Welcome to another coffee-conversation of “What’s Brewing at St. Arbucks? We encourage you to find your “St. Arbucks” in your neighbor and gather regularly with folks to pray, study, share, laugh and support one another in love. We just heard from some friends who say they prefer meeting at Panera’s because their cinnamon rolls are much better! Remember, cozy and creative communications can happen anywhere cozy and creative people meet. That reminds me of a T-shirt my daughter gave me for a birthday present that reads, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks!” Of course, it’s printed by Dunkin’ Donuts!
Our conversations got a little more heated and “political” as we started asking ourselves “What is the role of a person of God in the current struggles and battles in our government today around civility, truth, “fake news”, leadership styles, and the role of the Church in all of this? One person mentioned his grandson who said he was confused because he was chastised by his teacher the other day by saying some of the same words that he heard the President of the United States say on TV! On a more personal level, how is it that some of my really good friends have some strong views than I personally oppose regarding the current political battles in the U.S.? Whose “side” is right? Why do we even have “sides” to defend, both in our own government as well as in our own church bodies?
A good friend and I had an intriguing conversation around how various people respond to the current political battles around us. There are basically three ways in which we respond to conflicting situations: We can FIGHT, we can FLEE, or we can FREEZE. We FIGHT by trying to prove we are “right”. We speak out, we argue, we make our case, if only the “others” would see things the “right” way. We FLEE by running away from the “issues” that face us. We convince ourselves that it’s someone else’s job to “fix” things. So we go along , thinking our voice does not count, our vote does not count, and we may even think that it is time to flee to Greenland (If the U.S. hasn’t bought it yet!). We FREEZE, like the little bunny in our yard that sees a big animal approaching but hopes that he won’t be seen. We FREEZE by not doing anything at all, except to keep our opinions to ourselves, turn off the evening news, and somehow try to convince ourselves that “everything will work out okay”.
Our St. Arbucks’ discussion focused on one more word …and that word is FAITH! What does our faith have to say to how we respond to the world’s situations? What is Jesus saying to us as He walked the land sharing and proclaiming unconditional love, loving those who hated him, serving those of all races and gender? When Jesus said “Love Thy Neighbor” did He really mean that we should not hurt or harm our neighbor? Where does our FAITH show up in our political discussions, both in our congregations as well as in our daily lives? One of our coffee-klatch persons closed off our discussion with these words, by Henri Nouwen: “For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women, and men to be loved.”
And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this month! Thanks for joining us!