Thursday, December 27, 2007

God and Starbucks Part 1

Let me start by telling you two things…I am a manager for Starbucks and I am pastor of a local church. So I have an insiders perspective on both. My last 2+ years working for Starbucks has taught me a lot that has helped shaped some of my views of the church. I want to share a few things I’ve learned about both on this journey.

LEARNING #1- Why Starbucks drinks are expensive and why that’s a good thing.

James told us that our responsibility is to take care of widows and orphans. He considered this “true religion” (James 1:27) Starbucks is doing a better job of taking care of people than many churches are. What do I mean by this? Starbucks offers affordable health care to even it’s part time employees. If you work 20 hours a week, you are allowed to have full health, dental, vision, all that. And they give you stock options, tuition reimbursements and other goodies. Starbucks is the first company in the country to do this. It really is incredible and I can’t say enough good about it. My family of 5 is fully covered and it costs me less than $300 out of pocket a month. Try to find that deal out there anywhere…(you won’t!) And here’s the strange part about the system. Starbucks just uses an HMO to manage our health care plan. The actual costs of our health care (hospital stays, exams, etc) are paid for by Starbucks corporate. Starbucks actually spends more on health care than they do on coffee beans.

Churches should think about this for a while. Historically churches have taken care of the sick, before there was medicare, social programs, HMO’s and all that. Christians used to put their faith in practice by helping the sick and poor. Now we let the government do that. And since the government doesn’t do a great job of this either, Starbucks is jumping in to help out. Now there are exceptions to this in the church world and I have been privileged to know and work in a few of those churches. But by and large, we probably not doing enough to help the widows and orphans out there, (or those without affordable health care).

Think about this the next time you drop $3.75 for a grande mocha at Starbucks. Sure there is about a 700% mark up on that drink. But that mark up paid for my baby’s bilirubin treatments when he was first born. Drink up! My family needs it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our small group

Sunday night our small group had a Christmas party. We talked about our hopes and dreams for the coming year. The gang in this group want to be a part of our new church. It's so exciting to dream about the Area 10 Faith Community and bounce the ideas off of these people. I can look around the room and see leaders for our future church. It's just so cool to see the body of Christ doing it's thing. Everyone is unique and has something to offer.

When you dream of a church, you imagine the people but in your dream they don't have faces...they are starting to have faces now and I like them. (thank God)

I'm praising God for being great and surrounding me with great people.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

State Capitals

I am purposely going to rarely post about my kids on this particular blog, but this is just too cool. My 4 year old knows all his state capitals. I mean all of them! I asked him what the capital of Missouri is tonight and he said Jefferson City. That's pretty sweet I gotta say. Most adults don't know this...Admit didn't know the capital of're probably looking that up on Wikipedia right now.

This parenting thing is cool. I don't have an xbox 360. I don't need one. I have a 4 year old. They are way more entertaining.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Loving our fair city

I spent a day last week up at Richmond Hill- which is a spiritual retreat center in Church Hill with an unbelievable view overlooking the city. I was able to spend about 3 hours in the Cupula which is a tiny room on top of the building with lots of windows that overlook the city. It was a great place to read and pray. While reading up there I came across one of my favorite sections of Chesterton's Orthodoxy. I have changed the city word here to Richmond. This is how it read to me...Check it out:

“It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Richmond: in that case he will merely cut his throat and move to (Chelsea). Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Richmond, for then it will remain Richmond, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Richmond: to love it with a trascendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Richmond, then Richmond would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Richmond would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved...Go back to the darkest roots of civilization and you will find them knotted around some sacred stone or encircling some sacred well. People first paid honor to a spot and afterwards gained glory for it. Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”

For me, I need to see Richmond this way. I hope all of us love our cities with that kind of transcendental love.