Sunday, February 6, 2011

Starbucks Spirituality

Starbucks offers over 87,000 drink combinations. And many people today approach spirituality much like ordering a drink.

Design-your-own spirituality is “in”. A recent Newsweek poll found that 91 percent of American adults claim a belief in “God” of some sort.

However, research by GALLUP reveals a growing disinterest in organized religion. Only about half of Americans view religion as being “very important,” while nearly three-fourths of our nation sees religion as a waning influence in American culture. In fact, 3 out of 10 Americans view religion as “old-fashioned and out of date.”

“Is God real?” Americans are asking. But more directly, many people wonder, “Why does it even matter?” As Christian counselors, it is important that we are aware of our clients’ views of spirituality. In today's world, many Americans are asking, “What’s the point of religion anyway?” With only 4 out of 10 Americans regularly attending a church or synagogue, it seems that America is tired of religion.

Many psychologists resign religion to the museum of cultural history, arguing that in today’s technologically advanced age, the idea of a supreme other-worldly Being is irrelevant. But for all the advances of science, the immaterial still intrigues many people. Despite losing faith in the church, the majority of Americans still believe in a higher Being.

What do all these statistics mean? It seems that people want to believe in God, but can’t find sufficient answers in the church. The average American today isn’t interested in organized religion per say, but is likely open to talking about his or her personal faith.

As Christian counselors, the trend of spirituality may open doors for conversation about the God we know and follow. We may have the opportunity to walk with our clients on their spiritual journeys toward the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

However, vague conceptualizations of "faith" can also be problematic.

Who is “God” in today’s world? Frankly, whoever you want him...or be. Many people are very comfortable talking about faith, and may voice their spiritual questions in counseling. However,when our clients bring up spirituality, we must not assume that we are necessarily speaking about the same "God."


  1. This post made me think of a conversation I had with one of my best friends awhile back who asked me if she could be a Catholic Universalist. My response to her was I think you can be a Universalist Catholic, but not a Catholic Universalist because practicing primarily Catholicism is not compatible with being a Universalist. What she was really wanting was to be able to believe in God-though she didn't believe in heaven, and continue to keep her Catholic traditions, and still be able to respect everyone else's religion as right as well. She, like many in today's world want buffet style religion, but they usually haven't thought about the ramifications of their desires if they actually got them. I agree that we do have an incredible opportunity as Christian counselors to really help people think critically about what they believe and why, and encourage a new consideration of the Way the Truth and the Life.

  2. Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks and a place where I have spent a good portion of time discussing religion with friends, family, and even strangers. It has always fascinated me to have these talks because the city is known for two things, their intelligence and their statistic of 2% of the population being professing Christians. Not Christians who attend church or participate in the body of Christ, simply those who label themselves Christian.


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