Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Church of St. Arbucks
...their coffee cup is brewing up strong messages

I like Starbucks very much... It is my first stop in the morning everyday after I get all five of my children to school and swim my mile or two at the "Y." It is a great place to work on the blog; read the news; study the Word; and interact with the faithful members of the church of St. Arbucks.

Some evangelicals are up in arms at SB's recent "The Way I See It" campaign which solicits short quips and thoughts about life, culture, the times, etc. and posts them on their paper-mugs. The reason that some are concerned is because of the nontraditional family values liberal bent of most of their messages (like the one shown) that are appearing on their paper mugs once you shed the brown protective wrap.

Personally, I don't mind them at all (even though I am a conservative politically and a Reformed Baptist). In fact I thank the Lord for them. That's right--this is a blessing, a gift to the body of Christ. Why? When I order my favorite "cup of Joe" at St. Arbucks, I immediately remove the brown sleeve to see what new "message" is printed on my cup. I then share that message with another standing in line or seated at the tables. It engages us in the lively art of conversation about all matters of issues and I am wonderfully afforded the opportunity to bring the biblical worldview into the discussion. This has proven to be a fantastic way to proclaim the gospel of grace and the truth claims of our Lord Jesus to those who will never come to church on a Sunday or show up at the myriad of Christian events circling the evangelical planetary subculture that many Christians choose to remain hidden within.

So may I encourage you today to write our good friends in Seattle, thank them for opening up many great opportunities for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, continue to go to the church at St. Arbucks (its service times are seven days a week from 7am to 10pm in most cities--and they are always full) and dialogue with the patrons from a biblical worldview, explain the hope that is within you with gentleness and reverance and enjoy some of the finest "Joe" in the world.

Let's be salt and light,
For those who have ears to hear...
Campi
Matthew 5:13-20

24 comments:

loren said...

Right on Steve! We need to recognize open doors when wee see them!

Jeremy Weaver said...

Steve,
Have you read the late John Gerstner's article titled, "Christians and Boycotting"? It's the last article published in 'John H. Gerstner: The Early Writings Volume 1', published by Soli Deo Gloria.
This article represents what I think should be the Christian perspective on boycotting.
I may blog about it, now that I think about it.
Now to your post.
Many time the reaction for Christians in situations like this is to 'make a scene'. I like your approach better. Use this as a way to point people to the Gospel.
The Gospel is the power of God to Salvation. Salvation produces saved people. Saved people do not propagate homosexuality, but rather glorify God.
Good post.

Bhedr said...

Amen St.Arburbucks preachin'! Keep preachin!

Royal said...

I agree with not making big public deals because the unbeliever does not understand. But what comment on a cup would be going over the line? Which sin could they openly encourage that would push you away from supporting Starbucks? Would stealing, infidelity, child pronography, or incest quotes of encouragement be over the line? When does St. Arbucks church take the place of the church of Jesus Christ. I have spent more money at Starbucs for overpriced copy than I care to know. I am trting to decide if it is time to change churches.

coconutsteve said...

Steve,
I am a missionary living in Trinidad. I am grateful for you resonse to the recent attack on Starbucks but some Evangelicals. Evangelicals do shoot themselves in the foot! I am in a Muslim community as an American. The recent comment by Pat Robertson has put all missionaries in a horrible situation. We, as Americans, are seen by the world as wanting to take over the world and do it by force. I am trying to convince the people that I am trying to reach that this is not our objective and as Christians we win the world by the power of words and not by force. And low and behold, here comes an evangelical, who is on cable tv here, and makes a stupid statemet like this! I live eight miles from Venezula and the Prime Minister of Trindad is very close to Chavez. So you can only imagine how the press here reports on America and Venezula relationships.
Anyway, you are right on about the culture thing! Starbucks are great and it is the first place we visit when we go back to the USA. It is time for Christians to take seriously the words of Jesus in John 17 "Father I pray that you do not take them out of the world...." We need to be in the world and Starbucks is a great place to be in the world!!! They have the best coffee and people who need to hear the Good News! That includes homosexuals!
Blessing ,
Steve McGee

littlegal_66 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
littlegal_66 said...

Four comments for you, Campi:

First off, I love this article. Super lead-in, nice build-up, excellent point--made in a casual, but organized manner. A fluid, fun read.

Secondly, I've never really understood the point of boycotting an establishment, corporation, or other such entity. Isn't it just another exercise in "symbolism over substance?"

Thirdly, if I swam two miles a day, I'd need a couple of daily shots of Antigua myself!

Finally, you signed off, "for those who have ears to hear"--or, in internet terms: "for those who have ISP's to blogenate." ; )

Rosemarie said...

I truly don't understand why Christians expect anything different from the world than worldly ideas and philosophies. The only thing we can expect with 100% certainty is that our gracious and holy God will always act according to His character. Expecting sinners not to sin is a premeditated disappointment. Thanks for great reading material. Oh, btw....I worship at St. Peet's...but I don't think our differences should divide us. LOL

joethorn.net said...

Steve,

I was nervous when I saw this post show up in my bloglines - I wasn't sure how you were going to handle it. Good stuff man. SDG.

Joe
www.joethorn.net

Hessel-Man said...

Thanks for the great example of how to use something intended for evil as a launching post for sharing the Gospel. It is a great way to get a conversation started.

I also really appreciate the pun.
A few friends and I attempt to be clever like that from time to time, but St. Arbucks never occured to us. You should be cannonized for that. :)

Steve H.

Steve said...

"Thanks for the great example of how to use something intended for evil as a launching post for sharing the Gospel. It is a great way to get a conversation started."

HAHA. Starbucks didn't "intend it for evil." They quote Michael Medved too, is that intended for evil?

Steve, really good post, missional/incarnational approach to culture. I'm going to "steal" the St. Arbucks thing, hilarious. I blogged on the same idea at my blog. Hard to believe people get in a huff over stuff like this.

Steve
www.stevekmccoy.com

James Spurgeon said...

Good stuff. Imagine that, actually engaging the culture with the gospel. What a revolutionary you are!

Actually, thanks for being a sane voice in an insane Christianity.

Royal said...

How many Christians walk into Starbucks looking to start spiritual conversations and how many just go there because they serve good coffee? I don't think one can use the argument to witness for Christ if your main purpose or passion is the consumption of Java. I have heard many drunks justify barhopping in order to be a missionary.

The point is.....Starbucks does openly support in their community actions, and now on their cups, the homosexual lifestyle. Are you going to Starbucks to be a Christian not of the world but in the world or is Starbucks just a great place to hang out in the world.

If you are not in Starbucks leading people to the Lord than you are in Starbucks supporting a business that encourages openly sinful behavior. And Starbucks can justify their actions by the revenue coming in from pastors and other Christ followers who see Starbucks as St. Arbucks.

I greatly enjoy the atmosphere and the product of Starbucks. I have to decide if I am going to keep supporting the business.

Since the non-believer does not understand. You can not attack St. Arbucks without the Disney affect backlash.

In a previous post, Steve communicates how the devil deceives. C. S. Lewis wrote, "The safest road to hell is the gradual one---the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."

Don't use your passion for the Starbuck's product to justify being there. That's like telling someone you read Playboy because they have great articles.

I am not the Disney boycotter type. As a matter of fact I have been furious in my lifetime as a Christ-follower watching Christians run people away from God instead of pulling them toward Him.

I am a church planter, a youth pastor, a relational evangelist and a lover of good coffee, good books, and good conversation. But I am not going to take a Playboy magazine into a place that openly supports what God called terrible just to look for a spiritual conversation.

I pray for the sixteen year old boy that is struggling with his sexuality and will cut this quote off of his cup and pin it to his visor. Too bad a Christ-following pastor was not at the table with him when he bought his mocha to have a spiritual conversation.

Thanks for listening...
Royal

Bhedr said...

Hey royfar,

Your comparison to Playboy does not hold water. If there were pictures on their cups of nude women then I don't think Steve would buy the coffee. He is not walking into the Playboy mansion; only getting a cup of Joe in a coffe house. Thank God he was there to engadge others that buy into the lie put on the cup. Remember that Jesus was accused for being a drunk and glutten simply for walking in these type of circles. Remember also that Satan is the accuser and the battlefield is the mind that he seeks to direct. Please consider this. Steve offers hope to the homosexual in encouraging them that they too can experience the Love of God through repentance and faith. I believe he is doing the right thing.

Coffee4dKing said...

Hey Steve,
Thanks for your feedback in regards to the article about St. Arbucks. I appreciate your feedback on this and can definitely see your point. However, I think many of us have our own convictions as well, I will not force mine on anyone else or start a boycott campaign, I don't think that does any good and definitely does not bring honor to God. I know Mr. Schultz, we have spoken many times over the years, the odd thing about all this is he is a very traditional Jew and yet he embraces an agenda of a pro gay lifestyle. I don't go to Starbucks and definitely will not give them my money for more reasons than just that cup. My point is that the church should not be purchasing coffee from this company, it is mixing light and dark and it just doesn't work. Many churches pay an exorbant amount of money to offer Starbucks to their flocks, some churches have actually paid upwards of 80 thousand dollars to this company just for the rights to have a coffee shop that ressembles their neighborhood Starbucks. I can see your point on drawing a conversation out of this as well, and would not cause idle babblings or disputes over it as mentioned in 2 Timothy chapter 2, it is foolishness. Yes, I offer coffee that supports missions 100% and actually have sold unroasted coffee to Starbucks in the past, but Starbucks is starting to be more open and coming out of the closet on their pro gay lifestlyle and that it is one of the leaders in financing the gay rights movements that we see. Our coffee ministry at our church, will have nothing to do them, God is more creative than the marekting team at Starbucks, much of our focus will be on supporting World missions, bringing awareness to the body of Christ on the poor and needy of the World, how we can share the love of Jesus with them. One thing that God showed me many years ago while teaching a class on coffee was that the 10/40 window, (the area that has not heard the gospel and is the most populated) and the coffee growing regions of the World are almost the same, that is why I purchase coffee down their for a fair price, why we support missions through it. Over 50% of Nicaragua is under the age of 16, if we can reach that generation with the gospel, we will have an army of soldiers for Christ who will raise up families as well, training them in the ways of the Lord. THanks for sharing your opinion Steve, and as always I value it, but this is definitely one of those things we will agree to disagree on. Oh by the way, that does not mean I support the 1 campaign I don't, I feel exactly the same way you do about that.

Evangelism One CUp At A Time,
Mark McKee
passionateharvest@msn.com

Coffee4dKing said...

Hey Steve,
Thanks for your feedback in regards to the article about St. Arbucks. I appreciate your feedback on this and can definitely see your point. However, I think many of us have our own convictions as well, I will not force mine on anyone else or start a boycott campaign, I don't think that does any good and definitely does not bring honor to God. I know Mr. Schultz, we have spoken many times over the years, the odd thing about all this is he is a very traditional Jew and yet he embraces an agenda of a pro gay lifestyle. I don't go to Starbucks and definitely will not give them my money for more reasons than just that cup. My point is that the church should not be purchasing coffee from this company, it is mixing light and dark and it just doesn't work. Many churches pay an exorbant amount of money to offer Starbucks to their flocks, some churches have actually paid upwards of 80 thousand dollars to this company just for the rights to have a coffee shop that ressembles their neighborhood Starbucks. I can see your point on drawing a conversation out of this as well, and would not cause idle babblings or disputes over it as mentioned in 2 Timothy chapter 2, it is foolishness. Yes, I offer coffee that supports missions 100% and actually have sold unroasted coffee to Starbucks in the past, but Starbucks is starting to be more open and coming out of the closet on their pro gay lifestlyle and that it is one of the leaders in financing the gay rights movements that we see. Our coffee ministry at our church, will have nothing to do them, God is more creative than the marekting team at Starbucks, much of our focus will be on supporting World missions, bringing awareness to the body of Christ on the poor and needy of the World, how we can share the love of Jesus with them. One thing that God showed me many years ago while teaching a class on coffee was that the 10/40 window, (the area that has not heard the gospel and is the most populated) and the coffee growing regions of the World are almost the same, that is why I purchase coffee down their for a fair price, why we support missions through it. Over 50% of Nicaragua is under the age of 16, if we can reach that generation with the gospel, we will have an army of soldiers for Christ who will raise up families as well, training them in the ways of the Lord. THanks for sharing your opinion Steve, and as always I value it, but this is definitely one of those things we will agree to disagree on. Oh by the way, that does not mean I support the 1 campaign I don't, I feel exactly the same way you do about that.

Evangelism One CUp At A Time,
Mark McKee
passionateharvest@msn.com

Coffee4dKing said...

Hey Steve,
Thanks for your feedback in regards to the article about St. Arbucks. I appreciate your feedback on this and can definitely see your point. However, I think many of us have our own convictions as well, I will not force mine on anyone else or start a boycott campaign, I don't think that does any good and definitely does not bring honor to God. I know Mr. Schultz, we have spoken many times over the years, the odd thing about all this is he is a very traditional Jew and yet he embraces an agenda of a pro gay lifestyle. I don't go to Starbucks and definitely will not give them my money for more reasons than just that cup. My point is that the church should not be purchasing coffee from this company, it is mixing light and dark and it just doesn't work. Many churches pay an exorbant amount of money to offer Starbucks to their flocks, some churches have actually paid upwards of 80 thousand dollars to this company just for the rights to have a coffee shop that ressembles their neighborhood Starbucks. I can see your point on drawing a conversation out of this as well, and would not cause idle babblings or disputes over it as mentioned in 2 Timothy chapter 2, it is foolishness. Yes, I offer coffee that supports missions 100% and actually have sold unroasted coffee to Starbucks in the past, but Starbucks is starting to be more open and coming out of the closet on their pro gay lifestlyle and that it is one of the leaders in financing the gay rights movements that we see. Our coffee ministry at our church, will have nothing to do them, God is more creative than the marekting team at Starbucks, much of our focus will be on supporting World missions, bringing awareness to the body of Christ on the poor and needy of the World, how we can share the love of Jesus with them. One thing that God showed me many years ago while teaching a class on coffee was that the 10/40 window, (the area that has not heard the gospel and is the most populated) and the coffee growing regions of the World are almost the same, that is why I purchase coffee down their for a fair price, why we support missions through it. Over 50% of Nicaragua is under the age of 16, if we can reach that generation with the gospel, we will have an army of soldiers for Christ who will raise up families as well, training them in the ways of the Lord. THanks for sharing your opinion Steve, and as always I value it, but this is definitely one of those things we will agree to disagree on. Oh by the way, that does not mean I support the 1 campaign I don't, I feel exactly the same way you do about that.

Evangelism One CUp At A Time,
Mark McKee
passionateharvest@msn.com

Coffee4dKing said...

Hey Steve,
Thanks for your feedback in regards to the article about St. Arbucks. I appreciate your feedback on this and can definitely see your point. However, I think many of us have our own convictions as well, I will not force mine on anyone else or start a boycott campaign, I don't think that does any good and definitely does not bring honor to God. I know Mr. Schultz, we have spoken many times over the years, the odd thing about all this is he is a very traditional Jew and yet he embraces an agenda of a pro gay lifestyle. I don't go to Starbucks and definitely will not give them my money for more reasons than just that cup. My point is that the church should not be purchasing coffee from this company, it is mixing light and dark and it just doesn't work. Many churches pay an exorbant amount of money to offer Starbucks to their flocks, some churches have actually paid upwards of 80 thousand dollars to this company just for the rights to have a coffee shop that ressembles their neighborhood Starbucks. I can see your point on drawing a conversation out of this as well, and would not cause idle babblings or disputes over it as mentioned in 2 Timothy chapter 2, it is foolishness. Yes, I offer coffee that supports missions 100% and actually have sold unroasted coffee to Starbucks in the past, but Starbucks is starting to be more open and coming out of the closet on their pro gay lifestlyle and that it is one of the leaders in financing the gay rights movements that we see. Our coffee ministry at our church, will have nothing to do them, God is more creative than the marekting team at Starbucks, much of our focus will be on supporting World missions, bringing awareness to the body of Christ on the poor and needy of the World, how we can share the love of Jesus with them. One thing that God showed me many years ago while teaching a class on coffee was that the 10/40 window, (the area that has not heard the gospel and is the most populated) and the coffee growing regions of the World are almost the same, that is why I purchase coffee down their for a fair price, why we support missions through it. Over 50% of Nicaragua is under the age of 16, if we can reach that generation with the gospel, we will have an army of soldiers for Christ who will raise up families as well, training them in the ways of the Lord. THanks for sharing your opinion Steve, and as always I value it, but this is definitely one of those things we will agree to disagree on. Oh by the way, that does not mean I support the 1 campaign I don't, I feel exactly the same way you do about that.

Evangelism One CUp At A Time,
Mark McKee
passionateharvest@msn.com

2Tal said...

Could this be an example of what you call engaging the culture with a Biblical worldview. Instead of boycotting them, with the world calling you a "hater", actually showing them Christ in us and the love that compels and regenerates. If we indeed have Christ's sanctifying power within enpowering us to share the gospel and make a difference, I say, why not?

Coffee4dKing said...

I pray for the sixteen year old boy that is struggling with his sexuality and will cut this quote off of his cup and pin it to his visor. Too bad a Christ-following pastor was not at the table with him when he bought his mocha to have a spiritual conversation.

This comment above is very well stated. Another person said of course Steve would not go in Starbucks if they had a naked women on the cup. COuld you tell me where the line is on that? Where do you start drawing the line? I could engage someone on the picture of the naked women as well couldn't I? Where do we as Christians draw the line? Someone also suggested that means we are homosexual haters, I work with homosexuals and have many friends that are, I share with them constantly and pray for themm, they have become receptive not because I accept their lifestyle but because I show the love of Christ to them, pray for them.

tiara said...

mmm...I am split on this one.

I personally can't justify spending that much on coffee a week. I hail from the Pacific Northwest, so like many of you I enjoy a good cup of coffee, but not at those prices.

Second, I have been in Starbucks for various church meetings. And I have seen good results while being there in the witnessing department. but....... on the other hand we also have tried to get their support for community outreaches and they deny us every time.

So, we slap down $3, $4, or $5 a cup of whatever, 2,3,4x's, and in Steves' case everyday, of our money and they can't give back into their local community.

I look at the message on that cup two ways. Yes, a gay person reaching out, but also the reader of the cup also could take it several ways to justify their feelings.

We can touch lives, yes I believe in being a light,ministering to someone in the shop( done it myself) but I also agree with the blogger who said, where do we draw the line? I live in the Northwest, home of Starbucks
and around here, their liberal beliefs definantly rule and outweigh the christian ministering happening in their shops.

mrclm said...

If it was just a coffee cup I could probably take a stance more like Campi, but the problem is that Starbucks gives significantly to directly support things like gay parades and planned parenthood. So that $4 you spend helps them keep abortionists in business for instance. The stakes are larger than just some pithy phrases on paper cups. So you (and those reading this) might want to dig a bit deeper on the giving practices of Starbucks.

Big Chris
Because I said so

Frank Martens said...

I wounder where the phrase "cup of joe" actually came from. :)

Great post!

In His Grace

Adam Cummings said...

The WORLD will always say these things. If we only knew what Wal-mart or Target supported, we might boycott them as well. Comparing coffee to playboy really IS offpoint. When you go into supermarkets, there are always magazines with half-nude women on them. Do you not buy food then, or do you take the opportunity to do what's right and share the truth of Christ? Steve likes coffee, yes, like a LOT of people do. It's not wrong to want to go to Starbucks, and, if you are able to open conversation about Christ while there... what a great bonus, huh!?! Point being, if the ones criticizing Steve's post were consistent, then they would likely not own much (since most secular industries openly support some sort of anti-Christian ideal). Be consistent... spread the truth... and, instead of flaring up to the world and expecting them to act like us Christians, recognize your duty to give the good news like Steve did! By the way, if I were going to waste time critiquing the post which spoke of bringing a playboy magazine into an otherwise innocent environment, then I would likely point you to the fact that Steve didn't bring anything in by buying coffee. As my English Lit prof sad, we live in a predatory society. The world is out to get us, and we must reply with the words of Christ. Good job, Steve, and very good thoughts!