Red Cup Rage


It has all of the ingredients.

There’s the large corporation taking traditional Christmas symbols off of their product.

And there’s the large group of people ridiculing those Christians who have a problem with the decision.

I should say that it has all the ingredients except for one. The one thing that’s missing in this latest skirmish in the culture wars is the multitudes of Christians who have a problem with the red Starbucks cup. Ten or twenty? Maybe. But not multitudes.

It all started when Starbucks decided to go simple with the designs on their cups this holiday season. Instead of Christmas trees and snowflakes, the cups are just red. Presumably, they did this so that you can more clearly see how they misspell your name.

I first heard of the Starbucks decision on Facebook. I didn’t find out because a few dozen of my fellow believers asked me to sign some petition against Starbucks. And I didn’t find out about it because another pastor updated his status in ALL CAPS IN ORDER TO INFORM US THAT STARBUCKS IS BEING RUN BY THE ANTICHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found out about it by other Christians who were saying how stupid it is to get mad at Starbucks for not putting Christmas trees on their cups. I spend a lot of time with Christians. Not one of them has come to me in outrage about Starbucks cups. Not once have I overheard two of them talking about how the red Starbucks cup is the fulfillment of an end times prophecy from Ezekiel.

Yes, I know. Some evangelist out west wrote a now viral Facebook post about how the red cup means that Starbucks, “Hates Jesus.” Another pastor in Florida vowed never to shop there again. Also, there are a few people who are telling baristas that their name is Merry Christmas in a ridiculous effort to stick it to the man in Seattle. And, in a wonderful piece of irony, I saw a news site that quoted a woman who said of Starbucks’ supposed anti-Christian decision, “Let them go bankrupt. Screw them.” Now doesn’t that sound like it just came straight out of the Sermon on the Mount?

But other than that, I’ve heard nothing from other Christians. No rage. No threats. Just outrage against an outrage that appears to be regional at best.

Christians do stupid things. Some of them read fake news sites and pass them off as real. Others get mad about all of the wrong things and trick unsuspecting twenty-somethings into writing Merry Christmas on their cups. We should hold one another accountable when those things happen. But we should also do the terribly unpopular job of standing up for one another when we are being misrepresented.

Start a sentence off with, “I’m a Christian but…” and you’re sure to get a lot of likes and cyber pats upon the back from the culture.

Start a sentence off with, “I’m a Christian and you’ve got us wrong on this,” and crickets chirp. Or you get a cease and desist.

I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who would like nothing more than to take Starbucks down over a red cup. I’m just saying that, thankfully, they’re the minority. Every Christian I know thinks that the moral outrage over the red cup is ridiculous.

All of this is just more proof that we aren’t taking the time to get to know one another. When our interactions primarily occur over a keyboard rather than over a table say at, I don’t know, Starbucks, we tend to allow one or two people to define an entire movement. So every black person is a card carrying member of Black Lives Matter. Every sports fan is a lunatic who gambles his life savings away and neglects his family. And every Christian is ready to set fire to the nearest Starbucks.

Starbucks doesn’t like for customers to carry weapons into their stores. People do it anyway. The higher ups at Starbucks aren’t exactly passing out John Piper books to the first 50 customers each morning. But Christians still go there. And the ones I know will keep on going there, take their read cup with a smile and enjoy the $15 worth of coffee that’s inside.

There are a lot of things to get mad about these days.

A red cup isn’t one of them.

All of the Christians I know understand that. They’re okay with a red cup and they never expect the name of the Christ Child to be printed on the side.

Besides, it would probably be misspelled anyway.

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The Craziest Person on the Planet or How to Get Out of Jury Duty

I knew what it was as soon as I pulled it out of my mailbox.  The envelope had a government address on it but even without that, I could tell what it was.  I was being selected for jury duty again.

But this time it was different.

This time it was for a federal case.  There was no invitation inside.  Just a scan-tron test.  You know, the number 2 pencil kind that you had to take in the 11th grade.  It turns out that the feds want you to take one of these before they invite you to serve as a juror.  If you come across as normal enough, you get the invite.

And therein lies the secret to getting out of jury duty.  You have to make them think that you’re the craziest person on the planet.  If they think that you’re just like everyone else, go ahead and plan on being in court for a few days next month.  You have to make them think that you’re unique, that you are nobody’s peer.  So here’s what I plan to write out on a separate sheet of paper and staple to my scan-tron test.  Just to prove that I am insane and thus unfit to serve as a juror.

Dear Jury Selector, 

Due to my personal bouts with insanity, I don’t think that I would be a good fit for jury duty.  If you don’t believe me, here’s the proof.  

1.  I have no idea how to place an order at Starbucks.  Also, due to my failure to properly navigate my way through the self check out line, I’m not allowed in four different grocery store chains.  If it wasn’t for the good people at Crazy Al’s Sack -N- Save I would have to live off of the land.  

2.  I don’t watch daytime television.

3.  For next year’s Super Bowl, I think that the NFL should go with dogs catching frisbees.  A dog catching a frisbee is much more entertaining than 98% of the potential halftime show performers.  

4.  I hate television singing contests and I think that reality TV is faker than professional wrestling.

5.  I like to listen to Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Public Enemy.  

6.  My kids are four and six.  Their favorite TV shows are Fat Albert and The Brady Bunch.  It’s 2013 but they are becoming products of 1972.  I had to put my foot down when they asked if they could put up a poster of Farrah Fawcett.  The other night my four-year-old asked me if we could watch The Andy Griffith Show together.  I’ve never been more proud.  

7.  Cornbread with sugar in it is a lot like heroin.  It might make you feel good but it’s just not right.

8.  I’m a 37-year-old man and it happened two decades ago but if you were to show me the video of Sid Bream coming around third base to score the winning run against the Pirates in the NLCS and send the Braves to the World Series, I would cheer like it’s happening live.  And when it’s over, I might even cry.  And give you a high five.

9.  I think that people who use the phrases, “It is what it is,”One game at a time,” and “Just saying” should be forced to serve as jurors at least twice a month. 

10.  I also think that people who use the phrase, “From Wall Street to Main Street” should have to stand trial before the jurors listed above. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


The Craziest Person on the Planet

That should do the trick and keep me from being invited to jury duty.

But it just might get me invited to Guantanamo Bay.

Say a prayer for me.

A Holiday Message to Christians

Project 365: 96/365

There’s something that I hope you will remember over the next few weeks while you prepare for Thanksgiving and shop for Christmas. Read carefully because this is very important. Okay, here it is.

You are not being persecuted.

That cashier with the bubbly personality that sends you off on your way with a, “Happy Turkey Day!” or “Happy Holidays!” is not attacking your faith. Most likely, she doesn’t even realize what she’s saying. When you snap back and correct her with, “I think you mean Thanksgiving Day” you’re probably doing more harm than good. But if you insist on convincing yourself that your rudeness is really a vigilant stand for what is right, please do not bring God into it.

“Have a happy holiday, ma’am.”

“Well, you have a merry Christmas, you socialist pig. My family worships Jesus!”

If this is you, or even close to being you, perhaps you should consider the possibility that instead of being persecuted you are the one doing the persecuting. While you may be doing a fine job of defending Thanksgiving and Christmas you are doing a poor job of representing Christ. And what have you really gained if you beat someone into saying the word Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Instead of fighting over linguistics maybe it would be better to simply be nice to the poor kid that’s been standing behind a cash register for 8 hours dealing with disgruntled shoppers like yourself. I don’t know, maybe you could ask her if she has anything she needs you to pray for. I can guarantee you that this will do her soul much more good than a stern lecture on the history of holidays in America.

Anger is our new national pastime. People are angry about everything.  Most of them will want to take that anger out on Brittany, the minimum wage teenage cashier at Kohl’s that’s been told to say “Happy Holidays.”

Christian, this is your shot to really stand out (Matthew 5:16).  Come on, I know you can do it. If nothing else, just be nice and say, “Thank you.”

And then, on your way home, you can pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who are really being persecuted.

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