Friday, October 21, 2005

COFFEE CUP JESUS


For all you Rick Warren groupies out there- this spring you will want to flock to your nearest Starbucks to get your collector cup of coffee with an uplifting God quote from the megachurch guru.

According to Beliefnet "it will be the first mention of God in the company's provocative quote campaign, The Way I See It."

Now I don't have a problem with putting inspiring quotes on coffee cups and selling them. It's a fact that if it's a good thing and it's marketable, someone will find a way to sell it.

But come on!!! Warren's aggreement to put a quote on the cup is just a great example of how the Christian faith has been coopted by consumerism and in many ways can be disconnected from any sense of tradition.

How presumptious to think that what a person needs in life is to go to Starbucks, buy a cup of coffee and read an inspiring quote about God.

By putting God on a coffee cup we neuter God, disconnecing God and neighbor from any sense of community, replacing bread and wine (juice for us good methodists) for coffee and bagels.

I'm not going to come down too hard on Warren, I'm sure the decision was purpose driven, but it's just one more example of the Church allowing culture to define us and not be that alternative community that models the practices and way of life of Jesus, in community.

15 comments:

Scott said...

I would think Starbucks would go with John Milbank quotes, just imagine the size of the cup you would need to get one of his quotes on there.

Twain was correct that the truth is really always stranger than fiction. Who would have ever imagined this?

St.Phransus said...

i heard they wanted to go with hauerwas, but was having a hard time keeping it appropriate and clean. the one they almost went with was, "IF IT WEREN'T FOR JESUS I'D BE A VIOLENT SON OF B@%$#".

too bad, I would have definitely bought that one!!!

Kevin D. Johnson said...

Of course, this is being done because Starbucks had such a negative reaction from their recent quote on homosexuality--I think they are trying to lure conservative Christians back who were offended by the other cup.

And many will no likely oblige. How ridiculously Christians allow themselves to be manipulated in our consumer-driven culture.

jay baehr said...

St. Phransus...

I feel your frustration. Your statement of 'Christian faith has been coopted by consumerism' has been rattling around in my head lately.

You, living in Nashville and it being the Christian Music Mecca, must run into this consumeristic world quite often. The one time I visited I couldn't help but notice very vocal Christian people rocking $200 jeans. Any thoughts?

Zoomdaddy said...

I suppose for me, the problem isn't whether or not there's a Rick Warren quote on my Skinny Latte Grande, the problem is if he is making money off of it. And that not in the "don't muzzle the ox" kind of way, but in a "let's bundle this operating system with everyone's computer thus creating a de facto monopoly" kind of way.

(On a sidenote, didn't the whole Starbucks thing orginiate with anti-corporate grunge types going to coffee shops? My how things change!)

Brian Russell said...

Interesting post. Do we know the actual quotation?

What does it say about the culture and its relationship to Christianity when Starbucks passes on the first 2000 years of Christian witnesses in favor of a quote from the Megachurch?

DannyG said...

You may remember the billboards which were up a few years ago with the -GOD- tag line. e.g. "Don't make me come down there" or
"What part of Thou shall not did you not understand?" I didn't know what to make of them at first, but I did find that my wife and I started to look for new ones as we traveled and to comment on them as we road. Maybe that is the point. I would like to see the quote before I criticize too much, especially if it gets someone thinking about Christ who would otherwise not have done so.

gavin richardson said...

in a logistical thought, is it going to be on the cup or on the little cardboard warmer holder thing? if it's on the cup then if you are like me you'd cover it with the holder thingy.

not to worry, i'm a Christmas and Easter starbucks person, so it'll probably have a festive cup for those times.

thinking of the quotes, will it be rick pulling quotes from the scriptures? or is it some timeless quote of a saint? or is saint rick going to espouse words of wisdom?

i see it now, saint rick, patron saints of expensive coffee drinkers.

jason said...

i'm ready for the mega-church pastor action figures

i hope rick warren is available with a kung-fu grip and minuature new american standard words of jesus in red letter bible

St.Phransus said...

i hear that it's going to be quotes from the purpose driven life.

Michael said...

Throughout history, the Church has taken hold of pagan symbols and incorporated them into a Christian thought or tradition. One need look only as far as Christmas and its symbolism such as the Christmas tree.

I'm not so sure this is a bad thing even as I agree that Christ's Church needs to remain (or get back to being) a sanctuary from the world.

John said...

Pardon me for getting off topic, but Jason has a brilliant idea. Action figures! I can't believe that no one has ever thought of this before! A church playset with action figures!

jason said...

while we are off topic (thanks john) i think that each of the action figures has to have a super-power like Robert Schuller can beat the bad guys with his powers of positive thinking and Joel Osteen can blind people with his brilliant smile etc.

Zoomdaddy said...

John,

Regarding action figures, someone's already got our Favorite Hero as one already (http://www.shipoffools.com/Gadgets/Toys/142.html).

Kristin said...

Being a Christian is not about tradition. In fact, that is what Jesus condemned the Pharisees’ for. I tell you what, there is nothing that I need more at 5:30 in the morning then caffeine and a word from my Father. Don't limit God; as unconventional as it is, that scripture on the side of a caramel latte may save someone's soul.