I’m pausing my 12 Steps series to join the crowd crowing over Starbucks Christmas cups. If you’re as tired of hearing about this as I am, you may tune out here. I totally get it.
First off, I don’t actually care about Starbucks cups. This post isn’t really about Starbucks at all. It’s about an epiphany I had last summer on a mission trip to Honduras. This whole Starbucks debacle (like the Target gender-labeling debacle earlier this year) simply reminds me of that time, that realization, that truth that was never more clear to me than it was in Honduras.
We spent a week in Honduras. I raised the money to build a house in memory of my friend, Natalie. Our group did a little bit of everything while there, and I’m planning to return this summer. I can’t wait.
I felt alive in Honduras in a way I rarely feel in America. And that isn’t because I hate America (far from it, actually) or because I have some ancestral connection to Central America (nope, I’m Dutch). Being in Honduras focused my faith and my heart in a way I struggle to replicate in the land of abundance… the land of excess… the land of outrage over Starbucks Christmas cups.
While in Honduras, a couple of things happened in America that had my Facebook feed hopping mad. It doesn’t even matter what those things were. Everyone was mad and taking a side over one issue or the other.
The Internet access in our hotel was spotty, and I had trouble logging on in the evenings. So I went a few days with no real time spent on Facebook. I’d manage to send a picture or two through Instagram and then the wifi would fail. It wasn’t worth fighting my phone to scroll Facebook posts, so I mostly didn’t.
Then, one evening, I was sitting in bed, and the wifi was rolling right along, so I checked into Facebook. People were outraged over the two issues mentioned above.
I rolled my eyes.
It’s not that I don’t have opinions on the issues that incense American Christians (or Americans in general). It’s not that there is no merit behind some of the feelings and arguments that fly all over social media on a regular basis. I have lots of opinions and sometimes I am willing to have a conversation about them (a conversation, not a debate about who is right and why one of us is going to hell and one of us is a saint).
But right then, sitting on a bed in a Honduran hotel, it all seemed incredibly ridiculous.
Americans have the luxury of outrage.You and I can take the time to freak out over something like the design of a Starbucks cup. We can afford to buy coffee from Starbucks. We can afford to buy coffee. Period.Click To Tweet
You and I can take the time to freak out over something like the design of a Starbucks cup. We can afford to buy coffee from Starbucks. We can afford to buy coffee. Period.
There I was in Honduras, spending my days on top of a mountain, building homes that consist of one small square room, one door, and one window. The people moving into these homes were practically sobbing with gratitude, and I was going home to almost 3000 square feet of a house with central heat and air and running water and a fridge stocked with food and three pets with their own bellies full and kids who have two loving parents and never have known a true need in their entire lives.
I couldn’t work up the least bit of passion for the topics my friends were arguing over. Again, not because I didn’t care, but because all of my energy was focused on the people around me. I was talking with people about how to better educate the young girls of the village. How do we help them have better self-esteem? How do we help them see they deserve better? These girls had babies on their hips at 14 because some guy made them feel good and bought them food and clothing.
That is also a problem in America. How do we raise strong women who value themselves and are not judged for the shape of their bodies? How do we put an end to rape culture?
How do we feed the hungry and clothe the naked and heal the sick?
Getting upset about Starbucks cups is a luxury not afforded to most of the world. Christians being murdered by ISIS? Ask them if it matters about snowmen or ornaments on a cup of coffee. They know what persecution is. Most of us have no idea.Getting upset about Starbucks cups is a luxury not afforded to most of the world.Click To Tweet
I mean, come on, y’all. You know better. You KNOW Jesus told us to care for the least of these, and you know Starbucks does not count as the least of these. You know good and well Jesus isn’t sitting up in Heaven freaking out about some red cups. We don’t even know when the man’s birthday really was, and something tells me he would want us to celebrate his life by emulating him all the way unto death, not by insisting our coffee cups look festive.
I just… I can’t even.
These are some previous Christmas cups from Starbucks.How do any of THOSE cups represent Jesus?
They don’t. They celebrate winter and gift giving and the secular side of our winter holidays.
Did people get upset about those cups and I missed it?
But that is beside the point. I don’t care if every Starbucks cup for the last decade proclaimed “Jesus Christ is Lord of All,” and this year they deleted it. It just doesn’t matter.
People are dying in wars and famine and drought and poverty of every kind.
Mass shootings are a daily occurrence in our country.
The foster care system is bursting at the seams.
Our healthcare systems and our education systems need a lot of reform.
Suicide exists. People everyday live feeling they aren’t worth the air they breathe. So they stop themselves from breathing it.
When Christians have taken care of all of that. When no one is hungry or naked or lonely…
Then talk to me about Starbucks Christmas cups.