Dear brothers and sisters at American Family Association,
Thanks for taking the time to share your dissatisfaction with Starbucks’ position on diversity when it comes to same sex marriage. It’s clear you care about marriage, and I believe you want to see families and communities thrive.
That said, I respectfully disagree with your insistence on a boycott of Starbucks. Maybe they don’t have all their theology perfect about marriage. Then again, can you blame them? They’re not a church. But despite that, they do seem to daily live out a few things that look a lot like what the Bible says God requires of us.
They are using their resources globally to provide fair and sustainable livelihoods for the people who grow their coffee beans. They insist that every store take responsibility to be a good neighbor in tangible ways to its unique community. They are committed to making each of their shops a haven, a safe place to slow down and belong. They treat everyone who walks through the door with respect and kindness. They insist that coffee is only a means to their real business – human connection. And even in their position toward dissatisfied shareholders, they show that human relationships are more important to them than financial profit.
In the first century, Christianity began to flourish, according to some scholars, because it offered radical hospitality along with the simple gospel. This phenomenon caught the eye of one Roman emperor who urged his governors to study and emulate the hospitality of the Christian communities in their midst so Rome, too, might thrive.
What happened to us?
Brothers and sisters, if we are truly committed to the well-being and restoration of the broken people God loves, we could do far worse than to befriend Starbucks and humbly seek to learn from them. The truth is, we are broken too, and there are many things God can teach us through this coffee company. Maybe, down the road a ways, they’d become genuinely interested in asking us to share a few things we believe. Maybe we could have an impact on them. But even if that never happened, we just might be better followers of Jesus for showing them the same hospitality they show everybody else.