To Starbucks or Not to Starbucks?

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable” (Brennan Manning).

I went to Starbucks and got my caramel apple spice beverage. It’s not on the menu anymore, but I asked for it and they were able to make it for me. It was uber-yummy. I might even get one when I go back.

Yep, I went there. Literally.

I know some people are upset with Starbucks for not having “Merry Christmas” emblazoned on all their paraphernalia. It’s not even Thanksgiving, people. What do you expect?

This is my take. Starbucks is not a Christian company. I never had any illusions that they were. They are a for-profit company. Period. They also make darn good caramel apple spice beverages.

I’m much more bothered by people who profess faith with their lips but deny it with their lifestyles, as Brennan Manning mentioned earlier.

I’m bothered by Christian businessmen and women who will engage in unethical practices and behaviors under the guise of “it’s just business,” as if their faith and their business ethics don’t mix and the people who get turned off by their bad witness don’t matter.

I’m bothered by people with Christian bumper stickers plastered all over their vehicles whose driving gives a very different kind of witness than those faith-based slogans. Not that I ever drive badly. Oh no.

I’m bothered by Christians who are the most obnoxious and demanding people at restaurants, who tip the least, who show the least amount of grace to those who serve them. I’m extremely bothered by the fact that Sunday is the day a waitperson dreads to work most of all because of all of the church people.

I’m bothered by believers who haven’t done a very good job of representing what Jesus was all about– namely, forgiveness, grace, second chances, and a home for all types of broken people. I’m bothered that people know us by what we’re against instead of what we’re for.

I’m bothered that Christians still think that we can elect a savior in the form of a politician who knows how and when to say the right things to tickle people’s ears.

I’d rather see my Merry Christmases lived out than spoken. I’d rather see people who celebrate the birth of the Christ child by following His example and, better yet, by being so filled with the Christ-presence that they bring Jesus into every place where they live, work, and play.

I’m okay with a “Happy Holidays” or a “Seasons’ Greetings.” I don’t expect Starbucks or Target or any other retailers to do my evangelizing for me. It’s not their job. It’s mine.

Oh, did I mention that it’s not even Thanksgiving yet? Let’s at least hold off on the “Merry CHRISTmas” rants until November 27, please. Thanks.

 

Learning the Facts of Life

I had a random Union University memory today. A friend of mine mentioned that he had a jamocha shake from Arby’s when it was cold outside, which got me thinking about my own jamocha shake experience. Specifically one.

My dorm room was at the back of the campus. Across the street lived the place that made my drug of choice, the jamocha shake. Plus, the fact that I could literally walk half a block to get one made it all the better.

So I decided one night to get one. Apparently, I didn’t get the memo that they closed. I arrived just in time to be told, “Sorry, we’ve closed for the night. No jamocha shake for you.” Not in those words, but something close to that.

I did get my shake eventually, but I also learned to pay attention to the time more closely.

Today, I had a salted caramel mocha, one of the harbingers of the arrival of Autumn. It’s also one of my favorites. That, the pumpkin spice latte, and the caramel apple cider are the three best reasons to frequent Starbucks in the fall.

For me, fall is a reminder that sometimes it’s good to slow down and savor life. That to-do list never goes away and never gets smaller, but sometimes you find when you leave a few items unchecked, the world actually doesn’t come to a crashing halt. Somehow, life goes on.

It’s better when your life has margins, when you aren’t so jam-packed with busyness that you have no down time. There’s a reason why God made the Sabbath. No one can go all-out for 7 days in a row, week after week, and not burn out and break down.

I personally have never had a problem with going full speed for too long. I like my naps. I like my quality therapy time with my cat Lucy in my lap and some quality TCM programming in front of me.

If all you have time for is one deep breath, take it. Breathe in and breathe out and remember that ultimately it’s not up to you. God’s got this.