There are enough issues in our modern culture for Christians to be up in arms about ... decisions by the Supreme Court that say gay marriage is Constitutional; the adoption of abortion as a "women's rights" issue; the scandalous evidence that fetal body parts are sold as "flavor enhancers"; our foreign policy that seems designed to put Israel in harm's way, while ignoring the plight of innocent Christians and people of other faiths around the world ... just to name a few. These are all matters that offend Christians who seek to live their lives according to God's will as expressed in the Bible.
How many of us agree with Kim Davis's opinion that the Supreme Court cannot make law for the individual states, and her beliefs that gay marriage does not coincide with God's law? Yet how many of us would be willing to take the stand she did; to make ourselves a target of the culture by not yielding our Biblical position? Whether you agree with the way she conducted herself or not, I don't think there is any doubt that she did what she did out of her strong desire to be obedient to God. Sadly, I think there are far too few Kim Davises among the Body of Christ.
So, today, I am going to vent about an issue that has been speaking to my heart. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, has a history of slamming Christians and their beliefs. He has been vocal about not desiring their business, and he did it again at the latest annual Starbucks shareholders meeting. Although Schultz will loudly proclaim that his company "embraces diversity of all kinds", that apparently doesn't extend to Christians. During the meeting, Tom Strobhar, founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center and a Starbucks shareholder, pointed out that when Starbucks backed gay marriage in Washington State, traditional marriage supporters boycotted the coffee store and sales venues dropped. When Strobhar mentioned these facts, Schultz responded by telling him to sell his shares and invest in another company, saying "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you."
Basically Mr. Schultz told Mr. Strobhar that he is intolerant of anyone who supports traditional marriage over gay marriage, and he doesn't really care for our business. So, where's your tolerance of diversity now, Mr. Schultz?
But my concern is not only about Schultz's narrow-minded and biased opinion of Christians. He has certainly made his viewpoint well-known over the last few years; and here we have another incidence of where he stands. It's his company, and he's right -- it's a free country -- he's allowed to express his opinions, as he is raking in millions of our dollars. And that is where I have to take a stand.
While I hear Christians lamenting over the various anti-Christian statements that Mr. Schultz has made throughout the years, I must ask, "But, are we taking a stand"? It was interesting to read the comments that appeared after a short article relaying the Starbucks CEO's stance. Some pointed out how hypocritical Schultz is and how disconnected he is to his market. They pointed out that gay people are only a small percentage of the American population, and an even smaller percentage of his customers, therefore he shouldn't be insulting others who do not agree with his position. But why would he change it? He is able to openly and loudly express his disdain for Christians while we continue to make him rich.
So, don't you think we should be taking a good hard look at ourselves in the mirror? We profess to be followers of Christ; to be striving to live upright and moral lives that do not dishonor or discredit our Lord's message. Yes, none of us will ever be able to meet the perfect standard that He has set, but have we become lax in our efforts? Have we examined ourselves to see if our actions correspond to our rhetoric?
For instance, it's not only about Schultz's disparagement of Christians regarding their traditional marriage values, it's also been all over the news that the popular Starbucks brand of bottled frappuccinos are among the products that use fetal body parts as "natural flavors" or "flavor enhancers". While many Christians have decided to avoid these tasty drinks out of their obedience to God, they will succumb to the temptation and drink another beverage that they've bought at their local Starbucks because it is not the particular offending product mentioned.
I will admit that this issue may seem small and irrelevant in the face of other serious issues that we Christians face. But it is just one area that I find is so easy on which to compromise. And I will also admit that I have enjoyed an occasional Starbucks drink in the past. But for me, I find that I have become particularly convicted about this topic, and I have taken a moral stand.
In full disclosure, I have failed many times in my attempts to live a righteous life. But, for me personally, as a Christian, I find this company complicit in the immoral practice of buying fetal parts. So how can I cherry pick which of their products God might find acceptable?
Let me be clear. I would never advocate a boycott. Each person must search his/her heart to know what action is pleasing to God. I also know that there are some Christians who may not feel the same as I do about this matter... maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about other areas in our culture that you cannot support. Perhaps you are convicted about your manner of dress, or of the entertainment you watch, or the books you read, or how you respect your husband or your parents.
We will not all be perfectly righteous in every area of our lives; although I do think it is incumbent upon us to try. But whatever area is particularly sensitive to your heart, be consistent. Do not try to make a deal with the world, or soothe your conscience by meeting the culture in the middle, or making a modification or concession regarding your faith. We are all guilty of it; myself included. There are those who will say that Kim Davis went too far in defending her faith ... but aren't we all called to do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved? She didn't back down in the face of ridicule, or by reason of convenience or compromise. Whether the issues are great or small, I think God wants to see us responding in a way that glorifies Him. It is time to face yourself in the mirror. Jesus is coming!
James 4:17 "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."