Editor's Note: An addendum will shortly follow which will provide some details on the background of this action as well as the dynamics of the response to it.
August 21, 2016
Early this morning, we smashed out all the windows of the Starbucks housed in our church.
Christianity and Capitalism cannot coincide. Jesus was the first to recognize this.
Many years ago, businessmen attempted to conduct business in the house of God. Jesus forced them all out - causing them to lose their merchandise and their profit. He made a whip, driving out all who would sell anything in His house, and refused to allow anyone to even carry merchandise through the temple.
We are Christians. We are also anarchists. We believe that Christianity necessitates anarchism, and that both are defined by freedom and by struggle – against oppression, against Capitalism, and against our Enemy.
As of late, some churches have allowed Capitalism to seep into our places of worship. We follow Jesus, and cannot allow this in His house any more than He did.
For this reason, in the early hours of Sunday morning, we went to our church before our brothers and sisters would arrive for worship. Following Jesus' example, we attacked the place made for buying and selling in our Father's house – smashing out all its windows. We left hundreds of copies of a letter we wrote to the church.
The letter admonishes them and explains to them the spirit in which we acted. It outlines the Christian position against Starbucks, against business, and, greater still, against Capitalism. However, our letter was truly intended for the larger body, as we recognize that the church in America at large has fallen into this acceptance of buying and selling in our Father's houses.
So, we address our letter, and thus our action, simply to the Church of the West.
To the Church of the West,
We write to you as your brothers and sisters in Christ. We did not attack this property as outsiders or enemies, but rather, as members of the same body, we destroyed what was our own.
We acted this way in accordance with Jesus' example of driving the businessmen out of the temple.
A STARBUCKS. In the house of God! We won't waste space here decrying Starbucks - the whole world knows how it gains riches by causing poverty! Why do you - the body of Christ - ignore it? Do you not know what it is to honor God (Proverbs 14:31)?
We have yet to hear one story of Jesus selling anything to anyone, let alone making profit off anyone! Much less in the house of worship! So we attacked what held this partnership between church and corporation.
We implore you to reject buying and selling in our places of worship, and to "take these things away; stop making my Father's house a place of business," as Jesus commanded (John 2:13-16). Jesus wouldn't even allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple (Mark 11:16)!
If we are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, how can we accept Capitalism (James 5:4, Acts 4:32-35, 1 Cor. 10:24)? We must not lose our saltiness! We must be the spark of love in a world of greed!
When you love someone, you give them whatever you can, freely and with joy. You would never sell the food in your kitchen to your family. We believe in loving your neighbor as yourself, in sharing freely, and in working together to take care of each other - in mutual aid rather than wage slavery (Luke 3:11, 6:30, James 2:15-16, Heb. 13:16). The early church set this example for us in organizing their lives as a commune (Acts 2:44-47, 4:32-35).
We write this with sadness, because the fact that we even have to remind you what love looks like tells us that the love of God is not overflowing from our body. We implore you to spend more time with Him, basking in His love, until being complicit in exploitation or oppression becomes unthinkable because your love for others is so strong.
We want you to know that we did this out of love for you - not hostility toward you. To continue to do nothing would have been to not care for you, to allow you to continue blindly down a dangerous path. This action was to pull you back from that path - to force the body of Christ to take a collective look at how to live in this world without being of it (1 John 3:17, Isa. 1:17).
The church has strayed far in its acceptance of this society's way of life. We call you back in the spirit of James 5:19-20.
We belive a different world is possible - a world wherein we don't exploit our brothers and sisters overseas so we can have cheap coffee and clothing, a world wherein we labor out of love, not under coercion for another's profit - that is, a world without Capitalism. At the very least, we cannot accept Capitalism within our temple.
We are Christians. We are also anarchists. We have chosen anarchism because the world and way of life propagated by anarchism is the same we see in the teachings of Christ. We followed Jesus, in a real way, and our relationships with Him led us here.
We are not suggesting that you all become anarchists. We are coming to you in love and edification, asking that the house of our Lord be a place of worship, not Capitalism and its inherent exploitation, and asking that you reflect prayerfully on how Jesus would live in the world you inhabit today.
We ask that in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6, you not sick the State on us. Don't call the police or try to get the courts involved. We are your family, and this is an internal affair. Remember, if we have lawsuits among ourselves, then we have been defeated already (1 Cor. 6:7).
May the Spirit of the Lord come upon all you who read this. May you come to a deeper understanding of who He is. May your relationship with Him grow leaps and bounds, and may His love be lavished on you until it is shining on your faces, overflowing from your hearts, words, and actions.
In Love and with Hope,
Some Black Sheep
PS—If you're confused by this action, we recommend reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. We don't agree with all of it, and it's certainly not our gospel, but it's a good place to start exploring how Christians should live in the present days."
Note: Initial news coverage of this action from WSBtv Atlanta, GA, can be seen here.
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