Musings on Christian Themes
Starbucks and Saddleback
by C. Matthew McMahon
Starbucks has become a household name. I can’t imagine living in a city where, at least on every other corner, there was one of these coffee moguls to treat and tantalize the taste buds. Millions of people are Starbucks addicts. It’s one of the high points of their day. A Venti, iced coffee with sugar free hazelnut, half and half and a Splenda. Zero calories, zero sugar, that way they continue to remain weight conscious while indulging their coffee desires.
What is Starbucks all about? On their website they say, “Starbucks purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them along with fresh, rich-brewed, Italian style espresso beverages, a variety of pastries and confections, and coffee-related accessories and equipment.”
What makes them so popular? Good coffee? Yes. But a market on Capitalistic ecumenicalism. They say, and I quote, “Embracing our differences: Aside from extraordinary coffee, Starbucks has made a business out of: human connections, community involvement, and the celebration of cultures. And so, it’s only natural that as a guiding principle, diversity is integral to everything we do. The word “diversity” means many things to different people. We see diversity as “all the ways we differ and are the same.”” I will not point out their oxymoron, its plain enough. But pause a moment.
Enter, Saddleback. The mega church movement’s purpose driven guru Rick Warren submits a snippet to Starbucks from his book, “The Purpose Driven Life” for the side of their coffee cups. Starbucks publishes quotes as fortune-cookie-like sayings for the sides of their coffee cups, so that coffee-drinkers are not bored while tasting their specialty brews. Starbucks accepts Warren’s quote, and prints it. These cups represent the mildest of quotes, to the most anti-Christian of quotes. They house liberalism of the worse kind, which is in essence, railing against God.
Amidst the Tony Bennett music, and smell of cappuccino, a voice could be heard saying, “Look, they’ve put Rick Warren on the cup!”
One member of his church, after finding out that Warren was now a Starbucks celebrity, is quoted as saying, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my years at Saddleback, it’s that Rick Warren is a pretty smart guy.” For the thinking Christian, it gets worse. Saddleback’s site states, “In honor of the new Starbucks cup featuring the quote from Warren, Purpose Driven Ministries has launched a new online “coffeehouse” community called “The Purpose Driven Cafe.” This Café, in addition to information about the new Starbucks quote, addresses common questions about Christianity, and offers features such as book reviews and a daily, “On Purpose” column.” Yes, Rick Warren is a very smart marketing guru and CEO.
However, the Scriptures oppose Mr. Warren. Luke 6:22, “Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.” John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”
Christ tells His people that in this world they shall face tribulation for His sake. The Gospel is offensive to the natural man. The depraved mind detests the Words of Christ. The world system sits is complete opposition to the Word of God and the Gospel. The World hates the Gospel if the Gospel is presented as Christ presented it. The Apostle John stated in 1 John 3:1, “Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
Starbucks accepted Warren’s Gospel snippet. They printed it on their coffee cups. One must wonder, then, what Gospel Warren is purporting to have a liberal world conglomerate accept his version of Christianity, and even market it. Not only this, but Saddleback has set itself in line with Starbucks, with an, “online coffee community”. They have becomes pals. Starbucks says on their site, “Just as critical to our success as a global company is the idea of inclusion, defined as a combination of differences and similarities in the pursuit of new ideas and individual relationships made everyday.”
Saddleback and Starbucks are inclusivistic bedfellows. Christ, on the other hand, drove out the money changers in the temple. He did not set up a booth next to them. He did not become their “spiritual buddy.” Christ says in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” The saints will always be persecuted for the message of the true Gospel they send out into the world. The Gospel of a crucified Savior is always offensive. The world, including Starbucks, will hate the Gospel if they are listening, and it is truly the Gospel. For those who water down, change, and accommodate a different Gospel so that the world will not hate it, but accept it, well, their reward is in this life, as with the Pharisees. Their reward is a quote on a coffee cup.