As we progress through what should be our most spiritually-focused time of year, Christ's Passion Week, I'm troubled. There was a statement made by the CEO of Starbucks last week that has been, in my opinion, taken out of context and misconstrued. It was a statement he made very diplomatically to one individual answering one question. His response hasn't troubled me as much as the spin some conservative reporters have put on that statement, there is sadly a lynch-mob mentality "brewing" (pun intended) in the Christian community with a bandwagon boarding for Boycottville.
We cannot expect to hold accountable those who make NO remote claim to believe what we believe. Stirring up a frenzy to exert fiscal power and lord over any who do not share our beliefs will do no more to bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ than it would do to shove a horse's head in a tub to convince him that he's thirsty. We, as a body, are in the process of taking the bait that will allow a negative image of our faith community to be solidified. Jesus sat down and dined with the likes of hookers, swindlers, and outcasts... How would He handle this situation? We He repost the articles spinning Shultz's words into a lie? Would He join the boycott? Would He pat us on the back for standing our "holy grounds"? (yes, another coffee pun...) Would He congratulate us for justifying our boycott by coming up with more righteous uses for $5? (Which, let's be honest, many of us speak of but probably won't follow through on...)
This week should be the week we most deeply focus on WHY Christ submitted to the events that took place more than 2000 years ago. It was to change us. It was to show us, tangibly, what love looks like. It was to show us what forgiveness and grace looks like. If we join this angry mob then we missed it. Further, we will be just the same as those who twisted and spun Dan Cathy's words out of context last year. Do we want to be the same? Do we want to play tit-for-tat? Or, do we want to be different? Do we want to be salt and light? (Or, if we decide to take this stand, are we willing to face the hard truth that probably very few companies we patronize anymore share any shred of our convictions?? I think we will quickly run out of places to shop and eat if we do... )
If individuals feel Spirit-led to no longer patronize a particular company for moral reasons, so be it! We must follow our convictions, however, we must not allow someone else to tell us what someone else said, take it at full face-value, then pass it on and get others to join us based on a lie. That is bearing false witness and no matter the intentions, it is wrong. We need to do our own research into what was actually said, in what manner and for what purpose before we grab our torches and pitchforks on the way to burning someone at the stake. Discernment is something you can't borrow from someone else; you must find your own because each of us will ultimately be held accountable. Once that day comes, we cannot pass responsibility off to whomever told us what we should believe, what we should (or shouldn't) do, or how to interact with this world we are passing through.
Please do not misunderstand, this is NOT to defend Starbucks, Mr. Shultz, or even liberal politics of the day. It IS to encourage us all to be shrewd as vipers (as we make our decisions) and gentle as doves (as we carry them out and take our stand). Hopefully our choices on where we put our passion this week will amount to more than a hill of (over-roasted) beans. If Jesus was physically here today, I have the feeling He'd happily enjoy a whole-milk latte with honey and sit down to visit with anyone who cared to join Him, no matter who they were holding hands with, how big the gauge in their ear, or how much ink is in their skin. Let us look past politics, policies, and propaganda... Let us see with Christ's eyes how He would have us reach our lost world as effectively as possible. Only then will we turn mere coffee into Holy Grounds...
Today I'm praying for/about:
Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again
- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him
- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school
- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships
- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld
- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.
Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!