I woke up Saturday morning, drove my oldest to her SAT testing site, went to the local coffee house and settled in for some reading and blogging. Then my “what’s trending now” column on Facebook caught my eye. That’s when I saw the hashtag that immediately made me shake my head:
I quickly rattled off a status explaining the absurdity of being angry over a red cup when there are bigger problems in the world to worry about. My status joined the blogs, status updates and tweets of a million other Christians who thought it was an absurd thing to be upset over. It wasn’t worth our time.
In fact, as the weekend and the early part of the week progressed I noticed more and more Christians, even those who are notoriously outspoken about such things, saying this was a foolish thing to be upset over. What I could not find was anyone who was genuinely concerned about the Starbucks cup.
Now maybe my friends are just more chill about these things. Maybe I was just missing the occasional angry Christian tirade against all things secular. So I decided to Google it.
I found one, that’s right ONE, You-Tube video that complained about it. One video in the face of literally thousands upon thousands who were convinced this is nothing to be upset over, which got me thinking: Why all the hub-bub then? There are several possibilities that come to mind:
- This was a brilliant marketing campaign by Starbucks. Let’s create a faux outrage that will generate sympathy sales from those who wish to show their support. This is a little far-fetched for me.
- There really was an initial outcry, but many of those “Christians” have been shamed into deleting tweets and hiding under rocks. This is plausible, but I don’t think this is quite the whole of the story.
- The stereotype of the angry Christian has reached such a state that the unchurched world (and sometimes Christians too) buys it hook, line, and sinker, which leaves Christians defending their worldview or condemning foolish campaigns. Hmm, this one has merit.
If there’s anything that a red paper cup filled with hot, caffeinated goodness can teach us it’s this: we have to work hard to change the narrative about Christians. I’m tired of being identified with the angry Christian. I want us to be known for something much deeper and longer lasting. I want the Christian stereotype to be the loving Christian. This may be a pipe dream, but we can still work hard to make it happen. But to flip the narrative will take time and hard work. But I think we can start this holiday season by doing a few things:
- Buy a homeless person a meal and sit and eat with him/her.
- Volunteer to work in a soup kitchen.
- Give anonymously to someone in need, but do it in the name of Jesus.
- Smile at strangers.
- Laugh. A lot.
- Invite a lonely person to your Thanksgiving meal.
- Go Christmas caroling.
- If you are able, adopt a child. After all this is the real narrative of Christmas: God sent His son so that we could become His children.
Even if we don’t alter the prevailing stereotype, we may be able to alter one person’s view of the Christ we serve. And that’s definitely worth our time.