Key Word:- OBEY
Title:- Storming Starbucks
Isaiah 55:1 Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money without price.
A long time ago, when I was a mere trainee, several hundred feet underneath the ‘oggin’ I did not have my own bed! It was either an hammock strung adjacent to a couple of intercontinental ballistic missile tubes or I ‘hot bunked' it, climbing into whatever ‘pit’ was available after the previous occupant had left it warm and invariably smelly, to take up his duties elsewhere on that long black sewer pipe of a submarine.
Later, my time in the corporate world saw the same idea ride on the back of downsizing. If you once had an office, it was gone! If you had a desk and God forbid your own drawers, they too had been plundered and pulled down to the depths of rampant restructure. A person should never be without their drawers! Instead, a company laptop, a large hard drive and abundant connectivity meant that when you arrived in the office, wherever it was, you found the first vacant desk, sat down, plugged in, pulled up your virtual drawers to gain at least the similitude of respectability and got on with it. Hot desking is as much fun as hot bunking! For a long time now though, my 2nd Office has been a bakery and coffee shop, offering comfortable seats, abundant and free liquid refills and most importantly, free WIFI. In other words, I now have an office in the public market place.
Interestingly, once people begin to see you there amongst them on a regular basis, working away, pounding the keys before the portable plasma playground, they become intrigued at what you are doing. “Where did you get your laptop?” “Can you help me get connected?” “What are you doing?” “You’re a minister? Really? Where? Why? What do you think about this?” “ Why does God? Why doesn’t God?” and so on and so forth. It’s amazing really. To put it in fishing terms, it’s like having the fish swim right up to the boat and ask “hey what are you doing with that hook?”
I wonder if we need to get the ministers of the gospel, off campus and into the coffee shops. Imagine that. Our tendency has been to pull everything ‘on campus.’ Day care, dining, counselling, publishing, marketing, teaching, gathering, indeed you name it! Yes, instead of going into the world, we have endeavored to create a pleasant and plastic utopia and bring the world into it, all safe and seemingly sanitized. Problem is, they rarely come into this culturally strange Christian world and when they do they find it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and they prefer the reality of jagged metal to plied on and dried on, fantastic plastic smiles.
Meanwhile places like Starbucks are selling more than chic coffee; they are selling an ambiance, a memory, a dream, a community, a safe gathering place of mutually minded people and maybe, in just ten years or so, they have achieved more in their own great commission, of building a global empire on the back of people’s personal relationships, than the church has been able to do in that same period and that on the back of more than 2000 years of practice! I know it’s a case of comparing apples and oranges but never the less it’s a bit embarrassing don’t you think?
Christian friend, set fire to your pew like mentality today, remove those rattling shackles of religious restraint and stride out into the market place of religion shouting out the beckoning invitation of our Lord Jesus. The church needs to get itself off campus and back rooted in the community, fully integrating itself into the existing networks of connectivity and communication, that are now sick of ‘mocking crapachino’ and longing for bright and bubbly multi-colored, fragrantly fascinating and sparklingly faceted, truth. We’ve got the goods! We’ve got the market place! So let’s go and do some business!
Listen:- For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring; They will spring up among the grass Like willows by the watercourses.' One will say, 'I am the LORD's. Another will call himself by the name of Jacob; Another will write with his hand, 'The LORD's,' And name himself by the name of Israel. Isaiah 44:3-5
Pray:- Lord, put your Logo, your Brand name upon my coffee cup, my brown paper bag and my bared arm. Lord, be my tempting tattoo, my market cry; be my splendid and my ‘Mr Magnificent’ in the milling market place of lost souls. Lord come and burn my campus down. Amen.