Juxtaposition

On my Monday drive to work, I'm listening to NPR as usual and I hear the following.

First, is a short news story from the local station about how Michelle Incanno from Springboro OH is boycotting Starbucks Coffee. Why? Well, I guess Starbucks has been printing little sayings from customers on their cups and Michelle got one where a customer calls God a "figment of our imagination" and that didn't sit right with her. (There's no online story from the NPR affiliate, so here's the story from the Dayton Daily News.)

From the local news to Morning Edition and this story about the Pope's visit to Brazil and his conflict with a Brazilian Catholic movement called Liberation Theology.

Brazil's Catholic clergy is actively, at times defiantly, pursuing the struggle for social justice on behalf of the poor: Catholic bishops stage hunger strikes to halt dam projects that they say put profits of big business above the needs of the people. They broker deals with banks to build housing for the homeless. And priests take to the airwaves to denounce the growing footprint of agro-business that has cut down the rainforest to make way for cattle and much-in-demand soy.

The contrast of this was striking to me.

In America, a woman 'sacrifices' a $3 cup of coffee in the name of God.

In Brazil, Catholic clergy face down governments for the sake of the poor, in the name of God.

Now, in some respects I applaud Michelle's convictions and her taking a stand against a business that she sees as opposed to God. I also don't buy Starbucks' response that the views aren't their own. Sure, a customer submitted it, but Starbucks chose to print it. It's not some rogue employee speaking out of turn, it's a corporate decision with deliberation and forethought. That conscious choice makes it their words too in my book.

I can also see questioning whether it's the church's role to oppose dams and save the rainforest. I'd say, you bet it is, if those actions trample on the voiceless and discarded. Comforting and serving them after the damage is done is less valuable then standing up for them to prevent it.

Regardless, the juxtaposition of the two stories together was interesting.

6 Comments

Her reaction is interesting considering a while back others were boycotting because of Christian quotes. You can't please everyone!

I say boycott Starbucks because their coffee is awful and too darn expensive. To boycott a non-Christian company for doing something... non-Christian is a bit like *insert clever analogy here*. Although it is nice to see someone stand up for their beliefs.
Question is will she do something meaningful with the three bucks a day she was spending on coffee?

I agree that Christians and churches should look out for the poor and weak whether that comes to dams, rain forests as long as it doesn't violate core values.

Read my post on Starbucks and global warming. I'm just saying they are watching us.

Interesting juxtaposition indeed!

Anyone who can afford Fourbucks coffee doesn't have the right to complain about much.

We live in Disney World. And we don't like it when reality disrupts our pleasant illusion. As Adam Savage would say (Mythbusters) "I reject your reality, and substitute my own!"

I'm with Scott, but an occasional caramel machiatto is nice... I think I can make better coffee with just a bag of Community dark roast and any clean Mister Coffee.

"Juxtaposition" is one of Laura's favorite words. That's the real reason I'm responding. :)

Alan: Back when there was an ACES (some day, if you don't already know, I'll tell you how the ACOC is who shut ACES down), an administrator from Johannesburg was kinda our "troubleshooter" - he dragged his wife and two girls around Africa and the Caribbean helping different churches with their accounting and corrected a lot of, ahem, unusual accounting practices. Our erstwhile WSA really wanted him to come live in NY and help with the U.S. churches and his family stayed with us for some extended periods. He, too, said the U.S. was like living "Disney World" and did not want the worldly influence on himself or his children.



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  • I'm with Scott, but an occasional caramel machiatto is nice... I think I can make better coffee with just a bag of Community dark roast and any clean Mister Coffee. "Juxtaposition" is one of Laura's favorite words. That...

  • Interesting juxtaposition indeed! Anyone who can afford Fourbucks coffee doesn't have the right to complain about much. We live in Disney World. And we don't like it when reality disrupts our pleasant illusion. As A...

  • Read my post on Starbucks and global warming. I'm just saying they are watching us....

  • I agree that Christians and churches should look out for the poor and weak whether that comes to dams, rain forests as long as it doesn't violate core values....

  • I say boycott Starbucks because their coffee is awful and too darn expensive. To boycott a non-Christian company for doing something... non-Christian is a bit like *insert clever analogy here*. Although it is nice to s...

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