Monday, November 9, 2015

White Mocha Rage and Its Proponents

It seems outrage is fairly cheap these days. You've probably seen the reports: "Some Christians Are Extremely Unhappy About Starbucks' New Holiday Cups."

Really? 

I find it hard to believe that any serious-minded follower of Jesus is upset that Starbucks, a decidedly left-leaning corporation, has removed stylized snowflakes and cartoon snowmen from their disposable cups—as if those things constituted a strong gospel message and souls were coming to faith in Christ at the bottom of an eggnog latté. Starbucks is hardly attacking Christmas. The cups are still red and green, the traditional colors of the holiday, and there still available only during the commercial Christmas season. 

Something doesn't smell right about these news stories. It seems there's much ado about nothing, which in and of itself would not be so unusual. Who are the Christians who want to step up the arms race in the war on Christmas? As far as I can tell, this whole thing started with a selfie video made by Joshua Feuerstein, a former pastor turned self-proclaimed "social media personality." Some apparently sketchy things in his personal theology and his approach aside, watch the video for yourself and decide if his outrage is not just an attempt to draw attention to himself, to make his video go viral. 

There are two stories here. One is that there are people out there taken in by this sort of thing, who would see the Starbucks red and green cup, and believe their love for Jesus is being ridiculed. It's not, so that's just sad. 

But the second story is bigger: There is power in the media inflating a story beyond all necessary proportions. Do you know why we're talking about this faux controversy? Because in just 48 hours, the media has fanned the flames, and the perception now exists that this is an actual issue in the evangelical church. It's not. Just stop it. The church may overreact at times, but we're really not doing so on this one. At least not the vast majority of us. 

The next time you're in Starbucks, don't tell the barista your name is "Merry Christmas" so he writes it on your cup. Just wish him a merry Christmas and pray that the Lord would open a way to serve him in the name of Christ so he'd know you mean it.

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