Starbucks Coffee Cups & Family

Back iHappy-Family-Coffee-Art-Wallpapern 1998 I made a horrible life decision… actually I’d been making horrible decisions for over 20 years by that point, but this one horrible life decision was made more memorable due to the fact that it got me 7 years in the state pen.  Very few peop

le who had been part of my life prior to this point remained a part of my life after this, and even worse, some who I had once been close with now became my greatest detractors.  Not that they didn’t have legitimate ammunition to hurt me with, it was just surprising that they chose to hurt me after we’d been so close.

But there were two groups of people who did stick by me in this time: my earthly family, and my new church family.  My earthly family; my mom and dad; my sisters and their husbands- these were the ones who stuck by me closer than a brother.  Not that I hadn’t given them ammunition to lob at me- not that my dumb decisions didn’t affect them- not that I had been so good to them that they were just returning the favor… quite the opposite, in fact.  I had been a lousy son and brother.  But my family stuck beside me.  They defended me.  They refused to disassociate themselves from me because we were from the same blood and they loved me.  This is what family does, right?

Now, let’s flash forward into 2015 to just a few days ago when Joshua Feuerstein declares holy war on Starbucks and their minimalist design holiday coffee cups.  Does he have a point? I don’t know.  Am I going to drink Starbucks this year? No- but full disclosure, I wasn’t going to drink it anyway.  I am a Sheetz coffee kind of guy and I brew Eight O’Clock coffee cups in my Keurig.  I’ve seen some other stuff from Josh and I’ve agreed with him at times and at others thought maybe he’d gone farther with something than I might have… but I digress because Josh isn’t really my point… the reaction to Josh is what I’m concerned about today.

I’m not surprised at all that the world would be bothered by Josh or that they would turn and attack him in response- I mean, come on! Josh has attacked an icon of the liberal pantheon- we have to expect that he’ll be crucified by the world for this.

What has surprised me, though, is the way so many of the family have not only disagreed with Josh but gone out of their way to openly and sarcastically criticize Josh in an attempt to distance themselves from him.  Other Christian brothers and sisters are openly and publicly attacking what they see as a horrible faith decision on his part and holding him up to their friends and holding him up to the world and saying: “See here! See this guy and his bad decision? I am a Christian but I’m not one of THESE Christians!”

And it’s not just Josh; it’s Kim Davis; it’s Kirk Cameron; it’s The Duggars.  Day after day I see my spiritual family taking to social media and crucifying other members of my family; holding up some of their bad decisions and their unpleasant pasts and their cherry-picked sound bites and telling the rest of the world: “Look here guys- I love Jesus- but it’s His family I don’t like.  I’m not like THEM.”  And what are we trying to accomplish by this? Some say they’re trying to win credibility with their culture; trying to get the world to see our faith in a more genuine light.” And it’s possible that this is part of the motivation… but is openly mocking and sarcastically criticizing someone covered by the same Savior’s blood as you, is this really the way we’re called to do this? Would we really do this if we really believed we were family with Josh and Kim and Kirk?

Maybe what we want more than credibility is acceptance.  We want the world to accept us.  We don’t want to experience shame.  Some of us go to bed at night telling ourselves that if ISIS has us down there on that sandy beach with a knife to our throats we’d give our lives to be associated with Jesus.  Then we wake up in the morning and post mocking and sarcastic memes about Josh Feuerstein’s Starbucks campaign on Facebook because while we believe we’d die for Christ we don’t want to suffer even the least bit of shame by admitting we might be associated with some other members of Christ’s family.  Aren’t we even the least bit afraid to attack and wage war against God’s church or any member of it?  James says in his epistle that even the demons shudder when they think about the power of Almighty God.  And while the fear those demons have doesn’t stop them from attacking the church they do so knowing full well it puts them in conflict with the Eternal God. But somehow pride blinds us believers from understanding this same truth… and I would say to us that we should be more careful.

This trend of believers attacking other believers and publically distancing themselves from them- it has to stop.  The world sees this and even if your stand wins you the respect and love of the world what have you really won? Friendship with the world is enmity toward God.  The light in this world is at war with the darkness and it’s a war we can win only through the power of God.  Be careful friends, that you don’t mistake the battle lines and end up fighting on 2 fronts; to do so threatens us all.

Do I agree with Josh about what Starbucks is doing? I don’t really know… but is it an important enough issue to make me deny him as family and lob my grenades at HIM instead of the real enemy? No.  Family sticks with family.  If you love Jesus you have to love his family, too- warts and all.

If you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
(Galatians 5:15–16, NASB95)