It’s that time of year when the smell of pumpkin spice is being replaced with peppermint, when the sounds of holiday cheer play in department stores, eggnog coffee creamer appears in my fridge, and when someone starts again with the mythical “war on Christmas.” This year, the opening salvo came as media outlets took a video from a particularly angry individual, made him the face of “Christians,” and proceeded to construct a narrative of offended and outraged caffeine craving crusaders who believe Starbucks scrooges have banished baby Jesus.
On cue, outlets from BuzzFeed to Good Morning America carried the narrative forward. My agnostic / atheist buddies over at the Lost or Profound podcast posted Buzzfeed’s article on their Facebook page, immediately garnering comments of disapproval toward those who would be offended at Starbuck’s decision. I read plenty of posts criticizing those easily offended Christians.
There’s just one problem. With the exception of the viral video guy, and a few folks trolling the comment threads, I have yet to run into, hear from, read about, or see a single Christian who has expressed offense over Starbucks’ cups.
Zero, nil, nada, not even one.
As my doctoral colleague, fellow pastor, and good friend, Dr. David McDonald observed, “To date, I have heard zero Christians complaining about Starbucks cups. I have, however, read ten articles chastising Christians’ complaints.”
What we have here is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog.
These “wars” are primarily media constructs fueled by a few fuming folks on the fringe. The “war” between science and faith, and the “war on Christmas” are two good examples.
I’ll concede that some of the talk comes from segments of the Christian community. Some of these folks are friends and relatives of mine, and I love them very much. However, contrary to the media’s “war” narrative, such a segment does not represent the majority Evangelical voice.
To my Christian friends that do believe there is a “war on Christmas,” I simply ask, do you really think the aggressive, in-your-face, “We say Merry Christmas” approach, usually aimed at a cashier, barista, or server does much to offer a compelling, compassionate, or even reasonable invitation to a productive conversation about faith?
Do you really want to keep Christ in Christmas? Live and love like Jesus 24/7 365.
Besides, do we really need a disposable cup to proclaim the arrival of the Everlasting Father? What if we remember and represent Jesus by no longer treating one another as disposable? Perhaps if we stop trying to make a point, we would end up making a difference.