‘To drink coffee, or not to drink coffee?’

 In Blog, Daniel Cavanaugh

Is this the question?

Actually, the issue is deeper than coffee. For the believer, we are dealing with a gospel engagement issue in the most recent wake of controversy over Starbucks long held view and support of same-sex marriage.

 

First of all, I want to preface before my remarks by saying that if you have chosen for conscience sake not to support Starbucks, then I condemn you in no way. God’s word tells us that anything that is not done in faith is sin [Romans 14:23]. So, if you in good faith cannot support Starbucks please don’t. Do not violate your conscience.

 

However, I would like to challenge leaders and the average laymen with what it means to engage our culture with the gospel and whether or not boycotting Starbucks or any other corporation will accomplish that mission. Let’s take a step back, breath a minute, clear our mind of all social media bantering, and look at the whole picture.

 

The whole picture

For the 21-century believer living in Western American culture, he or she finds they are surrounded in a postmodern world. No longer is our society permeated or influenced by Judeo-Christian values. It has been replaced by a more evident and stronger humanistic way of thinking. The value system that once motivated the average citizen – Christian or not – is all but gone. We are left with a faded photograph stored in an attic that we nostalgically remember and hope will return. For the first time, the American believer finds himself understanding what it must have been like for Paul to minister in Rome or Corinth; or Jesus and His disciples who had to pay taxes to Caesar – using the money for nothing but evil.  Anyone who is a student of accent history knows the level of debauchery that Rome and Corinth had reached in regards to perversion. It ran rampant in the streets. One could not walk down the road without being visually assaulted by it. You could make an argument that we have reached that level here in America.

 

Why do I reference the culture of the first century believers or Jesus himself? I do it to remind us that we are not the first ones to engage the gospel in a culture that is anti-Christian. Sure, we are not being killed for it, but we are verbally persecuted everyday by the media and those who push their agenda. And yet, I ask: do we engage as the first century believers did? Jesus told his disciples to pay taxes to an evil emperor who used their money for anything but good [Matthew 22:1-22]. Paul told slaves to be faithful servants to their earthly masters [Ephesians 6:5-8]. Do not misunderstand me. There are definite times when we should obey God rather than Caesar.  But is this the ground that we want to die on? Is removing ourselves from all engagement from an area a good idea?

 

Gospel Compels…

I believe the gospel compels us in a different direction than we might think. I don’t know why, but Christians often seem to have a knee jerk reaction to things. Instead of responding, we react. Instead of engaging, we hypercritically ostracize those around us. Instead of addressing the issue biblically, we basically say, “I don’t like you anymore”. Do not be fooled. The message of the gospel will be divisive by its very nature.  But must we unnecessarily turn people off from the gospel? In EVERY place, preach forgiveness that is found at the foot of the cross. Show people their sins in light of the word of God. Compel them to repent and turn in faith to Christ. Oh, and remember: only grace differentiates you from the guy next to you.

 

So what should we do?

Lets make our daily/weekly stop at our local Starbucks, grab a cup of coffee, say hi to our favorite gay barista, strike up a conversation, and who knows; maybe you will have the chance to talk about the gospel. You may be the one God will use to bring the Starbucks culture to Christ. If all the Christians stop working or going into Starbucks, who will reach that avenue of culture with the gospel? If we remove our influence from every place that supports or promotes a gay agenda, we remove the light of the gospel in that corner. In addition, we cease to have a platform from which to engage the issue of homosexuality. Furthermore, what happens when all organizations except the church or Christian businesses – which may find it impossible to operate legally – herald loudly their support and throw their money liberally to the homosexual cause? Will we just close ourselves up into our houses and cease to engage with the gospel?

 

Jesus commanded His disciples to GO into the ENTIRE world. We are not to be of the world, but we are most certainly to be IN the world.  So the question is not ‘to drink coffee or not to drink coffee’ but rather ‘to engage with the gospel or not to engage with the gospel’?

 

Daniel Cavanaugh

 

For more on this issue, I encourage you to read the following article by Dr. Russell Moore: ‘Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?

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Showing 6 comments
  • Mike Fendrich

    well said Daniel – only grace differentiates – thanks

  • Daniel Cavanaugh

    Thanks Mr. Fendrich. I appreciate the kind words. When it comes down to it, its all about the gospel and the grace of God and are we compelled to respond in the light of a proper understanding of it. I pray that the gospel becomes clearer and clearer in the eyes of believers and non alike.

  • Deborah Watkins

    Dear Daniel Cavanaugh, I appreciate your editorial as well as your passion for the lost. I agree that we should pour into relationships that we have begun. Love them with God’s grace. Don’t abandon them. I also see that Jesus calls me to be a good steward of my finances. You know the sayings… “follow the money” or “money talks”. Do you know that for $2.00 you can help an organization like http://www.bridgingthegapbygiving.org bring clean water to one person for a year? Or that for $35.00 you can bring water to one person for a life time? Would that help you give up a Starbucks or two? I’m not saying don’t drink coffee. I am urging you to see the greater use for your dollars. Especially if in conflict with the call of God to “come out from among them”. I speak, granted in a small voice, by withholding my money that leads to the build up of companies that now have the clout to say whatever they like. Why can’t they just sell good coffee?
    Why do they have to make this sin the issue of their company? We, as Christians, should be about ministry, but are there not plenty of other coffee houses with unbelievers running them that do not hold out an agenda of sodomy, that we can frequent and bring the light of Jesus? Why on this very Holy Day are we talking about to coffee or not to coffee when Jesus went the to cross for us all? Brew your coffee at home and take a cup to the homeless in your city plaza. You will find plenty of listening ears to hear the Good News of Jesus. You might even make a new friend. In appreciation for your forum.

  • Daniel Cavanaugh

    Deborah,

    I really do appreciate your feedback. I love hearing from other people in the body of Christ. It challenges me to think deeper and go back to word more. I totally agree with you about how we use our money. Not going to lie, we waste our money on a lot of things when it could be use to further the cause of the gospel. The clean water project looks awesome. I will take a look at that for sure.

    In regards to Starbucks coffee, I rarely even go there. One, because it is expensive and hard on my budget, and two I am not close to one. It ends up being more of a treat for me than anything. I mostly brew my coffee at home. I don’t even consider Starbucks the best when it comes to coffee.

    Maybe I should clarify myself on what I am trying to communicate. The issue is not about coffee or being able to continue to go to Starbucks. The issue is what does the gospel compel us to do? If we are going to remove our money from Starbucks based on the corps proclamation that they support gays unions, then we are going to have to remove it from a lot of places – maybe everywhere in the near future. For example: Most Christians, in some way or another, watch movies that come from Hollywood. You may not go to the theater, but most buy the movie they like on DVD. We all know that Hollywood loudly support gay unions. I am not saying don’t go to the movies or buy the movie. I am saying if we are going to boycott because of this issue, we need to be consistent.

    I could be wrong, but upon reading the scriptures multiple times through, I don’t see any biblical precedent for boycotting. What I do see is the great commission commanding us to take the gospel to the entire world. To the homeless, to Hollywood, to Africa, and maybe even Starbucks…It will be different for each one of us. But we must GO. For me, it’s not Starbucks but other arenas. All I want to do is challenge the church of God with the gospel and the need to engage the culture with it. Live it before them. Show Christ before them. Most of the time our boycotting ends up being a fist fight over who is right and who is wrong. We know what is right. Marriage is defined by God; not man. Let’s stand up for that, define it as the church, and engage with the gospel. Let’s build relationships with the gay community – without compromising what we believe – and share the gospel. I hope and pray we do not communicate pride in our attempts to stand up for what is right. I know that I have been guilty of that.
    However, as I have always said, if your conscience will not allow you to support any place that promotes the gay agenda, then don’t do it. Do not buy “meat offered to idols” if your conscience will be violated.
    I just want people to consider that there may come a day where you will be unable to go anywhere and support anything because of this issue. And if that happens, then what do we do with the commission to engage the gospel with the entire world? Can we in good conscience remove ourselves from society completely? Can we afford to remove the engagement of the gospel from culture completely when that day comes?

    Respectfully & serving with you,

    Daniel

  • Drew F.

    Loved the “So what should we do?” Practical application.

    When I think of boycotting Starbucks (or movies, other aspects of culture, etc.), I’m reminded of Matt. 5:15. I don’t ever want to put my light under a basket.

  • Daniel Cavanaugh

    Amen Drew!

    Thanks for giving your feedback. Always like to hear from other whether it is pro or con.

    Daniel

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