Red Cups, Chicken Sandwiches, & What Really Matters

A post from the fall of 2015…


Recently there has been some craziness going on in the Christian subculture.  I know this might be hard for you to believe, but believe me the Christian bubble has entered into a whole new realm of kookiness.  This year’s design of the red cups at Starbucks created this cray cray melee.  If you are not familiar with the red cups at Starbucks they are a season thing that appear each year when they bring back the Christmas time seasonal beverages.  To Starbucks addicts and lovers (which I am one) they are as anticipated as the much craved Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I don’t know if the red cup has its own Twitter and Instagram accounts, but it should.  Anyways the cups this year are just red.  They do not have any designs or words or anything other than the color red.  Apparently this should be an affront to my Christian faith.  Some dude was so offended he made an angry Facebook video saying Starbucks hates Jesus.  I warned you the kookiness has gone bat crap cray cray this year.

Some people more eloquent and better positioned than I to take on the task of demolishing this line of thinking have already done so.  I am not going to attempt to restate what they have already said.  I will simply say Starbucks is a corporation and not a person.  Corporations do not go to heaven or hell.  People go to heaven or hell.  With this premise being established here is what I do want to attempt to say on this matter.  I want to use the rest of this space to point out how Christians should love going to both Starbucks and Chick-fil-A.  We should feel comfortable spending money at both places because we love Jesus and we love people.

Until several months ago I had spent the last three and half years on the management/leadership team of a Chick-fil-A, the home of the greatest chicken nuggets, the inventor of the chicken sandwich, and the maker of waffle fries, sweet tea and fresh squeezed lemonade.  Oh and Chick-fil-A is the Christian fast food mega star.  Here is the thing about Chick-fil-A though: it is a business.  Now the leadership of the company, they are Christians.  They seek to bring God glory in all they do.  However at the local level many of those owner/operators have one thing on their minds and that is making money.  They will sell a #1 large sized with a Dr. Pepper to a heterosexual, open carrying, flag waving, Christian, tea party republican just as easily as they will sell a #5 8 count grilled with cole slaw and a medium unsweet tea to a transgender socialist atheist, or a cobb salad and a water to a radical suicide bomber.  Just make sure and remember to hold the bacon on that salad for the radical terrorist.  Some owners are very generous and giving and want to bless those around them and some just want more money in their own accounts.  That is ok, they are business owners making a living.

Here is the other thing about Chick-fil-A.  You may go there because you love Jesus and Tim Hawkins and Duck Dynasty but chances are the person serving you doesn’t.  Chick-fil-A hires people.  Not all of them are believers in Christ.  Not all of them are republicans.  Not all of them are heterosexual.  That shouldn’t change your opinion of Chick-fil-A though.  You should still go there.  You should still support them.  Why?  Because people need Jesus!

The thing is, this should be our same attitude when it comes to Starbucks.  I love coffee.  I know there is better coffee at other places, but I love Starbucks because it is convenient and consistent.  And well I am addicted to Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  There was a Starbucks across the parking lot from my Chick-fil-A.  I went there a lot.  The workers all knew me by name, and I knew them by name.  They ate a lot of Chick-fil-A too.  Some of the workers there loved Jesus and some didn’t.  They are people.  Just like the people working at Chick-fil-A.  Now the Chick-fil-A workers have less tattoos and piercings and facial hair (I have not shaved since leaving Chick-fil-A and it feels so good!), but they are all people.  They are people that need Grace.  They are people that need Jesus.

During my three and half years slinging chicken I was privileged to get to know some of my employees and co-workers well.  I was able to pray with my boss as his wife went through a terminal illness.  I got to celebrate engagements and graduations with some employees.  I got to pray with some of the people there as they faced tough times in life.  I also got to pray with some customers as they faced things in life and to celebrate with them as well.  I also was able to get to do the same with some employees from Starbucks.  I got to know them and got to model Jesus to them.  If I avoided the place where they worked because of something as silly and arbitrary as a cup I would not have been able to build a relationship with those people.  Now God might have sent someone else to fill that gap and to minister to those people, but I would have missed out on that.

So instead of getting mad over really silly things we need to have a heart that loves people and seeks to get to know them because they need Jesus too!