The Way I See It # 247

I was sitting in Starbucks enjoying a nice hot venti chi latte while listening to the big brass sounds of jazz. There was people next door at Panera’s I could see out the window eating soup on the patio. The smells of coffee and the time to relax makes the experience well worth the 3.87 I just paid. Plus, for whatever reason, I can connect to their landline for free, which is not normal in most Starbuck coffee shops.

As I sit and experience all that Starbucks has to offer, there is a note on the back of the cup with a title, ‘The Way I see It # 247.” As I read the words that follow, my heart goes out to this man from London, Ontario. He writes:

Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside us for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure. – Bill Scheel

Why do Christians ask God for strength or help when they have never seen Him? Why do people spend time talking to a God they have never met face-to-face? Why do Christians need a crutch in order to sustain human sanity? Is it really a waste of time when the only true and sure answer can be found within oneself? These are questions I can imagine this man debating in his head. Perhaps these are questions those who are not Christians have asked themselves as they shake their heads in disapproval. Are Christians just nuts or is there something real to this God thing that makes prayer and petition to an invisible God worthwhile? How can we even really know?

I am not God nor do I claim to have met God. I am not one of those people who have had some ‘out of body experience’ and met God in heaven and then returned to my body to tell people about it. I am a normal, trying to live my life, making mistakes but growing, pushing forward, Christian who is content in knowing in whom I believe to be God. I know that might not be the ‘most popular answer’ but it is who I am and I make no apologies about it.

It might appear that we are crazy to others. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians says, “The Gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe.” It seems to me that Bill is stating a natural response to a God he neither knows nor believes in. We must recognize the truth of the matter. We cannot expect people to believe that our faith in God is normal because to them it is not. We need to be willing to accept people where they are at and live our faith out in our life so that they might see how God has affected us and transformed us as His children. It is this effect people will see and realize there is something so different in us; they will grow desperate to know what it is we know. Until that point, we must bare in mind that our faith is ridiculous to others because they cannot understand.

Some might say that God is a crutch for the Christian and I would say they are absolutely right. I have no problem telling other people that Jesus is my crutch in this world. He has supported me to a greater extent than anyone else has ever. When I spend time in prayer, giving my heart over to Him, I truly believe God knows my hearts needs, desires, and prayers and answers them according to His will. I find my strength in knowing I was created by a great and powerful God who has accepted me for who I am. It might be ridiculous to say this but it is true.

I know who I am. I know all the mistakes I make everyday. I know the ugliness that is inside of me that very few have ever seen. To think that I can fix my own problems almost makes me laugh. How can someone who is so messed up fix the problems in his own life? I would rather look to someone who is greater than I so that my problems can really be addressed and resolved in the right manner.

My challenge this week is to think of the past and consider how God has met your needs through prayer. If we were to write them out, I am sure we would fill several pages of information we might not have remembered or even considered important. Check out The Way I See It at starbucks and continue the conversations. God bless.


12 Responses to “The Way I See It # 247”

  1. The Way I See It # 230 « I use 1/10 of my brain. How much do you use? Says:

    […] 22nd, 2007 · No Comments When I posted my first response to ‘The Way I See It # 247,’ I was not sure how it was going to be received by my virtual audience.  Looking at my blog […]

  2. Steve Says:

    I am relieved I stumbled onto your blog. I read the exact same ‘The Way I See It” and, as a Christian, was a bit offended.

    Rather than get all worked up, your analysis provided a ‘cooler head’ appreciation for those who do not believe.

    I will pray for Bill Scheel. I will not boycott Starbucks.

    Thank you Tim.


  3. Stacey Says:

    After drinking from the same cup with The Way I See It #247, I did an internet search to see if anyone else had the same experience I did. I found your blog.

    I was truly disappointed in Starbucks, because there are so many people in this world who need God, but are willing to read something like this cup and simply relate to it. This is wrong, because this cup is saying that my belief in God is a “figment” of my imagination.

    I know because if have faith that God is real. I have experienced Him in my life. I worry about the person reading this cup who has not. I pray for each person who reads it and thinks, “Perhaps Mr. Scheel is right. I should just forget about God and try to be the master of my own life.”

    I am not trying to be ugly, but I will NEVER go to Starbucks again.

  4. Kelli Says:

    I would also like to thank you for your refreshingly clearheaded response to this comment. My husband and I went to Starbucks yesterday *on our way to church* and both received cups with comment #247 on them. We were a little offended, and asked for different cups (which they didn’t have). In shock, we left, but went home and poured the coffee into plain cups before heading to church. On the way there, we contemplated what we should have done, or what we should do, as Christians. We discussed the idea that we should have refused the coffee, and the idea that we should contact the manager about the fact that there weren’t any alternative cups available in his store.

    The one idea we should have discussed and (shamefully) did not, was that we should have brought the cups to church with us and put Mr. Scheel on the prayer list. It is so easy to judge others when there is, as the Word tells us, “a log in our own eye.”

    As a believer, I pray that the Lord will give me the ability to love others better and that includes a sincere desire for every person I meet to come to the Lord. I know what He has done for this sinner, and I should pray for those who are still lost. Thank you, Mr. Miekley, for your challenge, and for your loving response to Mr. Scheel’s comment.

  5. charlotte Says:

    Hi. I wanted to share the response I posted on the Starbucks feedback website re: “The Way I See It,” # 247. “I am responding to The Way I See It # 247. In this piece, the author writes, “As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance?” As a person of faith, I would like to offer this perspective. Often times there is no “power to overcome” as one faces a loss or challenge and is “in need of strength or help.” After the death of my oldest son, I was devastated. When I looked inside myself for that power to overcome, there was nothing of the sort. Instead, it was when I looked outside myself that I found healing and hope. My experience with the death of a child strongly contradicts Mr. Scheel’s assertion that each individual is a self-contained biosphere of healing. I further take issue with his point that we are “strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.” This is a particularly offensive assertion to a parent who has lost a child. How did I cause this catastrophe? When one ventures into the territory of calling faith in a higher power a figment of our imaginations and inferring broad causaility where there is none, there should at least be an irrefutable logic put forth by the author. Mr. Scheel describes himself as a modern day nobody. He is actually somebody quite impotant if his musings on the existance of God and the omnipotence of cognition are broadcast across the country to assault unsuspecting beverage-buyers. In the face of brutal and insurmountable grief, only the love and support of others in my community of faith provided me with the power to overcome. And that is the Way I See It.”

  6. Gorthos Says:

    No, you just aren’t getting it. The author said “may be” a figment of our imagination. He had the right to say it and believe in what he said just as you have the right to feel and say the opposite. to deny him the right to say so is to deny free speech and ignore others rights to believe things different than what you do.

  7. J.T Reed Says:

    I got the same cup, and as a believer saw it as a great conversational starter. I skipped past the “may be a figment” statement understanding those who do not have a personal relationship with God can’t be expected to understand it. What I latched onto was the phrase “cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.” What this screams to me is take accountability for your life and do something about this world. As a Christian who hears Jesus say, “If your right hand offends you (YOU) cut it off,” it seems to me that often we want God to do what he has called us to do. Yes he gives us strenght, peace, etc. etc. but we often abandon working on issues and resort to a passive stance, “Well, I’ll just have to pray more.” The thought that came to mind was the old question/answer, “Why doesn’t God stop all the wars?” “Becasue He didn’t start them.”

    Yes, pray for Bill Scheel. Yes, take your cups to church and talk about the message – the whole message. Don’t boycott, sit down at Starbuck, even take cap #247 with you, slip your new cup into it (becasue you probably won’t get #247 again) and strike up some conversations about God that are kind, gentle, and full of grace, love and faith, just like Jesus would do.

    And yes, pray more too.

  8. Brian M. Says:

    Maybe the letter on the cup was intended as satire? (Isn’t the CEO/founder of Starbucks Jewish?)
    I mean, think about it… imagine this guy as a Starbucks corporate sales representative with business cards that read: “Bill Scheel, Modern-day Nobody, Starbucks, Inc.” And why don’t we just search inside ourselves for the power to get through the day without caffeine? Hmmm….
    ~Brian M.,
    Dallas, TX

  9. timiekley Says:

    Interesting thought Brian…

  10. A Hindu Prays in the Senate: My Response « I use 1/10 of my brain. How much do you use? Says:

    […] look at this situation as I do my starbucks discussion # 247 found here.  I do not believe we live in a Christian nation anymore.  Perhaps when the United States was […]

  11. Piérre Williams Says:

    Looks like we had the same reaction to the comments on the cup. I’m glad to see I was not the only one who can testify to the God who answers pray. People are so vocal about their disbelief in God. We as Christians need to be more vocal about our beliefs and live as living proof!

    Thanks for letting me share a bit.

  12. Glenn Says:

    In reference to Stacey’s comment on May27, 2007; I to am a Christian and a believer in GOD. However Stacey, Starbucks in opinion did nothing wrong. They “allowed” this “The way I see it” because everyone has thier own opinions, and it is a freedom of speach. Yes we should all pray for Mr. Scheel as it appears he is going through a very rough time. If we band together and pray for one another, we can all help out Mr. Scheel as well as everyone else in this world. We just all have to have faith and BELIEVE.

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