The Thing About this Red Cup

red cup

Yeah, I guess I’ll go there, mainly because we’ve all heard about it. If you have not, here’s a post that has links to a representative from Starbucks and the link to Joshua Feuerstein’s original video. There are some conspiracy theories out there, trying to make light of it. Along the way, it seems like people have just chalked it up to a media frenzy and have stayed rather indifferent by it.

Feuerstein is unmoved and thinks that this “campaign” has caused Starbucks to think twice:

“I think Starbucks has gotten the message that the Christian majority in this country has awakened and are demanding that our voice be heard.”

The Christian majority has “awakened,” because of a red Starbucks cup? Really?

Feuerstein’s protest is already hijacked, though. Here is the logic:

  • Starbucks sells coffee; a lot of coffee.
  • Feuerstein wants to confront Starbucks by having people go buy coffee and insist that their name is “Merry Christmas” and by doing so “tricking” Starbucks into saying Merry Christmas.
  • Starbucks makes the same money no matter what name is on the red cup and is enjoying the outcry of disappointed people continuing to buy their coffee so the customer can put a picture up on Instagram where most of his/her followers already agree with their political/religious/consumer choices.

Don’t mind us, watching world, for nothing is really changing, here.

Feuerstein’s “religious expression” is occupied by consumerism. To play his game, you need to spend your money. Here is the irony: Christians are bemoaning about how Christmas has been reduced to consumerism in recent days. Joshua is asking people to consume more for the sake of Christmas.

I guess that I’m not surprised that this is awakening much of anything.

A couple of books were released a few years back examining the way a culture moves from point A to point B. Each of them compelling in their own right:

Andy Crouch’s Culture Making

James Davidson Hunter’s To Change the World

Each of these illustrate just how difficult and complex it is to predict when seismic culture change happens and how one might even suggest that they can “start a movement,” as Feuerstein suggests this could do in his video.

All of us, yes even those who take home videos with smart phones, are a small part in the complex connection of gears that move our cultures forward. To suggest that a video and words on a cup can be the pivot of change is a bit strange to imagine. This may “lionize” Feuerstein’s congregation or friends list, it might get him some air time on the media for a week, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be changing much.

I hope that Joshua starts using his name on his cup soon. Mainly because, it’s a good name. A name that his parents chose out of the list of possibilities when they lifted him in the air when he was born. And, to be honest, giving energy to building lives in our families and communities seems to have a more lasting impression than much of anything else these days.



Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

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