A week ago, I read about some Christians who were up in arms about the new Starbucks holiday cup which had no reference to Christmas. No holly. No reindeer. No baby Jesus chugging a latte. It was just a red cup with a Starbucks logo.
(It is quite the aesthetically pleasing design)
I was ready to fire up my keyboard with a blog, but then I read the story and thought, "This is dumb; so, so dumb. Surely most people are not going to freak out about this." So I decided to wait and see how this all played out. Sure, that decision deprived me of a hot take and maybe some additional traffic to my blog, but, honestly, I have written plenty of War on Christmas-themed "This is why these people are screwing up Christianity for all of us" posts. And I'm beginning to think that I and others like me may be taking a little bit too much pleasure in writing those kinds of things.
And you know what? I'm glad I waited because most people that I have seen on social networks have not freaked out. They haven't gone on the warpath ranting about how they--that evil, nefarious group out there--are trying to annihilate Christmas. Sure there are exceptions that have trolled, kicked, and screamed. There always are. But I think people, for the most part, have been quite reasonable. Starbucks is an international company that serves people of a variety of faiths and no faiths at all. A simple red cup makes sense for them.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is good stuff. We can build on this. And when I say we, I mean all of us Christians. Across the spectrum. Liberals, conservatives, moderates. The people who like Hillary. The people who like Trump. The people who pray to God that some other option might come along. Liturgy lovers. Modern worshippers. The gamut. I like to think that we can still consider ourselves a we even among our disagreements. If there's ever a time of year in which we can do that, it's Advent and Christmas.
The bad news, of course, is the media still ran with this story. I don't think this is because of some vast conspiracy. It is simply because people acting crazy always makes for an interesting news story. That is never going to stop. And the reality is, we as Christians are always going to have to deal with some bro pastor with a YouTube page or someone else making the Christian faith look bad.
So what do we do? How do we build off this reasonable reaction? Christians, from every corner, must proactively live in such a way that the rantings of the minority seem completely at odds with how our neighbors have experienced people of the Christian faith. We should live in such a way that if someone does something that demeans someone or if they kick and scream when they don't get their way that people would say, "Yeah, that doesn't sound like the Christians that I know."
This means doing many of the things that are Christianity 101. Loving our neighbor. Having humble spirits. Disagreeing with respect. Not demonizing people. Not playing the victim. Serving. And, again, loving our neighbor. I know that is a long range plan and one that will not completely work. But there are many people who have bought the Redcupageddon Freak Out as representative of Christianity even though it is not. That should concern us. And it should concern us because it means we have earned some of that assumption.
Thus we must undo much of what we have done by loving as Christ loved. Not because it will be better PR for us and people will like us better, but because it is what we are supposed to do in the first place. Thank you to all who have not freaked out because of a red cup. We can build off of this.