Lighted only by glass globes suspended from the ceiling and Chinese paper lamps scattered throughout the room, Daverse Lounge feels as if you are walking into a type of club. There is a low buzz of talking as people stand in line for free Starbucks drinks and then search for a seat.
The environment absolutely amazes and enthralls me--not because of the club-like atmosphere and the free coffee (though free Starbucks is always exciting!). Not because it is primarily for teenagers (though there are a few adults scattered around who go so they can take in the event as well).
Daverse Lounge amazes me because it is the only place I've ever experienced where people can come together and just be. At Daverse Lounge, the environment is set up so that all judgment is suspended. Teenagers come from Highland Park High School to South Oak Cliff and everywhere in between. They come to present their deepest thoughts and emotion in the form of poetry.
Teenagers listen to each other with rapt attention as one speaks of inner struggles and fears as she tries to understand her own sexual preferences. Another has formed a poetic response to girls at school who have told her to lose weight. Still another grapples with her dual identity of being Hispanic and African-American. A 11-year old boy stands up and waxes eloquent for a good 3-4 minutes about the state of our country, the political game we play, and how war is affecting us. Two young men have created a tag team effort to describe their "difficult" life of being "pretty boys" that girls don't take seriously. Yet another young man stands up and speaks of his virginity and his intent to stay pure.
I commend Will Ritchey for bringing it together and creating such an amazing environment where everyone is accepted, applauded, and patted on the back.
It is socially conscious. It is spiritually energizing. It is...
Wouldn't it be nice if church had those characteristics??