22 March 2007

The Starbucks Crowd

This morning I decided to head up to the Starbucks in my town and grab a cup of coffee. On the whole I dont like to go there, for one thing I hate their small, medium and large classifications I never use them. Second, they dont want their workers unionized (like Whole Foods). Third, it seems to attract yuppies like gnats to a dog's pecker. Nevertheless, I like their coffee and it provides a morning of laughter.

Yet seeing the folks there in their imported fancy cars, reading their NY Times, ordering factory made treats I have to wonder why it is that folk who tend to lean to the liberal side of social life (read, not on social issues) dont comprise a major segment of religious life? (confession: I would love to drive a Mini, I also subscribe to the Times, and I love the factory made chocolate muffins)

During my almost 5 years here at the church we have taken in some 25 new members and the large majority of them would lean conservative. I wonder how can that be? Dont they know I went to CRDS? Dont they know my ambition to transform the church into a thriving, living, liberal evangelical church? I even went back and read over my sermons from the past few months just to make sure some of my WV baptist upbringing wasnt seeping through my subconscious to my pen.

So what is going on here? I would have to say that conservative folk are more natural to attend church than liberal folk. The church I serve has no outreach budget, hell we dont even have adequate signage stating we are a church. Nevertheless the conservative people keep finding us and joining. (The other day a woman called wanting some answers. So I called her back, first question do you believe in women pastors. We sure do I said. Alright there is no need in going further she said. She didn't come.)

So I wonder what this church would look like if we did some outreach to folk who are a liberalish and dont attend church regularly? I dont know, but i sure would like to find out! I feel that in some ways that is one aspect of my calling, to help figure that out. Prayers, funding, reading materials are appreciated.


Ronster the monster said...

I'm a big fan of unions; my dad has spent 40 years as a unionized grocery worker. But I'm also a fan of how Starbucks treats their employees. My wife worked there a few years. I must say that the non-unionized starbucks job is much better than the unionized grocery job. The grocers in Southern Ca. lost much to the corporation on their last strike. Now, new hires do not get the great health benefits that had been the great perk of the job. The grocery stores claim that they had to cut benefits to compete with Wal-Mart. Meanwhile, at Starbucks, anyone working more than 20 hrs a week gets great healthcare for a minimal charge (I can't remember what we paid, but it was less than $100/month for both of us.). And even same-sex partners can be put on the plan. What is more, starbucks allows its employees to buy company stock at a reduced rate and will match their contributions to stock portfolios. My wife loved working there. And I loved the health benefits as I worked at a small church that couldn't offer us benefits.

Gail said...

Since you enjoy the coffee, too (and like you, I DON'T often enjoy actually sitting in the Starbucks to drink it-- since it's crowded with noisy preteens and the yuppy types you described), you might enjoy one of my secret vices, www.starbucksgossip.com -- fascinating threads of discussion and rant from Starbucks baristas, managers, customers, and naysayers!