Tag Archives: Starbucks

Conformed to this World

Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

protestsIn his letter to the Romans, perhaps the most complete theological treatise we have from the apostle Paul, a veritable high-definition picture of the gospel-centered worldview, when he finally turns the corner from the heavy theology in chapters 1-11 and begins to address the very, very practical question of how, then, we should live, Paul begins that counsel with a simple charge: we should look different from the world. That is his very first word of practical counsel. Be transformed. Be different.

And so, when we (as the church) respond to the world around us exactly like the rest of the world responds, it is safe to say we have failed. None of us want that. We all despise failure. Some of us even have an unhealthy fear of it. So, let’s succeed, shall we? Let’s be transformed! Let’s not look like the rest of the world.

But that is harder than it might seem. Sometimes, we have been IN the world for so long, we do not even realize that we are looking more and more like it. So, here are some reminders. Here are some ways the world behaves to which we, as God’s people, would do well NOT to conform. Spelling them out here, just so we can remember.

1. When the world sees a racially-charged incident brewing in Missouri, it runs to the fight like a bench-clearing brawl in a baseball game. Everyone sees the fight and realizes their “tribe” may be involved (or ought to be involved) and immediately begins seeing the “facts” through the lens of their cause, …

Being One of the Cool Kids

Tuesday Re-mix –

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord.  
Isaiah 31:1

I pay $4.00 for a cup of Starbucks coffee, when I could pay half that elsewhere.  And I pay with my iPhone.  And I follow American Idol (sort of).  And I watch ESPN Sportcenter pretty much every day.  And I follow secular bloggers, like Seth Godin and Michael Hyatt.  I do most of these things because I want to be a part of this culture where I live…I want to understand it and to be accepted in it.  I want to have influence in it as well.  To be blunt, I want to be one of the cool kids.

I will also admit to you that I want this, even knowing that there are times and circumstances when it is not God’s first and perfect will for me.  What I mean by that is…being one of the cool kids may well be more important to me sometimes than it should be.  I try to be cognizant of that, but I am certain I sometimes miss the mark.  I know that I am capable of looking in the wrong places for my acceptance…making “alliances” for my security other than with the Lord.  In this regard, I am definitely still just a work in progress.

Judah did that with Egypt.  In the face of certain discipline from God (at the hands of the Assyrians), rather than turning toward God and taking their medicine, they turned toward Egypt for acceptance and security.  God’s path for them was going to be difficult and …

We Christians and Our Starbucks

Tuesday Re-mix –

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:29-32

Last year, companies in the Northwest U.S. came out in favor of a same-sex marriage law in Washington state, citing business reasons such as keeping quality employees (who would presumably feel compelled to leave the state, and the company, in order to live somewhere where they could enjoy their same-sex marriage).  Those announcements would not ordinarily have made national news, except for the names of some of those companies: Microsoft, Nike, and (alas) Starbucks.  Actually, not even Microsoft’s or Nike’s announcements got all that much attention, despite their HUGE place in the homes of Christians all over the world.  But Starbucks…well, then the Christian world was in an uproar, to say the least.  People were calling for a boycott.  Messing with our computers and our $200 tennis shoes was one thing, but then they were messing with our coffee!

And so, the fight within the Christian world was once again fanned into flames with a renewed energy.

IN THIS CORNER: “How can you say you believe the Bible and then support gay marriage by purchasing Starbucks coffee?!”  And IN THIS CORNER: “How can you say you follow Christ and then refuse to associate (like He did) with those with whom you disagree?!”  And with those positions, both sides dangerously agree on …

Burning Labels and Building Bridges

Tuesday Re-mix –

I recently pulled up to the Starbuck’s drive-through thinking about how to say what I want (it’s important in this culture to sound knowledgeable when it comes to coffee–after all, what barista worth his/her salt would be at all impressed with me if I stepped up and just asked for a cup of coffee?).  Here is how the conversation went:

Blake:  I’d like a Grande Two-Equal Skinny Latte please.

Barista:  What flavor?

Blake:  No flavor.  Just the Skinny Latte.

Barista:  So, you just want the Latte with Non-fat milk, but no flavor?

Blake:  That’s correct.

Barista:  Just so you’ll know in the future, “Skinny Latte” means a flavor.  “Non-fat Latte” means no flavor.

Blake:  Whose rule is that?  Who made that definition?

Barista:  I don’t know, sir.  I’m just trying to help you say it right.

Blake:  (humiliated)  I’ll have a medium-sized coffee with steamed non-fat milk and two Equals stirred into it, please.  Call it whatever you like.

As a peacemaker, both by temperament and by profession, I have never liked labels.  I do understand why we use them.  For communities who all use the same vernacular, labels can provide important short-cuts to having to use long explanations for things.  I get that.  If I learn Starbucks’ language, my orders will go a lot faster.  Still, there is that tension between the barista and me, especially when he/she “otherizes” me by pointing out that I’m not saying it right.

So it is with Christians and their communities.  They come up with short-hand phrases and labels to describe Biblical concepts and theological positions, and those terms are useful in most situations within that community.  But over time, we sometimes lose the fact that they are just short-hand for other, more accurate descriptions and we begin to …