A couple of years ago Starbucks’ CEO made it clear that those of us who believe in traditional marriage weren’t welcome customers. When I learned about it, I decided to oblige. I’m not big into boycotts. Sometimes they have an effect. Most times they don’t. I just decided I really didn’t want to give my money to a company that directly and explicitly opposes my values.
Now there’s a new controversy brewing. Apparently Starbucks has removed any reference to Christmas from it’s new holiday cups. I can’t get too bothered. They’ve already said people who hold a view common to anyone who actually believes the Bible aren’t welcome, so why wouldn’t they cater to the customer base they have chosen?
What we need to ask ourselves as Christians is what is to be gained by getting all hot under the lid about this? I’ve read people are doing silly things like giving their name as “Merry Christmas” among other obnoxious displays of utterly unchristian behavior. How does that improve our witness? Howe does that spread the Gospel? Who wants to get to know a leader who’s followers act like jerks?
If you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t go. Forego your Frappuccino. Lay down your latte. I’ve already said I think most boycotts are ineffective, but it is true that if enough people stay away, it will be noticed. Some have been successful.
Of course we should be standing up for our faith. We should stand up to cultural bullies who try to run us out of public places. However we should never forget our mission. In our zeal to defend our faith, let us remember what that faith requires of us.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 43 You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:38-45 NASB)
That sounds a lot different than the things I read about. How about this? If you choose to go to Starbucks this season, do it with a smile. Leave a nice tip in the jar. Just say, “Merry Christmas.” If they’re not too busy, engage your barista in friendly conversation. Let everyone around you see what Jesus would really be like if He were there. There’s no promise you’ll always be loved. He wasn’t. But don’t drive people away with obnoxious and generally unfruitful behavior that reflects poorly on you and only hurts people who have little or no power to change the things you don’t like.