Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
There was a time when Starbucks was my hangout. This was usually the case on a Friday night when my daughter had her girlfriends over for a sleepover. It was drinking coffee and working on my computer surrounded by strangers. What fun! But now, with six feet of social distancing and the need for a mask, Starbucks may be going the way of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Steve LeVine, in his article “The Uncertain Future of Post-Pandemic Starbucks,” shares the success and possible downfall of America’s favorite coffee boutique. LeVine shares, “By last January, if you had invested $10,000 in Starbucks stock at its nadir in December 2008, it would have been worth $236,290.” Uffdah! Since the January peak, it is down by more than 20% with no end in sight. LeVine continues, “Even when restaurants reopen in the U.S. and elsewhere, they predict that coffee sales will return to pre-Covid levels only by 2024.”
How we receive our consumer goods is continually changing. I miss the ma and pop clothing store we used to go visit downtown in order to buy school clothes. Malls ruined the downtown stores. Now, shopping malls are in decline, and were even before COVID-19. Coffee used to be something you ordered at a sit-down café that served breakfast. Until now, coffee was a separate store where you went even when you didn’t care about breakfast. Coffee, like clothing stores will continue to evolve.
So too, will the Christian faith evolve. Thank God the Christian faith is no longer like it was in the Dark Ages, or in 1600’s Salem, Massachusetts. Our faith should no longer be treated like purchasing coffee. Just because it is no longer in vogue doesn’t mean it should be given up. The Christian faith should continue to evolve, but should not be denied. Churches may transform their ethical and even theological understandings, but the commitment to our Triune God must not be denied as if we are choosing Dillard’s over Sears, or Caribou over Starbucks. Pray others will not turn the Christian faith into Starbucks, but will recognize that while some change is inevitable, the commitment to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should not be an option, but “the way, the truth, and the life.”