On Saturday morn I noticed a strange set of memes and videos going around Facebook. Posted on the pages of those people I know that are still going to either evangelical or fundamentalist churches in my area were images and comments on how Starbucks was persecuting Christians. How? By this year's holiday coffee cup design.
year's cup features a very minimalist design, a bright red fading into a
deep crimson with the company logo picked out in deep green. I stared
at the new cup design and went 'huh'? I couldn't understand anyone
getting upset over the new design to the point where they could possibly
claim that it was somehow 'anti-Christian' or part of the media-created
'War on Christmas'.
Every year Starbucks
changes the design of their holiday cup. Usually it has something on it
like penguins, or stars, or snowflakes, cheery winter scenes meant to
pay homage to the season. This year's design is no more or no less
Christian than any of the previous years. None of the Starbucks holiday
cup designs have had Christian symbols on them.
morning I got treated to this manufactured outrage in person,
witnessing two older gentleman behaving in very childish ways while
demanding the poor barista shout out 'Merry Christmas' loudly and
repeatedly before they would pick up their coffee orders at the counter.
Did I miss the part of the Beatitudes where Jesus said for his
followers to go forth and act like jerks in his name?
Had a chance to ask the young folks working at this Starbucks if they'd
encountered a lot of this behavior. Several said that they had and at
first they were taken aback, not sure what was going on. The general
consensus among the baristas seemed to be that it was a little on the
I sat in Starbucks thinking about this newest and dumbest bit of
martyrdom by American Evangelicals I could not help but conclude this is
a big part of what's wrong with the Evangelical church in America. This
is why statistics show that young people are leaving the church in
droves, why so many are so done with church and why another recent study
showed that kids raised in fundamentalist faiths were less altruistic
than those unchurched. The Evangelical church has lost its damn mind.
of being concerned with the hungry and poor in our communities they've
decided it's more important to complain that the cups are a direct slam
on Jesus. There's none of what Jesus said to do, take care of the widow
and orphan, or visit those in jail, oh no, nope. Now it's make sure that
the transgendered cannot use certain restrooms, telling the poor to
pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop living on welfare. The
American Evangelical church that is the umbrella that Quiverfull falls
under wants to regulate everything about every woman's body so that the
nation is Quiverfull no matter how they feel about it.
is being taught from many pulpits and many are being incited to hate
those that are different from them. Fear is weakening the church and it
has infested just about every doctrine these days. That fear drives so
many of the reasons evangelicals are busy putting others down, claiming
they are the ones being persecuted when it's really them upset that they
cannot force everyone else to believe the same way as them, as well as
keeping them distracted from the real problems in the world and the true
words of Christ.
Mostly I kept thinking
about that old tried and true practical rule of parenting, 'Pick your
battles', meaning not everything you disagree with your kid over is
worth expending time and energy on fighting. There have been plenty of
young people driven away from their parents because the parents chose to
fight and nag at them over some small thing, some issue of dress or
manners, that really is not a big thing in the scheme of things, while
ignoring the glaring obvious thing that needs to be addressed.
Ultimately I think these moments of outrage are simply a bonding ritual.
Used to be in the church that you and your fellow believers did things
together as a group for the good of others, and it brought you closer to
each other. Everyone is in search of significance, and it used to be
that people found that feeling of making a difference and being part of
the whole through servicing others through the church. Since that's
fallen by the wayside these protests and boycotts seem to take the place
of bonding with your fellow believers into the cohesive one for that
sense of belonging.
making a huge deal out of things like Starbucks changing their cup
design, yet not saying a word in protest when something worth protesting
happens, such as a church covering up for a pastor who makes untoward
advances on underage young women (Hello Vision Forum, IBLP and IFB among
other offenders!) the message is pretty clear to the outside world.
There's no accountability or credibility left, only silly outrage over
issues they're being distracted with by evangelical leadership.
This is why the church is dying!
This is why the world thinks the church is filled with nasty mean hypocrites!
This is why people aren't flocking to join the American Evangelical church!
This is why church must change or go the way of the dinosaurs!
outraged for the right reasons, for your neighbor being alone on the
holidays, for someone needing a hand while they go through treatment for
cancer, for children without enough food, for the many homeless
veterans, for the lonely, the sick and the needy in our world. Not over
some dumb coffee cup that no one will remember by January. But your neighbor that needs a listening ear or a ride to chemo is still going to remember what you did for them many months later.
Evangelicals, grow up and take the words of the guy you claim to be following seriously!