27 September, 2010

'The Catholicity of Starbucks!' - Catholic Phoenix

Now this is inspired!! 'The Catholicity of Starbucks!' I wish I had thought of it first!

What a catechetical inspiration that explains Catholic concepts brilliantly!


Catholic Phoenix


  1. Well, that was interesting. Not very reassuring, but interesting. I suppose there are an awful lot of people who like the dubious "reassurance" of corporate control over product, but I'm not one of them.

    Corporations tend not to listen to the consumer at all -- they hand you a product, bombard you with advertising, and tell you you're stupid if you don't buy it like "all" your friends are doing. And I know whereof I speak; I used to be one of those corporate drones. They do NOT care about the consumer...they just want his money and the weight his custom adds to their corporate image, which is fat, bloated with gas, and wheezy from the effort of sustaining its bulk on such shaky foundations.

    This is particularly true of restaurants of any kind. The "universal" product is inferior, as far as I'm concerned, because of its very sameness, its lack of variation, its lack of adventure, its refusal to court the customer with personalized products and service. Above all, such sameness is deadly boring.

    When it comes to restaurants, this kind of corporate product can make me feel full, but it leaves me feeling under-nourished and distinctly unsatisfied. Same with corporate religion.

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  4. Lady Janus: In the strict sense, I unreservedly agree. I much prefer the experience of the local diner or restaurant to the uber-commercialized franchise that fills so many corners of urban life.

    It is, however, a noteworthy attempt by a Catholic author to use the examples of the culture around him to describe an aspect of our belief system. If I were to say that something was an Ostensorium, you would probably go 'huh?' in response. If I said it was a make or model of a car, you would be more likely to know what I was talking about. By using Starbucks, he took a wide-spread shared business icon and used it to explain 'truth' as we see it. People are free as to whether or not they will believe in this 'truth', but it is still an inspired act! He set the stage for a modern parable - a re-telling of the teachings of Christ in a modern form, comprehendible to most if not all through the familiarity of the example.

    Tell some member of an isolated tribe someplace that life is like a 'Starbuck's' and you would get one of those glazed over expressions of incomprehension. It is the same look I see in the faces of people in their 20's & 30's who have manifestly no knowledge of the moral or religious lexicon.

    (con't below)

  5. This is an example of what we as Catholics have always taught: that the scriptures are teachings of truth, comprehensible to the hearers of 'the day'. Commerical enterprises that use the same disciplines and values that gird faith of believers have flourished. Imagine using these same intelligence and energy to establish a culture of equality, justice and peace - free from the ranting of extremists from any camp at all. If, as Ghandi once remarked, 'Christianity would be a wonderful religion if and when someone tries to live it,' then it seems reasonable that its techniques and practices, when applied and lived should be one that leads to self-fulfillment. I know I'd sure like to try!

    I still think that capitalism can be the medium by which we work out the social harmony we are desirous of attaining. It contains similar methodologies if not like ends. It will be a long way from perfect peace, but we're a long way from there now anyway so what do we have to lose?

    Fr. Tim

  6. LOL...there appears to be a stammer in your comments platform...

    I actually understand "ostensorium" (a term I prefer to the more common, "monstrance" -- it has a more elegant ring to it), but I get your point. In an effort to find a link to understanding, the writer was appealing to the reader's common knowledge of modern culture.

    By the way, I'm trying to sign up for the NaPo comments section so I can get in on some of the Holy Post discussions, but it keeps refusing me. Is there, like, a secret handshake or something that they're not telling me about? ;D

  7. Lady Janus: Nope. Email clewis@nationalpost.com and tell him you're a friend of mine who could bring an interesting and intelligent voice to this debate. If problem persists, I'll call him to get it straightened out for you.

    You will as welcome there as a warm spring day. Your civility and wit will improve the place immeasurably!

    Fr. Tim


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