March 1, 2011


My daughter is an employee of Starbucks. I came to the realization that Starbucks was taking over the world three years ago when I was in Washington D.C. I walked out of a Starbucks, looked across the street and guessed it...a Starbucks!

One thing I've learned about Starbucks is that they have their own language. I call it "Starbuckese." They use the terms Tall (English for, well you probably can figure this out on your own), Grande (Spanish for really big), and Venti (Italian for 20...which is coincidentally the number of ounces of this drink). Don't ask me why they mix their languages in their insider code, because I don't know...I just guess they have their reasons.

However, I didn't really know how indepth the lingo was until I happened to visit Starbucks with my daughter, "O." We walked into the store, and she boldly steps right up to the counter, gets the attention of the barista (another fancy word, meaning "coffee fetcher"), and says..."I'll have a latte...tall, double non-fat, extra foam, extra hot, half-caf, with a half pump of chocolate." The barista began writing the "insider code" for all of these instructions on the side of O's paper cup. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if she knew how to do this, since some of the hieroglyphics included a question mark and an image resembling a rather obscene gesture.

Be that as it may, it was obvious that my little girl had acquired the all-important keys to the Starbucks kingdom, simply because she knew the language.

Now comes my turn to order. And, yes, I'm intimidated. I step up an sheepishly say, "I'd like a small cup of coffee, please." After O's order, I expected the barista to be relieved that I had made such a simple request. However, her expression said otherwise... "You ain't a regular around here, are ya' big boy?" I've never felt like more of an outsider...

...I guess I'm writing this because Christians can be guilty of the same thing. We have our words, expressions, and little "inside jokes," that only we understand. We have been around the church and her folks so long that we have developed our own language. Problem is, we sometimes forget that there are people that we are trying to "connect to God and each other" who, not only do not understand our lingo, but feel like outsiders because of it.

This experience made me think about how powerful our expressions can be and how important it is to find a way to tear down any walls that make "seekers" feel like outsiders.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (Colossians 4:5)

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