By now, most of us have heard about the recent controversy over Starbucks’ new solid red cups.
It all began when Joshua Feurstein, an Evangelical pastor, posted a video about the new red cups, which he believes represents a war on Christ, Christianity, and Christmas. Prior cup designs featured Christmas themes, like snowflakes and reindeer, but this year’s cup is plain, which he finds problematic.
His solution? Order a drink under the name “Merry Christmas” as a way to force Starbucks to acknowledge Christmas on their cups. Not only that, but this Evangelical pastor also suggested Christians should somehow boast and share their successes in forcing Starbucks to write “Merry Christmas” on social media.
No one doubts Mr. Feurstein’s zeal, but it’s clearly misdirected.
His main goal is to force a multinational corporation to acknowledge Christ, but his method is contrary to the Gospel. Lying about one’s name and then boasting about it on social media don’t exactly reflect Christ’s message in the Gospel. Similarly, our Savior did not command us to preach to corporations by force and deceit, but rather, to preach to people by words and deeds.
We are not spreading the Gospel or manifesting Christ’s Church by fighting over the designs of cups, because the fullness of Christianity is not found in such things. The saintly confessor, Fr. George Calciu, tells us where Christianity is to be found:
You are in Christ’s Church whenever you uplift someone bent down in sorrow, when you help someone elderly walk more easily, or when you give alms to the poor and visit the sick. You are in Christ’s Church when you cry out, “Lord, help me.” You are in Christ’s Church when you are patient and good, when you refuse to get angry with your brother, even if he has wounded your feelings. You are in Christ’s Church when you pray, “Lord, forgive him.” When you work honestly at your job, returning home weary in the evenings but with a smile upon your lips, bringing with you a warm and kind light; when you repay evil with love — you are in Christ’s Church.
If we could spend more time doing those things, we will have far more success at manifesting Christianity and changing the world than Starbucks would have had with snowflake and reindeer designs.
We need to remember that Christianity is not found on a Starbucks cup, but rather, it is found in the cup of the Lord’s Body and Blood, which He shed to acquire us as His Church and His living presence in the world. Let us draw people’s attention to that chalice and bring the whole world to it.