NOTE: I am deviating a bit from my usual posts to share something close to my heart. As a Christian, I have been a bit hurt by the recent social-media backlash against us following the Starbucks coffee cup nonsense and the tragic events in Paris. This is my reponse. If this kind of post is not your cup of tea, you don’t have to read it.
In 2015, it seems we have finally reached the point where we as American are offended by everything. We are drowning in a sea of political correctness, so afraid to offend someone, we won’t even say “Merry Christmas” for fear of offending a non-Christian.
While several news sources blew the red cup story out of proportion when they said a bunch of Christian groups and Evangelical Christians (essentially lumping all Christians into one group of “crazy people”) are boycotting Starbucks, the cups made INTERNATIONAL news. Really? It’s a cup, people. And trust me when I say that most Christians, myself included, really and truly don’t care and think this whole thing is ridiculous (here’s the link to the story about this). Unfortunately, despite that fact that many Christians don’t care about the red cups, they have received a lot of backlash on social media from non-Christians using this as a means of denouncing Christianity and religion in general. “This is why Christianity is bad!” or some variation of that.
I have also seen people use the attacks in Paris as a way of denouncing religion. “No one has ever blown themselves up in the name of atheism,” one post read. Another read something to the effect of, “Christians, remember that for several hundred years, you were considered terrorists.” The post included a painting of Christian crusaders. First of all, Christians are not the ones who terrorized innocent people in Paris. Secondly, will you please stop bringing up the Crusader argument? It happened a long time ago. Not all Christians are like that. Very few Christians go around killing people anymore. Let it go. Lastly, whatever opinion one Christian has about an issue that matters to you is NOT the opinion of every single Christian. Please stop assuming that it is. Gross overgeneralizations are petty and unfair.
Please explain to me how stereotyping Christians is different from stereotyping all Muslim as being the same as ISIS? Plenty of people are saying it’s not okay to lump Muslims in with ISIS, but where are the people saying it’s wrong to lump all Christians in with those who make a stink about Starbucks Cups or cry and moan about people not saying, “Merry Christmas”?
It is true that a small (as in, not ALL of us) group of Christians have made the rest of us look bad when they decide to make a huge viral stink about something they’ve been offended by. While we are biblically called to defend our faith (1 Timothy 4:1-22, Titus 1:9), we are told to do so with patience and love. This is especially clear in 2 Timothy 2:24, which states:
“And the Lord’s servantmust not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” [Emphasis mine]
I think some Christians need to take a good hard look at themselves and the bible before they choose to raise a stink about the color of a coffee cup or any other issue. There are far better and more important issues that we as Christians should be dealing with. Besides, boycotting Starbucks and creating angry tweets or videos is not showing non-believers what it means to be a good Christian. It is not loving or kind or gentle. It is selfish and it is making good Christians who are truly living the Christian life look bad. If you’re trying to bring people back to the faith, you’re doing it wrong.
This holiday season, I think we Christians should all remember and take to heart Jesus’ greatest commandment from Matthew 22:37-39:
37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”