The following is a post from our dear friend and former pastor Larry Blair. Larry and his wife, Dawn, are currently serving as missionaries overseas. Contact us to find out more about how you can pray for and support the Blairs.
“I’ll have a triple venti nonfat upside-down Caramel Macchiato with sugar-free vanilla, at 180◦”. Within these words of a typical order at any Starbucks coffee shop you can learn a great deal about the world in which we live. There is perhaps no more relevant or revealing symbol of today’s culture than Starbucks. It is not the incredible popularity of Starbucks that makes it relevant; it is the fact that Starbucks offers exactly what the postmodern culture of the Western world is seeking. In other words, if you want to see the face of our culture, or to know its passions and pursuits, you need not look much further than your local Starbucks. The very symbol of Starbucks is the Siren, that mythical beauty of Homer’s Odyssey who lured sailors to their death with her song of enchantment. So too, does Starbucks entice us with promises of more than just a $4.00 cup of coffee.
One of the clever marketing tools of Starbucks is their “The Way I See It” campaign. These are the sayings or philosophies of various contributors that are found on each cup of coffee they sell. Postmodern philosophy and the most current politically correct crusade pervade these little “nuggets” of humanistic thought. But as a pastor, and all who desire to share Jesus with others, this is the culture we must learn to engage. We are expected to communicate Christ in a relevant and effective fashion. Paul introduced the God of Creation to the Greek philosophers in Athens by talking philosophy with them (Acts 17); in the same way, you and I can use the lonely, empty path of humanism to share the hope we have in Christ Jesus to those we encounter. We can contrast the incomplete and insufficient call for human charity with the full and perfect agapè love of God.
The philosophies of man and the pursuit of gods of our own making have been with mankind since Adam and Eve; but God has been about the business of redeeming a people of His choosing from among the all the world’s amateur philosophers and idol-makers. He has redeemed you and me, and now He calls us to love others, proclaim the gospel, and live out our faith in this world. Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 6:2— Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. The gospel message is urgent; and it is relevant. Let’s be anxious, loving, and always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you. Just read the message of a Starbucks cup and compare it to the hope of the gospel. Then share the good news with others— maybe over a cup of coffee.