106: Coffee with Lenka Opalena

Experience New York City, The United Nations, Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, immigration, and 9/11/2001 through the lens of Lenka Opalena. She is from the former Czechoslovakia and is at the tail end of her Master of Divinity program at UTS in NYC. Acquainted rebellion in her own maturation, Lenka walks with others surviving post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions.

I was originally excited to talk with Lenka because of her combined life in seminary and life in the United Nations. Little did I know that this guest of the Coffeepot Fellowship is a partner in a New York City coffee shop called Ost Cafe! “Lenka, how do you like your coffee?” could have been the first and last question I needed to ask in this entire episode.

Lenka happiest ministry story was of a 15-year old addict who evolved into an 18-year old guru. Lenka admitted that working with addicts is very difficult, especially because relapse is part of recovery. Yet while Lenka told this story I could not help being reminded of a passage from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6 verses 32 and 33, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” I’m not sure that doing good for the sake of credit makes much sense to me. Realizing, however, that we are called to love not only those who are easy to love (is there such thing?), but everyone, is something that should settle deep into each of us. The gospel according to Lenka. Amen.

As humble as Lenka is, I have no doubt that you can ask this wise guest questions on a vast range of topics and her global, seminarian, school-of-hard-knocks wisdom will make the asking worthwhile. If you’re in NYC, show up at Ost Cafe and tell her you are there for her expert coffee advice and you know her from The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast with Jay McNeal. When you do you will have made the world a much closer community.

In the meantime, may we all destigmatize suffering and pray for one another. Just like 9/11, we’re all truly in this together.

Links:

United Church of Christ (UCC)

Ost Cafe

Union Theological Seminary (NYC)

Columbia University

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Moscow on the Hudson with Robin Williams

Elle (2016) with Isabelle Huppert

PTSD = Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder