Sixth Home of…

This is an invitation to take part in making a difference in people’s lives.  This is an invitation to help create community that is marked by…
 …members who are enthusiastic about being members
 …diversity in appearance, unity in purpose and character
 …being good local neighbors to the community
 …being good global neighbors (esp. Third World countries and their families)
 …good environmental stewardship
 …promoting a sustainable community life organization

No this is not an invitation to join our church–it is a summary of a few company pamphlets I picked up at Starbucks the other day.  And it scared me.

This is no joke, when I was reading those pamphlets, I actually forgot at times that I was reading about a global monolithic coffee company and thought I was reading about what we’ve been hoping for our church.  And it scared me.  Where has our vision been coming from? our language?  Has it really come from the dynamic duo of Spirit and Scripture?  Or is it just evidence of the cutting edge values of a coffee company?

The very nature of the Church is that it is both in culture and against culture at the same time–it is a distinct entity through which God is declaring both his judgement and mercy upon all of humanity.  But if you can get everything you’re hoping for at a coffee shop, why go to church? 

This anxiety is not out of an instinct to survive–quite frankly–if our church “dies”, it will resurrect in a variety of areas; I am an ardent believer in the steadfastness of God’s Church; like Jack and Rose’s hearts, the Church will go on.  But I am anxious because maybe we’ve missed the point.  Maybe we’re disguising the Gospel of Starbucks with holy Jesus-language.  Maybe we’re the ones who are wolf in sheep’s clothing.  And that just scares me.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. ;(
    it sounded so good too!! hey, on the tongue-in-cheek bright side, if we come up with the same message as the company that just spent millions on a state of the art marketing team to come up with the same stuff who probably had consultants, ran focus groups and had strategy sessions… think of all the money we saved!!
    jokes aside, i would argue that proof is in the taste of the pudding, we are condemned by the attitude and condition of our hearts. if you think about it, most of the world strives to sound like starbucks. the question is, who actually lives that out? i’d like to think that we’re doing a better job of being a light of the local neighborhood than a coffee shop.
    susan often describes coffee as her ‘comfort food’. i sometimes think of church that way, it’s comfort food for the soul.

  2. That is a scary ironic find. But I think it was probably inevitable. We the emergent church people want to persue certain values inpart because the sins of our fathers have become evident to us. There is a cultural shift where the culture values diversity in a way they haven’t and globalization is fast becoming a way of life. I don’t think it is an understatement to say that any organization that wants to be relevant in the world will start saying certain things. i.e. Everybody talks about community because we don’t have much of it (it is a felt need).With Starbucks, they need to speak this language to keep their wide appeal. I mean, everybody knows starbucks is the evil corporate enemy (which you can count on for strong hot coffee). By adapting the diversity affirming communal language, they are trying to keep people from seeing their evil self. I wonder how much of the same talk the church has adapted is for the same reasons. How different are we living, or are we false advertising when we speak of things like unity, diversity, community, justice, mercy. Even if we can say we embody those types of traits, do we embody them because we are part of God’s kingdom or because we have an eye on the times?

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