Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cups...or Just Shut Up Already and Stop Embarrassing the Rest of Us

’Tis the season, and today I want to talk about cups…

I bought my ticket for the long way round
Two bottles of whiskey for the way
And I sure would like some sweet company
And I’m leaving tomorrow, what d'you say

Well, actually, no…not that Cups, not the song. I’m talking about coffee cups…like the ones at Starbucks. Apparently some Christians, and the key word here is some, are upset about this year’s holiday season cups from Starbucks. Why?

Because they’re red.

Just red.

Not even any snowflakes or anything else wintry on them. Just plain red.

And some Christians are seeing red over these cups.

And…this is where my rant begins…or perhaps continues. I began talking about the hijacking of the term “Christian” by certain types of Christians in last year’s post How to be a Christian, and it looks like I’m gonna have to come back to it with two main things to say.

First, to those whiny Christians who complain about a “war against Christmas” or a “war on Christianity” every 30 seconds…


Really. I’m tired of it, and the majority of us Christians who have a clue or two are tired of it too. We’re tired of you trivializing the idea of persecution just because you’re not top dog anymore and don’t get to call the shots for everyone else. We’re tired of you confusing nostalgia with persecution. Because that’s what it is. It’s not about the religious aspects of Christmas at all, it’s about nostalgia for the Christmases of your childhood, and your resentment of the fact that things have changed. But truth be told, the Christmases of your childhood were different from those of your grandparents’ childhoods. To find out more, check out The War on Christmas: Did Lincoln Start It?.

And I want you to shut up because you’re embarrassing the rest of us, and making it hard to admit to being a Christian. On the one hand, because you’ve co-opted the general name that’s supposed to apply to all of us in all of our denominations, I worry that telling someone that I’m a Christian will having them automatically associating me with the Westboro “Baptist” Church instead of the many Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, and Methodists I’ve known over the years. People who quietly go about trying to make life better for others without drawing attention to themselves. On the other hand, it’s really funny when someone finds out that I am a Christian (although I tend to prefer describing myself as a Lutheran, in order to distinguish myself from all the nutballs), because their reaction is generally one of shock: “What! You’re a Christian? But you can’t be…you’re not a small-minded, judgmental, jerk!”

Second, to the media…


Really. I understand that every group has its share of loudmouthed wing nuts, and they are amusing from time to time; but it seems to me that you’re giving too much attention to ours. It seems that you’re paying more attention to the stupid things they say and do, and not paying attention at all to any of the good things the rest of us are doing. Rather than talk about what Lutherans are doing to help eradicate malaria in Africa, you give publicity to an obscure county clerk in an obscure county in an obscure state. That girl got publicity that money couldn’t buy.

Which of course, was also great for Starbucks. How much free publicity did they get out of some misguided Christians getting all in a snit about their new cups? Don’t these people ever learn that when they go off like this, they’re actually helping the organization that they’re angry at.

Finally, to my fellow Christians, who aren’t dipsticks, I think that we really need to get together to do something about how our “brand” is perceived by the general public so that we can take it back from those who’ve hijacked it from us. We need to be louder, and yet gentler, voices that say that “those people” don’t speak for the majority of us.

Let’s get together and talk about this.

Meet you at Starbucks!

1 comment:

  1. Hear, hear! Thanks for being a voice of reason. All beliefs, be they Christian, Muslim, or atheist, have many more reasonable believers than "fundamentalists" (and I also appreciate that you know the current term rarely describes the actual fundamentals). May the reasonable folks stand up. And drink out of whatever color cups, as long as they are clean!