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.