A tempest in a coffee cup


November 9, 2015 by jmar198013

So the latest thing churning through the Social Media Outrage Machine is the new Starbucks holiday cups.


This latest scandal has been brought to us by a fellow named Joshua Frankenstein. Oops, I stand corrected. Feuerstein. Sorry, I couldn’t help it. He’s unleashed a monster.

Other day, Feuerstein–who must lead one of the most unfulfilled existences on the face of creation–posted this video, which predictably went viral.

You know, viral is a fitting term for this sort of stuff. It raises my temperature, elevates my blood pressure, and leaves me feeling disoriented, and bloated.

Anyway, apparently Starbucks’ new generic red cups proves that the purveyors of burnt syrupy coffee products not only hate good coffee, they also hate baby Jesus.

Among other things, Feuerstein makes the audacious claim that “Starbucks isn’t allowed to say, Merry Christmas.

Really, Josh? Starbucks isn’t allowed to say, Merry Christmas? Like the whole corporation– from CEO Howard Schultz, down to the baristas you see every morning as you order your tall blonde or whatever they’ve got going these days–is forbidden from uttering those two words? I mean, that’s a pretty big statement there, buddy. Will it survive even the most cursory fact-checking? Is it official, written Starbucks policy? Who told Starbucks they weren’t allowed to say, Merry Christmas? The Politically Correct Police? The League of Extraordinary Tolerance? Our Gay Muslim Socialist Not-from-Here Black President? Who would make such a wicked decree?

Feuerstein concludes his rant about how Starbucks hates Jesus by pulling out a handgun. Because, you know, guns. Guns and Jesus–that’s what it’s all about, right?

I mean, this scandal even comes with its very own mark of official scandalness these days: a hashtag. #MerryChristmasStarbucks

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Okay–I’ll quit ripping Feuerstein a new one. Poor fellow needs our prayers more than anything right now. He’s a victim of the Outrage Machine, too. Anyone who seriously suggests that an appropriate response to “being so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out” is to “trick” employees of a corporate coffee dispensary into writing Merry Christmas on their cups, then whipping out a handgun, is obviously on the brown acid drinking the Kool Aid in desperate need of psychological help  taking the easy route to internet celebrity status committing a misunderstanding.

Why is it that we Christians feel the need to jump from crisis to crisis, scandal to scandal, each one the WORST THING IN THE WORLD EVER? And if we don’t have such a scandal at hand, we create one.

Somehow, I seriously doubt that Jesus–whom I believe is God in flesh come to redeem all creation–but Jesus, born to an unwed teenage mother; raised by this mother and a blue collar father; who were poor; in an occupied nation; in a backwater town not on anyone’s map; lynched as a dangerous agitator by the authorities . . . I just can’t fathom that Jesus calling his followers to launch a frontal assault on a coffee bar chain for not appropriately acknowledging his nativity.

He already got angels and shepherds and magi to do that.

All this scandal-making isn’t from God, y’all. It comes from another source entirely. As it is written: Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh (Matt. 18.7, Douay-Rheims). I assure y’all, sisters and brothers, this scandal isn’t Starbucks’ doing. It’s being perpetrated by the Christian cogs of the Outrage Machine.

I am reminded, as I watch so many Christians being lured from one scandal to another, of something that Rene Girard–who died just last week–wrote for First Things nearly 20 years ago (and if you’re not familiar with Girard, I implore you to read the entire article):

If we choose Jesus as our model, we simultaneously choose his own model, God the Father. Having no appropriative desire, Jesus proclaims the possibility of freedom from scandal. But if we choose possessive models we find ourselves in endless scandals, for our real model is Satan. A seductive tempter who suggests to us the desires most likely to generate rivalries, Satan prevents us from reaching whatever he simultaneously incites us to desire. He turns into a diabolos (another word that designates the obstacle/model of mimetic rivalry). Satan is skandalon personified, as Jesus makes explicit in his rebuke of Peter.

These scandals aren’t from God. They’re not from Jesus. They’re the devil’s way of controlling us, getting us off task, making God’s people look stupid.

See–I’ve just wasted 719 words addressing this foolishness.

Sisters and brothers, stop crying about putting the Christ back in Christmas. We gotta start by putting the Christ back in Christians.


2 thoughts on “A tempest in a coffee cup

  1. […] “Christians are offended by Starbucks’ generic Christmas cups.” In response, the Christian outrage machine fired up, angry that other Christians were getting so angry. “Starbucks is […]

  2. […] story that “Christians are offended by Starbucks’ generic Christmas cups.” In response, the Christian outrage machine fired up, angry that other Christians were getting so angry. “Starbucks is not […]

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