Starbucks Christianity

Church has adopted a culture of talk, dress, likes, and dislikes.
The Church has developed it’s own culture.

It’s not that hard to spot a pastor in your local Starbucks.
You can tell by the clothes he’s wearing, the coffee he’s drinking, or even the computer on his table.

The Church has become another culture.

You don’t even have to be a Christian to live in this culture.
You can adapt your life enough around the things that a Christian is supposed to like and do enough to fool most people into thinking that you’re a part of the Church culture.
Heck, if you try hard enough, you can convince yourself that because of what you wear, do, and say, and go, it makes you a Christian.

There’s no problem with the culture.

The problem…
When the Church fails to live in the surrounding culture.
When the Church decides to STAY in its own culture.

Christ never called us to develop our own cliques for the purpose of forming more clones of ourselves.
Christ never called us to make following Him about the way we talk or the way we dress.

Christ called us to saturate our surrounding culture with Him.

Remember from your Sunday school lessons the people Jesus hung around with?
It certainly wasn’t only people from His own culture.
It was people from the world that surrounded him…
Prostitutes
Tax collectors
Diseased
Outcasts

Jesus saturated the surrounding culture with Himself.
We’re called to do the same thing.

It’s not the culture that is bad,
It’s refusing to live in the world around us that’s disobedient.

We have to reach out to the world around us.
We can’t expect that simply listening to David Crowder, going to Starbucks, wearing skinny jeans, and writing in our Moleskin is going to make us a follower of Christ or help others become one.

Don’t just be a member of Starbucks Christianity, be a follower of Jesus.
Don’t adopt Christianity as a culture to live in, adopt it as a life to live out.

Your thoughts?

17 Comments

  1. WOW!!! Great article. A lot need to hear that message. I have been struggling with that issue as well. It’s far too easy to say what is culturally excepted. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I think Starbucks is something that has been adopted by Christian culture for some reason. It’s just one of those things we’ve taken hold of. Not sure I totally understand your question though.

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  2. Isn’t it funny how Christians have the tendency to either avoid culture or immerse themselves in it completely. Somewhere we miss the balance and I think that is what you hit on. I think what you describe is the balance. Thanks for the excellent thoughts.

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  3. I was the victim of “Starbucks Christians” all through my 20’s… the “Starbucks Christians” caused me to live that entire part of my life as a loner, and caused me to lose the guy I was supposed to marry. I wanted to walk away from that garbage SO many times, but God kept telling me, “Get back there, I’m not done with you there yet,” so I had to stay. Why, I guess I’ll find out in heaven someday, but if I didn’t know the truth about God, I probably would’ve walked away from Him, too. But I just turned 30 this past December, alone and single, and He finally let me walk away. I’m definitely happy to be done with that crowd, but… honest confession here… feeling like a significant portion of my life was unecessarily miserable, and if not for “Starbucks Christians” taking it upon themselves to decide whether or not I was good enough for a man, unecessarily single. So yeah, this is a pressing issue to me. That’s why I re-tweeted it immediately after I read it.

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  4. I have to say, this piece is AMAZING, because not only is it so very true but it has a great point of view. An i have to say i am a Starbucks fan as well and so are many of my Christian brothers and sisters.
    Awesome

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  5. Sorry to hear that “steel”. Hope this hasn’t effected your opinion of God in anyway. Regardless of how bad of a situation it was, hope you see God’s plan with it all some day. Thanks for reading and being open!

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  6. Thanks “JC”. Love me some Starbucks myself. This post is in no way indicating I have this right… I do the same things… We just need to be better at reaching outside of our Christian clique and accepting people and reaching people where they are.

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  7. I think the issue is that christians tried to be Jesus to the culture or however you said it and moved into where they thought unchristians were hanging out at, coffee shops. Now, starbucks is about as Christians as a church service (let that deep truth settle in with you).

    I am at starbucks all the time working. And you are right, there are a ton of christians there. I really think the reason for this was the boom that starbucks had about 5 years ago and the over-saturated mentality of being in the culture. Instead Christians turned starbucks into another hang out for christians.

    So maybe the problem is that every time christians move into the culture they run away anyone who is not like them.

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  8. Wow! Great point, Kyle. Starbucks isn’t the main point here though. What I’m trying to relay is the fact that Christians aren’t Christians because of where they go or what they wear or do. Christians follow Christ. I also wanted to relay the fact that, if Christians stay in cliques, we’re never gonna reach the world. Great insights on the Starbucks stuff though. Nice having such a blogging expert here. (I mean that :) Thanks Kyle!

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  9. Jonathan,

    I enjoyed this post. I agree that the Church has created a sub-culture that is very distinct and yet very difficult for people outside of that culture to understand or even enter. I agree that Christ sought to saturate his surrounding culture with Himself. Also, I am confident that he lived in a full embrace of the culture around him. Some people might raise an eyebrow here, and disagree with me, saying that Christ taught his followers to “live in the world but not of the world.” And I would agree. Still, it seems to me that Christ lived in a full embrace of his surrounding culture. He embraced it not to live in it, but to redeem and transform it. For example, if Christ had not fully embraced the cross (a cultural symbol of death, execution, and crime) then none of us would have true life. Therefore, followers of Christ must not run away and create a subculture nor should they merely live within a fallen culture. Instead, Christians are called to live in a full embrace of the surrounding culture in an effort to see it redeemed and transformed by Christ.
    Great post. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the dialogue this has started!

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  10. Oh, I thought when you were talking about Starbucks Christianity you meant going in with good intentions, communicating clearly your desires, give up everything to get it, wait incessantly, then in the end you don’t get what you asked for.

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  11. Mel

    Thanks for the words! A place I’ve found myself in the past and that’s where I’d like it to remain in the past! (Although I am typing this at McDonald’s-on my laptop, listening to Chris Tomlin, and drinking iced tea!!) But I do understand it’s not what living life in community is all about! For a busy working mom of three, it is a nice quiet retreat sometimes!

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  12. Hey Jonathan! Thanks for writing this article. Church Culture and Christian Culture has been on my mind for a couple weeks now, and it’s still something I struggle with. I’m just curious to think that there should be some kind of culture of Christians that can be seen where ever you go throughout the world. I’ve talked to different brothers and sisters about it, and it just seems to me there should be something that’s consistent. Outside of starbucks or wearing Jesus T-shirts. So far I know one key element is Christ Jesus and radiating his love, but do you think there should be more?

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