Starbucks Cup-troversy – Symptom of a Deeper Problem

Doodling on my Starbucks Red cup
Doodling on my Starbucks Red cup

by Suzanne Titkemeyer cross posted from her blog Every  Breaking Wave

Warning! A Rant!

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.

This 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.

This 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? What would Jesus do? Not be a jackass about paper coffee cups.

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 kooky-weird side.

As 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.

Instead 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.

Fear 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.

By 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, Pastor Geronimo Aguilar at Richmond Outreach Center 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!

Be 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!

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Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin of NLQ and also the wife of a man who had sense enough to recognize their church as a cult before dragging her out. She is a crazy old cat lady keeps busy with her grown children, her rescue animals, foster care animals and her love of all things art. Contrary to Fundy-Belief she’s usually smiling, laughing or smirking while swilling diet coke and dispensing sarcasm. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon


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