Good grief. We've gotten ourselves into quite the 'discussion' over the past few days. Let's take a moment to recall how we got to this point...
Starbucks released a cup for the holidays. It was a minimalist design which included traditional Christmas colors - primarily red - and did not include snowflakes, doves, wreaths or any other traditional Christmas symbols as have been used in some cases in the past.
In response, a man named Joshua Feuerstein uploaded a video to Facebook where he decried the style of the cup as an indication of the anti-Christmas agenda of Starbucks, along with their 'refusal' to say Merry Christmas.
This has led to quite the social media firestorm. Our nation has not been so concerned about the color of an object since a certain dress from earlier this year.
We're now at the point where backlash has resulted against not only Starbucks, but also against Feuerstein himself and those who agree with him. Many Christians reject his 'culture war' viewpoint. I've heard the word ignorant ascribed to him numerous times.
That catches us up and now, let's just take a time out.
Simmer down now.
Take a deep breath.
Check yoself before you wreck yoself.
I'm going to remind you of some stuff you already know.
1.You don't control other people, but you control yourself.
You are not responsible for what other people think/believe.
If a person feels that a minimalist red cup insults their faith, that says a lot more about themselves than it does about you.
And if a person feels their faith requires them to blast the 'cup people' on social media or in conversation with friends, that also says a lot about who they are.
I don't know Joshua Feuerstein's story. He feels that Starbuck's actions threaten his faith. I don't feel that way, but he does. Maybe there's a reason for that.
Nadia Bolz-Weber speaks in Accidental Saints of a man who lived in fear of the Rapture through his childhood because his parents used it as a behaviour manipulation plan (you better be acting good when the Rapture happens, or you'll be left behind). I've seen the results of spiritual manipulation in families where it was applied - it leaves a deep wound.
I'm not trying to condescendingly say that Joshua Feuerstein is acting out of spiritual abuse. I'm simply saying he has a reason for his opinion. And that those who feel the need to attack him have a reason for what they are doing.
Whichever stance you think is wrong, then you need to realize it doesn't have to affect you. Instead of worrying about other people's issues, we were instructed by Jesus to worry about our own issues.
Let people's issues be their own issues.
2.You don't have to take sides.
You don't have to attack Feuerstein or those who are attacking Feuerstein.
Both Feuerstein and his critics are (in my viewpoint) trying to honor God. They are both seeking to protect God's reputation in this world.
I follow Jesus, and I believe that God loves me - so if somebody has a motivation of honoring God, I can connect with them in that area. God loves people who hate Starbucks cups and God loves people who are angry at people who hate Starbucks cups.
If Jesus walked this earth today, I think he'd be too busy hanging out in red light districts, orphanages, bars and elsewhere to overly concern himself with flipping tables at Starbucks or blasting people on Facebook.
In fact, Luke 13 tells of a situation where Pontius Pilate killed people in the middle of a worship service. Instead of getting political, or blasting how people were responding to it, Jesus essentially says, 'don't get distracted. You should be focusing on your own relationship with God'.
I could picture Jesus being informed of the cups and the way some are angrily decrying this position and simply reminding us what our purpose is.
3. Christianity has survived attacks from without and foolishness from within for a long time.
Listen, if you're a huge justice person and either of the two sides, the cuppists or the anti-cuppists, are burning your biscuits, then can I remind you that you are not God's defending or avenging angel?
The body of Christ has survived persecution and corruption on a level far beyond what this debate involves.
Your job is to love God, and God says he wants you to love people.
If you can't do it for them, then do it for yourself. Remember Jesus clearly teaches us that we will only receive as much grace as we give. So if you find yourself in a place where you have to give ton of grace, rejoice! That means you have an opportunity to increase the level of grace in your own life!
Christmas is literally all about God being willing to meet us where we're at. Let's heed that example and pour grace and acceptance into all our interactions with other people, whether it's a barista at Starbucks, an angry evangelist on Facebook or people who you're discussing this whole thing with.