influence, so as to be an indelible part of who we are today?

An Invitation to Conversation... ...in Germany provides the ultimate experience of exploring what it means to be Lutheran 500 years removed from the Reformation. Our groups are small. We stay in one location offering a flexible and relaxed experience. You will be guided by an expert in early sixteenth century German history dedicated to empowering your discernment of the contemporary relevance of the ideas and events of the Reformation rather than traveling with a tour guide focused on disseminating information or reading from a script. Our Invitation to Conversation... ...in Germany is an invitation to a fun, intellectually fruitful, and spiritually enriching extended conversation in Germany.

Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC administers our trips to Germany. Mike Malone will serve as your host. Mike holds degrees including a B.A. from Valparaiso University, an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and an M. A. from the University of Chicago. Currently, Mike is a PhD candidate at Saint Louis University. His research focuses on European encounters with an increasingly complex world as revealed through the writings of historia by medical doctors in early sixteenth century Germany. 

If you ask, Mike will tell you stories of his own conversations in coffee shops like Kaldi's near the campus of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO or Becca's in Strasburg, CO. In the basement of Swift Hall at the University of Chicago and down the hall in the student lounge, Mike has enjoyed coffee and rich conversation in a locale that playfully suggests the place "where God drinks coffee." As a doctoral student at Saint Louis University, Mike has enjoyed many an intellectual conversation in the vibrant atmosphere of Cafe Ventana. These days, you can engage Mike in conversation in uptown Jackson, MO at the Ground-A-Bout.

Wherever you find him, you can be sure that Mike will be ready to engage you in conversation; especially around the significance of the Reformation from a global perspective. This site is dedicated to that conversation in the hope that you will accept his invitation whether virtually through ideas you encounter here on this site, one day in Germany should you accept an invitation to conversation... ...in Germany, or in the artful atmosphere of a local coffee shop.

Please accept our invitation to conversation by becoming member of invitationtoconversation.org 

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