• Devin Gackle

Sometimes...A cup is just a cup.


Photo Credit: Lisa Fotios

Outrageous statement, I know. But if you ask me, we shouldn't even have to be talking about this in the first place. The color and lack of pattern on a COFFEE CUP.

If you want reindeer on your cup, go buy a mug with reindeer on it. Or, better yet, draw some on your red Starbucks cup - because that was the original intention. As far as I can tell, Starbucks is encouraging people to get creative and create their own designs: "In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs...This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories." (Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks VP of Design & Content). A lot of people have one or both of two problems: 1. getting way too technical, and/or 2. taking offense where none was meant. Call me crazy, but I don't think Starbucks set out to offend anyone. But apparently trying not to offend others is offensive to some people. People like ex-televangelist Joshua Feurstein, who thought it would be a good idea to claim that "Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus." NO OFFENSE DUDE, but that is just an ignorant statement. Unfortunately, this guy has a lot of followers. Oh, and apparently we are all highly-intelligent, humanoid-functioning zombies, because Feurstein also said, "I think in the age of political correctness we've become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our heads." LITERALLY, you guys. Our brains have literally exited our skull-cases. And what's wrong with being open-minded? Close-mindedness is a huge problem in the world; close-mindedness is a barrier to acceptance and tolerance. I mean, he is obviously dedicated to his faith, which is important, but I don't understand why he's so offended. Statements like the ones he's made make me sad, because that's NOT what Christianity is about, and it just gives haters more reason to hate on Christianity. Here's a thought: Jesus would not be offended by these coffee cups, so neither should we. The good news is, not everyone believes in the alleged "War on Christmas." Many people, Christians especially, have made very valid points, such as: 1. These cups will be thrown away at some point. Likely within a couple hours. 2. The symbols that are no longer on the cups weren't even Christian symbols to begin with. 3. No one should expect a mainstream company to uphold religious beliefs. 4. Coffee cups don't have anything to do with Jesus... For my part, I don't think Jesus gives a flying weaselmonkey about coffee cups. I think he cares about how we treat each other; I think he cares especially about how people who call themselves Christians conduct themselves. Even if Starbucks did hate Jesus, lashing out at them would not be the appropriate response, Christian or not. And as a Lutheran (which is a branch of Christianity), I think we've lost sight of one of the most basic lessons - one we start learning from a young age. What would Jesus do? Does anyone remember those WWJD bracelets? Maybe we should start digging those out. Maybe it will help us to remember to treat others with respect and love and kindness, maybe we'll learn not to take offense so easily, and maybe, just maybe, we'll remember that there are much bigger problems in the world than a frigging coffee cup. Maybe it's fun for some people to stir up trouble and make false accusations that start controversies, maybe it's fun to get involved in the debate. But it creates a problem where there doesn't need to be one, and detracts from the real problems. Christmas is a time of giving, joy, and peace, a time to remember to love one another, not scorn each other, or lash out at each other in misplaced hatred. I think we too often forget how much other people matter. A cup is just a cup when it's not Christmas. But it just so happens that a cup is also just a cup when it is Christmas. The End.