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Be Genuine: Connect, discover, respond.

July 30, 2007

Be genuine? A coffee place wants their employees to be real? No masks, no pretend, no acting like you’re something one day while being the opposite the next? Starbucks has gone too far, they have crossed the line. A coffee shop with employees who seek to be authentic, this is just too much.

I could take be welcoming, I could even deal with legendary and uplifting, but genuine?

I’m not sure there is anything I can really say about this one. Years ago at the church camp I attended as a kid one session had the oldest campers deliver the evening messages. To this day I remember one particular high school senior who when giving his talk told everyone he struggled with lying. He said he lied.

After the evening service was over we ridiculed this guy for being such a terrible speaker. We badgered him saying you should never tell people that when talking from the front. You were supposed to put on a good face so that everyone would know it could be done. It seems that I had picked up on something without even knowing it. I had picked up on the fact that at church you were not supposed to be real or genuine.

Is it any surprise that I went to college with one of the guys in the group and was invited to go to a church service only to turn around afterwards and steal yard art from people’s lawns? It was the only time I went to a worship service that semester unless you count chapel.

Genuine. You see Starbucks understands that the only way to connect is to be genuine. Without it all you have is a bunch of fakes. What do you think the number one reason given for people who reject the church, fake people, people who don’t practice what they preach? How can a group of people go around trying to legislate how others live when all they actually do is talk about living that way?

The fear has always been that to admit our weakness and failure will only encourage people to fail, at least that was the unwritten rule I picked up on growing up going to church. The problem to me seems to be the fact that the opposite hasn’t made people live any better, in fact at times it seems to make it worse.

We facilitate the Dynamic Marriage course from Family Dynamics and the greatest power that I see is when people discover that other marriages suffer from the same struggles and problems. When they find that even the pastor has these problems and wants to deal with them people then become more real.

To help someone with their burdens (Galatians 6:1-5) you have to know they have them and to know they have them you have to be genuine.

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