Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I’ll Have a Purpose Driven Latte, Please

This was being discussed on Michele’s yesterday:

Starbucks coffee cups will soon be emblazoned with a religious quotation from Rick Warren, the best-selling author and pastor, which includes the line, "You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense."

Apparently, this has led a number of people to boycott Starbucks, which I agree is pretty stupid. Personally I don’t care what is written on my cup. Of course, I need to add that I don’t buy Starbucks. Nor do I drink coffee *evil grin* I had to give it up, along with black tea, because it gives me horrible migraines… which is truly sad.

I couldn’t, however, help looking at this piece of news from a different angle. Is it just me or is Pastor Warren being just a little bit of a sellout? I’ve been keeping tabs on the Purpose Driven industry for a while now, and Mr. Warren’s marketing methods remind me a lot of Bill Gates. Except it isn’t software that he is marketing… it’s Christianity.

How far can you go with Christian marketing? Does it work? If it attracts a large number of people, but at the same time makes roughly the same number of people recoil in disgust, can we still say it works? How would your friends and family, the society at large, and you personally, feel if any other world religion – Islam, Paganism, Atheism – was being pushed down people’s throats marketed to people in the same manner? If you have a large Christian-marketing industry and profit from it, can you use it to tell people what they must do with their income? (My favorite quote from Pastor Rick goes something like this: “Your retirement account is not important.” Well, duh! Of course our retirement accounts are not important to Mr. Warren, CEO, PDL Inc. His is!)

Yes, I have read the PDL and attended a discussion group. Everyone except me liked the book a lot. I tried to like it too, but eventually gave up. My original rant about the PDL can be found here. Aw, what the hey, I’ll quote it, so you don’t have to wander through an old post.

I’m not sure why I didn’t like the book. Everyone else around me loved it – and that includes people I deeply respect and look up to. When I mentioned it to a woman in our church, she didn’t believe what I was saying, literally – I had to repeat it several times: “I didn’t like the book” – “What, PDL?” – “Yes, PDL” – “You didn’t like it?” – “No, I didn’t”. I sure did feel like an odd person out!

I honestly tried to make myself like the PDL, but I have to break down and confess – no matter how hard I tried, it irritated me to no end! I cannot even put my finger on what irritated me, except of course that the book is written in this dead-serious tone. It takes itself too seriously. And no, jokes like “Christians are like snowflakes, when they get together, they can stop traffic” do not count, because, um, they are not funny. That, and the requirements that we volunteer only in church, donate only to church, be friends only with believers, talk to unbelievers only to convert them… did I miss anything? Oh, and the unexplicable resentment the author seems to have towards secular jobs and retirement funds. What’s that all about? Does he see them as some sort of competition? I don't want to sound disrespectful, but that's exactly how it sounds!

I have never before seen a book that said all the right things - mind you, I agree with 90% of what PDL says, - and said them in such an incredibly annoying, irritating way. At least that’s the way I felt about the book and there’s no way I can get around it.

Your thoughts?

The Goldie has spoken at 8:54 AM

Technorati search

Powered by FeedBurner

Graphic Design by alla_v