I call it my office. I have two of them, actually. They are both less than 10 minutes from my home. It’s not a church or a place of worship. It’s a coffee shop. It’s Starbucks. I go there often. I go there to “introvert.” I read. I listen to music. I write. I relax. I clear the space between my ears. I’ve done plenty of Bible readings there. When I taught Sunday school, I’d often prepare my lessons there.
Starbucks is not a Christian organization, although Christians do work and congregate there. It’s not uncommon to see a small Bible study group around one of their tables. Sometimes you will see believers in prayer there. People do their jobs on laptops. High school kids come in before class for their morning brew. Small children go there with their parents. Most of the employees know me by name, and I know them. They know what I do. They’ll even ask about the weather.
My point is this: I am a Christian. And I know who the enemy is. The enemy is not a coffee chain that serves hot beverages in plain red cups during November and December. The enemy is not a CEO who advocates for same-sex marriage and other left-wing causes. (I’ve actually read Howard Schultz’s book Onward twice. From a capitalist standpoint, it’s quite fascinating.) No, the enemy is a scoundrel named Lucifer. And if the spiritual warrior inside of you is distracted by the coffee cup, then the devil has gotten you to take your eye off the ball.
I have never perceived Starbucks as a threat or a hindrance to my faith. I have also never expected Starbucks to take up the mantra of my faith. As a believer, that’s my job — not theirs. I go there for two reasons: the quiet anonymity of the coffee shop environment, and, of course, the coffee. In that respect, they are the very best at what they do.
When Starbucks rolled out their traditional red cups on November 1, it never occurred to me that I should be offended. They do this every year. In years past, they have had Christmas/winter designs on the cups. This year, they are using simple red cups with no design. I honestly did not notice the lack of design until I saw it in the news. I typically don’t use their disposable cups. I have a ceramic cup of my own I use. (Actually, I have three. Two of them were given to me.) They give you a discount for using your own cup (a whopping ten cents!). My ceramic cups don’t have Christian emblems on them either, just plain white with the iconic green siren. The ceramic cups have never offended me, either.
If you are one of those people who are offended by the plain red cup, it says more about you than it does Starbucks. Your faith must be pretty small if you think the Creator, the God of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace is threatened or maligned in any way by a blank red cup. Your view of God must likewise be rather small if you perceive a blank red coffee cup as a legitimate attack on Christmas or the Christian faith. No, Starbucks hasn’t taken Christ out of Christmas because Starbucks never put Him there in the first place.
There is genuine evil in our world. There are genuine threats to humanity. Just in the United States, there is the mass killing of the unborn. There is human trafficking. There is the kidnapping and beheading of Christians by Islamic militants. We have many legitimate battles to choose from. So why waste your energy and credibility by fighting a spiritual battle against a plain red coffee cup?