I love me some Starbucks, even if it isn't paleo; I don't really drink much from there besides iced green tea these days. So when I was on Facebook this morning and saw bloggers posting articles about their take on Christians who are offended by the new Starbucks Red Cups, I was scratching my head. I had to do a google search because no one explained WHY Christians were offended. Then when I saw others saying this was a publicity stunt by Starbucks … well, come on now!
I wouldn't ever normally talk about religion on my blog. It's a divisive topic, even within my own religion of Christianity. I dislike being lumped in with “the crazies” when I tell people I am a Christian. I am a Christian, just like I am a stay at home mom and not barefoot and pregnant, just like I am a blogger and not a mommy blogger, just like I am a short person but not a midget. One thing is not inclusive of all things.
Why are Christians offended by Starbucks Red Cups?
The whole thing started with this evangelical dude from Scottsdale, Arizona who, I gathered in 3 minutes of looking at his self-promotional website, wants to make a mark on the world by being offensive and in your face about his faith. I found this article about the controversy, which is dripping with a liberal coat of paint so if you can read through that, you'll get to the meat of the story:
- Dude sees Starbucks red cup
- Dude does a Periscope on ways he could possibly be offended by the cup
- Dude tells people to tell the baristas at Starbucks that their name is “Merry Christmas” so they will write “Merry Christmas” on the red cup and force the baristas to say “Merry Christmas”
- Dude wants people to post their selfie with their Merry Christmas cup
- The he whips out a gun and makes everyone who supports the 2nd Amendment look really nuts. THANKS.
This is just so NOT Christian it is boggling my mind.
Why do we say “Merry Christmas”?
You say, “Merry Christmas” with intention – that is where the meaning is. Without the intention, it is just two words. Making a barista say “Merry Christmas” is just making them say “John Smith” if there is no intention behind it. Besides that, what if the barista has a different religion? What if they are a Christian and you are making them uncomfortable at their job by putting them in an awkward situation? Where is the compassion for the individuals who are making your coffee?
The pastor guy cites that baristas are told not to say, “Merry Christmas”. There are more religions than Christianity – would they not be offended if someone told them “Merry Christmas”? What if the employee is not Christian but are told they have to say “Merry Christmas”? So yes, in this litigious society, of course Starbucks decides on NO holiday greeting because that is the most sensitive and smart business thing to do. Duh.
Then there's the idea that “Merry Christmas” is a secular thing, meaning to have a nice holiday celebration. Again, it goes back to intention. Some Christians argue to skip Christmas altogether because it is founded on a pagan holiday and has been commercialized. Under that idea, no one should say “Merry Christmas”.
And for the record, “Merry Christmas” is NOT in the Bible.
God is about love, not disruption
The way to share the word about the Bible and Christianity is not through launching a campaign to be disruptive to a business that millions of people love. Many people I talk to who consider themselves “spiritual” or on the fence about believing in some higher power usually cite crazy activities by “Christians” as a reason why they don't “believe”. I think these tactics drive to stir up a congregation who is wanting, who is needing something the pastor isn't helping provide. These tactics increase the distance between those who are seeking and those who they perceive as “Christians”, based on what they are seeing from people who call themselves “Christians”. Nobody is looking at this behavior and saying, “Geez, that sounds like an awesome religion. Sign me up!”. Disrupting a business that isn't doing anything criminal is not a Christian thing to do.
Would God be pleased by what you're doing to that barista? I'm pretty sure the answer is, “NO”.
This is NOT a publicity stunt by Starbucks
I saw several bloggers on Facebook commenting how they believed that the stunt with this “pastor” and Starbucks was a publicity move by Starbucks. It's kind of whack publicity, if you ask me, and Starbucks is smarter than that. Starbucks doesn't need this pastor dude's 7000 twitter followers (who he is mostly engaged in arguments with). The hashtag #redcup has been used 237,000 times on Instagram alone. Yeah, some of those are for red Solo cups, but still, I think Starbucks' marketing is doing just fine without this guy.
What should you do if you're “offended”?
Turn that energy into doing a good deed. Don't buy a $5 latte. Instead, donate that money to a charity. Don't get confrontational with a barista. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen or read books to sick kids in a hospital. Don't share the crazy dude's periscope or YouTube on the internet. Instead, share an uplifting story, like that of Caterina's Club, which feeds thousands of kids every day who live in hotels and don't have hot meals. Which do you think God would be most thrilled by? And if you don't believe, what activity do you think would make you feel the best?
I don't want to link to the guy or use his name because I think he is not good news. I don't want to promote him. So while the Salon article I linked to above is rather inflammatory and biased, I'd rather link to that than further promote this dude.
I'm a Christian. I don't like alot of things churches and “Christians” do in the name of religion. I don't think anything Starbucks does affects my religion in any way. I wish we would spend more time doing good things rather than giving attention and power to people with a nutso agenda. I've donated some money to a food bank this weekend, some food to the collection at Matthew's school this morning, and drove the neighbor kids to school because their mom wasn't home from the night shift yet. It's the right thing to do. Starbucks and this crazy pastor don't affect that at all. Starbucks doesn't make me not a Christian. It just makes me fatter. And well, that's another topic for another day! LOL
What will you do in the world to make a real difference today?
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