Starbucks -- to display your Bible or not?

In romantic relationships, there's an ongoing debate about how much PDA is okay. What's PDA? "Public Display of Affection." How much hugging, kissing, handholding, and so on is allowable in public? 

Today I noticed that I have an inner debate about PDB while I'm in Starbucks. What's PDB? "Public Display of Bible." If you're doing Bible study in Starbucks, how much PDB is appropriate? 

I work at coffee shops at least a couple of times a week, and often I am preparing my sermon for the weekend. Oddly enough, when I do Bible study like this, I feel mildly conflicted about putting my Bible out on the table. I often use anyway, so Bible display not an issue. But today I had to acknowledge to myself (and to God) that PDB is an issue in my conscious mind. 

I don't like to be too showy about public display of religious equipment, as if displaying my Bible might make make it look like I feel holier than other people in Starbucks. Also, I always want to be ready for the random conversation, and I feel like people who otherwise might talk to me will run away when they see my 2375-page, two-tone brown leather Life Application Study Bible sitting beside me.

On the other hand, I feel like everything I just wrote in that preceding paragraph is just a nicely packaged bottle of weaksauce. Why in the world would I not want to display my Bible if I am using it? Am I hiding my own embarrassment behind a smokescreen of false concern about alienating people? And regarding random conversations, sometimes the presence of a Bible might spark a conversation rather than shut one down. 

Still, you can go too far with showy displays of religious enthusiasm. But where is that line?

So there it is -- the PDB debate. Maybe it's about Starbucks etiquette. Or maybe it's really about choosing not to be "ashamed of the gospel."


  1. This comment was posted on Facebook by my friend Jeremy, who is doing missions work in Haiti. I'm re-posting it here with his permission because I love the story...

    I miss going to Starbucks, setting my bible on the table and opening my computer that has a persecuted church sticker on it, it's interesting and someone always asked about it, and then it's on, once I had a circle of the entire Starbucks, about 10 people in Texas, and only two of us were Christian, my quick coffee break from driving lasted 4 hours, and when I left they had a lot of confusion about Christians cleared, and they had the name of a local church from the other brother that was there, I love how God gives us help when we need it.

    Loving Jesus always Dave, Jeremy


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