My Facebook has been on fire this last week about Starbucks and their decision to change the design of their red cups. A few people wrote some blogs commenting on the continual secularization of our society, and then every “enlightened” and “non-consumeristic” Christian decided to shame them into extinction, with just about every news outlet piling on.
For the most part, I love that I have so many different friends with such different perspectives in my life. With this diversity of opinion, I have come to be a little horrified at the speed in which sidebar conversations or observations turn into full blown internet memes.
Since a snarky Facebook post couldn't quite communicate what I have been really thinking regarding the cup and what that means for Christian cultural warriors and the self- righteous Christians who are stabbing them in the back, I thought I would throw in my two cents regarding the Starbucks red cup into the mix.
The cultural warriors have a point:
We are part of a rich cultural tradition that is steeped in a Judeo-Christian worldview. And because of that Christianity, its stories, rituals, traditions, and values are deeply rooted in our DNA. There is actually much to celebrate about our cultural heritage, although you wouldn't know it because over the past 50 years this heritage has come under full assault, even to the point of death.
Those who have sought to limit people’s pride in western civilization have done a great job of crushing almost every institution that have been part of the bedrock of our culture. The church was an easy target. But now that the church has been crushed, you can see the blood is in the water to crush all institutions of authority, academia, government, media, family, etc.
For Christians to observe and comment on the continual deterioration of most of the core traditions found in western civilization is ok. Starbucks is using red because they want to make money. They are making money by associating themselves with Christmas. (I mean, "the holiday."). And for the astute Christian, this is a worthwhile observation and one worthy of further discussion.
This observation isn't a conversation that should turn into a battle to the death. It doesn't even demand a boycott. It is simply another sad example of our culture running as fast as it can from its foundational roots. It is a sad commentary on the lack of influence the Christian story has in our culture. And the shameless use of what little is left of these traditions by corporations to still try and scam a buck or two.
For my cultural warrior friends, it is worth grieving. Yes Christians deserve scrutiny and rebuke. But those days are long gone. We are not simply getting our butts handed to us, but the continual belittling is heartbreaking, especially because we know the good news of the grace and love of Jesus and his love for the entire world.
So, don't fight, don't cause a scene, grieve and continually point to Jesus. In a post Christian context people don't even know why they are mad at Jesus or his followers any more. So may they come to know we are his followers by the way we love each other.
Which brings me to my self righteous meme creator friends:
I get that you don't want to be associated with those close minded, neanderthal Christians. But the truth is that the people bringing it up are simply bringing it up. It is a minority voice, a small sample. And instead of letting it go away as a small movement. You are trying to gain friends and esteem by throwing your sisters and brothers under the bus.
In an effort to appear as smart, nuanced, and above the fray, you are heaping death and destruction on the evangelical movement, and on Christians in general.
These clever memes don't win people to Jesus. In fact they only pile on to the reality that all Christians are whack-ado's. The people you are trying to impress don't differentiate between those dumb evangelicals and you wise and righteous Christian. You are simply clarifying to the world that Christians are stupid, and you aren't even one. You and you alone are a Christ follower.
In fact, all of the news reporting this week have been a total pile on “those” Christians. Most people don’t even know what the original story is. But everyone knows somehow Christians are idiots because they care about Starbucks changing their cups. In this latest round, unfortunately it is those who thought they were clever with the memes about the cups are the ones who are giving Christians a black eye.
But without the church, the body and bride of Christ, people will have a hard time ever coming to find Jesus.
I am with you, and nothing grieves me more than Christians saying and doing stupid things. But in this latest dust up between cultural warriors and those who are better than those dumb evangelicals, I am actually on the side of the cultural warriors.
Let us not cut off our nose to spite our face.
If you want to care for the poor and orphans, then do it. Commit time and money to that endeavor. There is no need to make your fellow Christians look like idiots, like a meme, and still not adopt a child.
Just a couple of thoughts :)