Faith Bible Blog

Information and Reflections for the FBC Family

The Way I See It

{mosimage}This last week, I received a great question via email:

I am writing to tell you about a quote that was written on my Starbucks cup this past weekend. I was pretty shocked to say the least, but what really disturbs me is the millions of christians, including myself who support this place. This is what the cup said, The way I see it #43 " My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrended my youth to the people I feared when I could have been loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short." Armistad Maupin I know lots of people would say that if we ban Starbucks then we might as well not buy anything. This is how it slowly starts and we get sucked right in to believing this stuff. What do you think?

This is such a great question, I mulled it over a few days before composing a reply. Once I did, I found myself writing much more at length than I typically do. Out of the hope that this may prove helpful to others, here’s what I wrote back…

Sorry to take so long to
reply. I’d noticed the quotes on cups, but I typically use the
cardboard sleeves so I haven’t really paid attention to content, since
they cover the quotes. My general take on it, though, is that Starbucks
is avowedly non-Christian (e.g., their logo of a sea-goddess). As such,
it’s of little surprise to me that their latest "The Way I See It" campaign includes many distinctly liberal voices. (A partial list of contributors
is available there also ). Among those who’ve contributed, there have
been only a few conservative opinions (much less Christian). And
personally, I’m much more saddened/grieved to have Deepak Chopra’s
quotes further publicized than I am by Maupin’s statement. But
truthfully, I’d be shocked and surprised were the quotes much different
than they are. This is because, at the core, Starbucks is very much a
reflection of our culture.

The music that’s played, the
employees & their ‘look’, the games & novelties sold, the
environmental causes supported, and their employee benefits package.)
There are many things they do well (e.g., healthcare, retirement, stock
options, & adoption assistance for part-time employees) but
definitely not all. Their stated motivation in the ‘quotes on cups’ is
to move people to dialogue and philosophical discussion. They carefully
state that "the opinions put forth by contributors to β€œThe Way I See
It” do not necessarily reflect the views of Starbucks." And this is
because they’re cautiously dogmatic that there are no absolute truths.
So everything should be discussed, and nothing should be considered
inherently wrong. Understand that this is not just Starbucks, but the
world at large around us.

So how do we respond? Boycotting is an
option, but to what end? Is the goal of it to remove the quotes? That
seems a bit trivial, since it won’t affect the heart. Perhaps to put
the stores out of business? Then the employees & management will
all have to move over to Jamba Juice. πŸ˜‰ Our goal as Christians is to
be salt & light to those around us. That means that we SHOULD be
affecting change at Starbucks. The question is how? We must do it in a
way that strikes at the heart/root. Changing to a less offensive cup
won’t do a thing but further dull our senses. How much better would it
be that we use the quotes to engage the workers and others we’re with?!
To seize on this as an opportunity for dialogue *about the gospel*. As
the hearts & lives of Starbucks employees are transformed by the
gospel, we will affect far greater change than a boycott or campaign
ever would. Some of those converts will leave Starbucks and continute
in life elsewhere; others will continue up the corporate ladder at
Starbucks and conceivably be agents for change from within. This, to
me, is the most effective step to take.

When I read the quote
you listed, I see manifold opportunities to talk about the gospel. His
first statement on repression is true of many people…you could ask,
what tendencies (not necessarily sexual) do you find yourself
repressing? What makes you repress them? Then go on to talk about how
the law of God is written on our conscience (Rom 2). When he states
that he surrended his youth to people he feared, this parallels the
experience of most people. There’s a great book called "When people are
big and God is small" by Ed Welch. A conversation on the fear of man
could be led to Matt 10:28 about how much more we should fear Him who
has power over our souls. On the shortness of life, a conversation
could easily turn to what happens when this life is over.

that’s probably much more about what I think on this than you wanted to
read. πŸ™‚ To sum up, I see Starbucks as a reflection of our culture,
nothing more, nothing less. As such, I believe that we’re called to
live in it, but be different than it. I do not think that call to live
different is a call to isolation or lament, but to work hard and live
missionally. And I believe that cultural change is most effective when
we attack the root rather than the symptoms…so I’d advocate a
diligence for Christians to reach out to the lost around them and seize
opportunities (like this one) for dialogue about the gospel.

Hope this helps and stimulates you to further thought, reflection and action,

I also hope that this helps you who’ve just finished reading it as well.

No related content found.

Author: John Pleasnick

John serves as a pastor and elder at Faith Bible Church

Comments are closed.