I am a Starbucks girl, and have been for many years. In high school, I was all about the mocha frappucino, which didn’t taste very much like coffee and plus, you know, whipped cream. In college and grad school, I wanted the biggest medium roast I could get my hands on, and more often than not I drank it black. Now, I tend more toward the vanilla latte when it’s cold, unless it’s Autumn because then I’m drinking a pumpkin spice latte, because it tastes like nutmeg and, you know, whipped cream. And I’m pretty convinced that there’s not much that can’t be righted in this world by a venti breve iced coffee, regardless of the season.
And more afternoons than not these days, you can find my camped out behind my laptop, head phones in, typing away while sipping on my tall, non-fat vanilla latte or iced coffee.
Last week, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz came out as a proponent of gay marriage, and my Facebook feed blew up with “likes” of organizations wanting to “Dump Starbucks” and condemning Schultz and the coffee company for its public pro- stance. It seems irrelevant to most of those posting these things that Schultz told off a shareholder in a meeting, and wasn’t making a public statement on behalf of Starbucks.
Regardless, we have known for a long time that Starbucks was a proponent of marriage equality laws. Last year, the company supported a bill that would legalize gay marriage in Washington state, where it is headquarted.
For some, this has clearly been a deal breaker. It’s not so much for me, and I’ll tell you why:
Because I’m a Starbucks girl.
Particularly, I’m a Starbucks-at-the-far-end-of-town girl. The one in the center of town is great, but it’s connected to the ONLY bookstore and is always packed with people. The one at the far end of town is quiet, and I have been writing at the table by the front door on the regular for more than a year. And it doesn’t issue the staff that I pull the table away from the wall and move the chairs and settle in for stretches of writing time. Now, one of the regulars, a big guy with a kind smile, will see my car roll into the parking lot and pull out the table and move the chairs for me. And if I sit somewhere else, it throws him off just as much as it throws me off, so I don’t sit somewhere else often. Because we have a rhythm now, this Starbucks and me.
I’ve made friends with the baristas, and when I came back from my two week vacation in January, the one who I love most yelled before I got both feet through the door, “Hey! You’re back! Where’ve you been? We were worried about you!” We have a rhythm now, this Starbucks and me.
And as I write in this moment, one of my favorite baristas just made me a vanilla latte and called me “honey,” exactly as he has done for the last year. Because we have a rhythm now, this Starbucks and me.
I don’t want to disrupt the rhythm.
Because this town is my community, and I’m meeting people and making friends who aren’t church people. Because this coffee shop has become my workspace, and I’m pulling out my Bible while I write and I’m laughing with the baristas when they mop around my feet. And we talk about our weekends, and their favorite customers, and my book. And I’m praying for them when I’m not at my table.
And this Jesus-honoring rhythm matters more than the company’s policies about gay marriage or anything else.
This Jesus-honoring rhythm is the whole point.