When I started typing the title of this post it was going to be all about Starbucks, Amazon etc etc.. But it might turn out to be about a letter to a group of Christians written about 2000 years ago.
But while you decide if you want to read on here is a pretty starbucks picture!
So Starbucks haven't paid corporation tax. I can talk more about them than the others because its in the news a little more. But neither have they broken any laws. In fact they have done exactly what this government seems to enjoy. They have been a savvy company. They have employed people who are good at their job to help them make the most money.
And now we express outrage.
There is something quintessentially British about it- please don't be good at anything.
But that is almost not the point. The point is that the law is broken. The law has holes in it that mean that if you play the game you can get away without contributing to the wider society. (though Starbucks give free coffee to community events, host all kinds of meetings, so maybe its not all about the money).
In short (as as we might see in the next few days from some more companies) the law on its own is not enough. The letter of the law has us finding ways round the law to do what we want. It only works when we get hold of the relational element of the law. In starbucks case its that sense that the people who walk into your coffee shops on their way to work want you to contribute because they do. They pay their £2.40 out of their taxed pay and want you to do the same so that the street they will return to feels clean and safe.
Our tax laws are broken. But the law itself will never be enough. Where there is law we need relationship- we need a sense that the law is worth keeping because we feel connected to the whole.
And in the mean time we need grace. These companies have been good at what they do. And so let us challenge, but let us also show grace and show them how to connect to the relational.