Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Conforming Corporations or Transforming Lives

I have a confession to make. Since I finished Divinity School I have become a read-a-holic. This new addiction actually started the summer before my final semester of Divinity School, but since completing the final assignment for school it has taken on a new life. I am not only addicted to reading books, some of which I may blog about in another post. I am addicted to following and reading blogs by many of my favorite authors/bloggers including Rachel Held Evans, Donald Miller, Brene Brown just to name a few. I am also addicted to reading articles that many of my friends are posting on Facebook and Twitter and the comments that are often generated by such articles. Today has been a day full of interesting posts.

Two posts in particular, and the debates they generated, caught my attention. Both centered around one of my favorite places to pull through to get a Grande White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino, you guessed it, Starbucks! The question of the day appears to be, "Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?" and apparently my friends are answering with mixed reviews. Seeing the popularity of this conversation today, I felt compelled to weigh in with my opinion, which I am certain will be met with mixed reviews as well.

I am disturbed by the fact that being right, and believing right has become the most important thing in some Christian circles. I am disturbed by the fact that some Christians feel it is more important to the Kingdom of God to take a political stance, and to make a power play with a company than to reach out and love people. I am disturbed by the fact that we are more concerned with the moral rightness of same-sex marriage than we are with the moral wrongness of childhood sexual and physical abuse. I am concerned because I don't believe any of these things are consistent with Jesus' teachings or the Kingdom of God.

Jesus was never concerned with politics. In fact, when the religious leaders tried to engage him on matters of politics, he replied by saying, "Give to Caeser what is Caeser's and to God what is God's." When the children were brought to him and the disciples tried to send them away, he took them in his arms and blessed them. When he encountered a woman with a questionable past in a land that Jews simply avoided because of prejudice, he offered her love, grace, and life, not condemnation. When Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday the people wanted him to take his rightful place as king and leader, instead he took the place of a criminal and bore the cross, "despising the shame." Many times Christians want to heap that shame on others, shame that says, "You are not good enough, you will never be good enough." The truth is Jesus is the only one who was good enough, and he hung out with those who were constantly excluded from society.

The Christian life is not about making the world, or the government, or major corporations conform to our standards, morals, or beliefs. The Christian life is about transformation of lives of people who God calls us to. Paul says, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable." He goes on to say that if anything that we, as mature believers, do causes a weaker brother or sister to stumble, we should not do it. He also takes this one step further, he says if anything we do causes the gospel to be hindered, we should not do it either. If my attitude towards a particular company causes me to not be able to share Christ with the young college student who has to work there because it is the only job she can find, then it is my attitude that needs adjusting. The Gospel is by definition "Good News" but the goodness can be drowned out by our attitudes and actions as Christ's ambassadors. We are called to be servants of the least of these, not leaders of the privileged. Are we about forcing companies to conform or helping lives be transformed?