I read this article today, and found out that you can get thrown in jail for sitting in Starbucks with someone of the opposite sex you aren’t married to.
apparently an American woman was sitting in a Starbucks in Saudi Arabia (who would have thought there was a Starbucks in Saudi???) with a co-worker when their office electricity went out. Some religious police (apparently there are thousands who wander looking for violations of dress code, conduct, etc) confronted and arrested her for it. She was released the next day.
Sometimes I feel in a very minor sense like she must have felt. That there are thousands of religious police out there (misguided believers) who are judging me and everyone else for what we wear, say, listen to, do, etc. Thank God that Jesus accepts us for who we are. He shows us grace by the very act of paving the way for us to have a relationship with God. I was one of those religious police once, always looking for what people were doing wrong, rather than what they were doing right. It saddens me to think that, had I left the convicting part to the Holy Spirit, and focused on building the Kingdom of God, I could have had much more influence. Now, before you e-mail me or comment saying “we should point out truth”, I say, I agree. But that can ONLY be done in community. Only when I’ve invested enough in someone’s life to earn credibility to speak God’s truth to them, not my own opinionated garble.
I can tell you this: I will be a little nervous the next few times I go to Starbucks! And if by some freak chance I ever find myself sitting in a Starbucks in Saudi Arabia, I will erect a small fence around my table so that no woman other than my wife can sit next to me!!