Towards A Merrier Coffee Cup

Towards A Merrier Coffee Cup November 27, 2016


I don’t think anyone is really offended by coffee cups.

I think that any Christmas cup controversy last year or resolutions this year is manufactured drama started by a few hoax tweets, and that even that pastor who thinks eye-rolling is persecution  would be embarrassed to fuss over a waxed cardboard drinking vessel in a heat-proof paper sleeve.

At least, I hope that’s the case. My faith in humanity’s ability to spot a con has been sorely tried lately.

Mind you, I don’t deny that coffee is a contentious topic. It’s a drug upon which a huge number of adults rely for our continued consciousness, myself included. I can’t move until I’ve had my morning coffee. It’s normal that something as dreadfully necessary as coffee should spark our outrage. There are many coffee-related topics over which I’m outraged. Decaf, for instance. There’s no reason for decaf to exist. No one would voluntarily drink opaque, scalding hot water that tasted like dirt unless it got you high; take out the caffeine and you have a cup of black paint. And I am offended at the idea of drinking black paint.

But I’m not offended by the decorations on the outside of my coffee cup. For a year, I drank coffee out of a jumbo-sized mug with orange and black stripes on the handle, a picture of a man wrapped in bandages on one side and the inscription “I want my mummy.” My husband bought it for me for a dollar, for a Saint Nicholas Day gift. I didn’t feel that my faith was affirmed by my coffee cup. I didn’t think to wish that my faith be affirmed by my coffee cup. My faith is in Christ, Christ is the origin, Christ affirms, Christ strengthens and perfects, Christ is both sea and harbor. My mummy mug holds the coffee while I drink it, so that I don’t burn my hands. When the mummy mug inevitably broke in the wash, I bought another, with pictures of vines painted all over it. When my faith in Christ breaks, I go to confession. Big difference.

I actually would feel really weird if my coffee cup had religious imagery on it. First of all, because I drink coffee while I write blog posts, and I also tend to swear at my computer while I write blog posts. It would make me nervous. Besides, a coffee cup is an object for use around the house. It’s going to go into the sink with the greasy pots and pans, get detergent on it, get scoured and stuck upside down in a cupboard. That’s not a respectful thing to do to religious imagery. It’d be even worse if I bought a disposable coffee cup with a picture of Jesus on it every day. I’d feel deeply ashamed throwing it away. That’s not how we’re supposed to treat sacred things.

So, color me unimpressed by having a Nativity on a Starbucks cup this year, and unoffended by a lack of Nativity last year. In fact, as a Catholic, I’m experiencing Catholic guilt about a Nativity on a Starbucks cup. I’d feel tempted to take the cup home with me and make some kind of Christmas craft out of the Nativity image, and I have too many homemade Christmas crafts already.

But it did get me thinking about how I could incorporate religious themes into coffee cups.

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