#MerryChristmasStarbucks Exposed a Critical Nerve in the Western Church

It’s all over Facebook. You can’t miss it. Even Indiana Jones is in on it now. Starbucks removed “Merry Christmas” from their red cups (if it was ever there before). A simple change by an international company has split the Christian community in two.

Some want to “prank” Starbucks. It isn’t a boycott; quite the opposite really. The plan is to introduce ways to get Starbucks to do what it has decided not to do: acknowledge Christmas. No one is trying to close stores or hurt the company’s bottom line. The original video actually calls on Christians to bring their business to any and all Starbucks locations to reintroduce Jesus and Christmas.

The other side of the battle is annoyed that anyone would go to so much trouble over something so trivial. It’s a coffee cup. “What would Jesus do?” Start a revolution, an international prank-fest? If you don’t like it, drink your coffee somewhere else. #MerryChristmasStarbucks isn’t worth the bad publicity it produces for the church.

But is it really that simple? It never is. The fact the campaign went from a positive video on one guy’s Facebook page to negative and pocking-fun memes galore reveals how big a nerve was hit. The church just found out it has an exposed nerve, and it doesn’t have anything to do with coffee cups.

I’ll admit it, I reposted the video when I first saw it. It didn’t offend me, and I didn’t consider it disrespectful to Starbucks. It was one man’s attempt to “keep Christ in Christmas.” How could any believer in Jesus think bad about that? Because of the controversy, I’ve taken it off. Not because I’m ashamed of the post, but because I believe we have to tackle the bigger issue.

The world has changed. Remember when churches were full and pastors were considered professional, respectable members of society? Those days are gone. And though some may say we did it to ourselves, that is only a half-truth. Scripture clearly depicts how the world, and even the church, will distance itself from God, the church and biblical truth.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Scripture says the world will distance itself from #God, the #church and biblical #truth. [/tweetthis]

Starbucks’ choice to take a neutral stance on their holiday cups wasn’t a blatant anti-Christian campaign. It isn’t an attack on the Bible, the church, or morality. But for Christians, it’s just another straw in a giant haystack reminding us about the shift of the world around us.

The majority of the world believes Christians should just grin and bear it. “Suck it up, buttercup.” Christianity isn’t the fastest growing religion, its leaders have lost respect and influence, and people are allowed to make their own choices. Not to mention all that Bible stuff about loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, and the meek will inherit the Earth.

There are Christians who are getting tired of giving ground. If you aren’t in the right circles, you may not know about the constant complaining about the Bible and prayer being “kicked out” of schools. Throw in the big issues like abortion and the separation of church and state, and people get bent of shape quickly.

[tweetthis]The world is changing and some Christians are tired of giving ground. #MerryChristmasStarbucks [/tweetthis]

Usually, though, we keep it within our own circles. We don’t expect the world to understand our heart because the world’s heart is different. The campaign to inundate Starbucks with Christmas showed that some weren’t willing to take it sitting down anymore. “Not this, too! This is supposed to be the one time of the year people seem to acknowledge Jesus. If the mainstream culture doesn’t promote Jesus, what are we supposed to do?”

As the world goes from bad to worse, it is only going to happen more often. Christians are already frustrated by feeling like we’re losing ground and surrendering too much of ourselves to be politically correct or because the minority is louder than we are. Eventually the Church is going to mobilize and make noise.

I hope we can do it in love, but I know that isn’t always the case. Such displays never make the news like those who twist and misuse Scripture to attack and condemn instead of serve and point to our need for Jesus.

Maybe you’ve had a good laugh at all of the messages online kicked up by the red cup issue. Yeah, the Indiana Jones one got me good. Regardless of your take on #MerryChristmasStarbucks, consider a few questions.

  • Have you noticed the change in the world toward Christians and Christianity?
  • Does the change hit any nerve in your heart?
  • What has to happen before you choose to take action on behalf of the name of Jesus?

Try to keep one thing in mind. Far more important than any company’s choice to acknowledge Jesus is the choice you make to do it with your own life.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]What has to happen before you choose to take action on behalf of the name of #Jesus?[/tweetthis]