Why I Won't Boycott Starbucks

7:37 AMHeather

I was a little out of the loop last week.  Actually, for about three weeks now.  Hardly on my laptop or Facebook or the Internet.  And even less television.  Which was a rather ironic twist on the heels of my media fast for my "7 experiment."  (More on that later this week).  All that to say that I may not have all the facts here, and if not, please forgive me.   I may be a bit lazy today about doing my research--but the spirit of my thoughts and intentions here is not contingent on having ALL of my facts straight, in my humble opinion.  My blog post is a broader statement in general.

So, there appeared to be some ruckus about Starbucks and boycotting them and not giving them your money because the CEO said that he didn't want it anyway if you support traditional marriage.  

Yet I read an interesting article clarifying that the CEO actually told investors that if they felt they were not yielding a good return on their investment because Starbucks supports gay marriage, then they could certainly choose to invest their money elsewhere.  

Not quite the same thing.   

Let me just say that I won't be joining in any boycott of Starbucks.  And that decision is not about coffee.  Although I do love me their tazo chai latte, extra hot, no water.  No, I won't be joining in a boycott for various and assorted reasons which I shall attempt to express here.  My goal is not to be divisive.  In fact, that is reason number one why I won't boycott. 

Because I want to be known as someone with a heart for Jesus.  I want to be known more for all the things that I am FOR than for all the things I am against.   A voice of understanding and dialog is heard much louder than some screaming voice of dissent.  That, my friends, is not Jesus.  I'm all for standing firm on your beliefs.  Truly, I am.  But, I'm becoming troubled by the megaphone being used to divide people into "us" and "them."  I went off to college, having been raised in the church, with a mega "us" and "them" mentality.  We go to church regularly.  Check.  Even on Sunday nights.  Check.  We don't do a list of things.  Check.  We flock together.  Check.  Them?  I'm not so sure about them.  So, I'll just stay in my holy huddle.

Except for one thing that I'm learning more and more the older I am.  We are all "us."  Jesus died for all of us.  I don't get to pick and choose who Jesus is for.  Because he simply is FOR all of us.  For God so loved the world (as in all of us) that he gave his only begotten son.  He was not willing that ANY of us should perish.  While we were yet sinners (all of us), he died to save us.  

Behind the party lines and the differences that divide us, we might find that all of us have more more in common than we'd imagine.  We all feel pain and joy, suffering and hope.  We all want to belong and to be accepted.  We all need a Savior. And, I think if Jesus walked the earth today, we who have sat in our holy huddle might be shocked at the places where He would go.  We might find ourselves with an eerie resemblence to the Pharisees of old.  As we watch Jesus go to the homeless in the alley to dine together.  To the prisons to speak freedom to the inmates chained by shame and regret.  To the straight and the gay.  To the orphaned and the rich.  To the masses.  To the hurting.  To those rejected by society. To the unloveable and unlovely.  Because that is who He is.  He dared the "us" in the story of the adulterous woman to cast the first stone at the "them" if they were without sin.  He chose to be the voice for those society deemed unworthy and broken beyond acceptance.  Aren't we all broken?

Here's the thing.  There's a four letter word that we all too often forget.  It's something we believers in Christ must adopt into our vocabulary.  Indeed, it must become our language.  It's L-O-V-E.  Love.  That's where it all begins.  That's what it's all about.  God so loved the world, he was motivated to change the course of history and do something drastic.  All throughout Jesus' ministry on earth, his interactions with others--even the tough conversations--were overpowered by love.  He showed love to the adulterous woman.  He showed love to the woman at the well.  He loved the rich young ruler who refused to follow.  Love.   Without love, we are a resounding gong or clanging cymbalMaking all kinds of noise to no avail.

Who am I to insensitively wound those around me in the name of Jesus?  Standing up for my beliefs should not include a shunning or hatred of people.  Because people is who Jesus was and is ALL about.  I must be very careful and mindful of how I express myself.  Sensitive to the hearts of others.  Some rant on Facebook changed someone's political opinion NEVER.  And, perhaps I'm a chicken, or I just like to duck my head in the sand.  But, I am growing ever more weary of talking heads yelling back and forth.  Nothing gets accomplished.  There is enough friction and division and problems in the world.  The madness of hotly debated issues with no room for understanding and mediation accomplishes little.

I think Jen Hatmaker says it so very well in her blog here.  I just simply can't say it better than her.  So please take time to read her thoughts.  I hear ya, Jen.  I'm joining you in the basement.  I, too, am tired of the storm.  And I want to escape.  To a place where, "We hate pointless arguments that widen the gap and devalue real human people."  Amen, sister.  Amen.  And, "We love people. Because Jesus does. All of them."  Jen goes on to expound on being a basement dweller in this post.   Again--I agree and love love love.  So, I'll just ask you to check that one out too.

Here's the thing, bloggy friends.  The older I get, the more I hate the lack of unity and the distancing from others that we can do.  I don't think name calling and mud slinging and denouncing people is becoming of the bride of Christ. It is a tricky thing to hate the sin and love the sinner.  Perhaps the first step is to hate our own sin enough that we begin to find love for other people.  And let God deal with the heart issues.  Because we are all in the same boat here.  In need of a Savior.  

I've read an article citing the astronomical statistics about twenty something's leaving the church.  Those raised faithfully in the church.  Leaving.  In record number.  Because they want authenticity.  They want a genuine faith.  They can't reconcile an "us" and "them" mentality.  They go off on their own and meet some "thems."  They find "them" to be rather nice people.  Who make them laugh.  And who share their burdens.  And they aren't quite sure what to do with a faith that pits "us" against "them."  How to reconcile a faith about a loving God when they've never been taught how to love all kinds of people?  Love people enough to see past any failures or differences.  To love them enough to have an influence.  To have earned a right to share about the Jesus of the Bible.  Once relationship has been born.  

Listen, I won't be mad at you if you choose to boycott Starbucks.  Really, I won't.  I'll even meet you at the local coffee house instead in order to catch up, if you so desire.  You won't be a "them" and I won't be an "us."  How about we just become a "we?"  A "we" who respects and loves and draws near in fellowship?  In order to walk through life together?  And to reach outward to all the other "us" and "them" in the world so that "we" can be close enough to the marginalized and the poor and the deprived and the needy to be the salt and the light that we are called to be?  We don't have to agree on everything.  Chances are, we never would anyway.  But, I no longer want to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Toss a potential friendship because we have some differences.  I want to be more mindful of how we can dwell in the basement together, talking things over, calmly.  And let the storm rage where it might.  While we are safe. "WE" are safe.  While we show love.  Here together.

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