November 16, 2015
If we had a public relations department, they’d be ballistic right now.
There’s a two-year campaign underway to fill the Leader of the Free World position for four years, at a critical time in human history. A radical Islamic terror group is attacking Western Civilization at-will, and producing massive casualties. Christians around the globe are being marginalized and martyred, while – in America – we’re focused on what’s really important: the paper cups at Starbucks, leading up to Christmas. It’s a PR nightmare for the Christians in America.
The attack on Starbucks has been masterminded by one Joshua Feuerstein – “an American evangelist, internet and social media personality,” according to his personal website – whose YouTube rant against America’s coffee giant has created a firestorm. He lives in Arizona, but has fired “the shot heard round the world” at the green umbrellas found on 12,218 corners around the country.
His issue: the cups at Starbucks, leading into Christmas, are red; the reindeer/snowflakes/Santa graphics of past years have given way to a simple deep-red-colored theme, with the Starbucks logo the only “art.” Feuerstein’s issue: the plain cup constitutes Starbucks “taking the Christ out of Christmas.”
I’m sitting at Starbucks in San Diego – unbowed, before sun-up, on Monday morning – drinking their special “Christmas Blend” out of one of those red cups. The whole store has been “red-ized,” creating a holiday vibe for their retail sales leading up to year-end. Howard Schultz – founder/CEO of Starbucks – isn’t an “evangelist” from Arizona; he’s a Jewish businessman from Brooklyn whose coffee concept – creating “the Third Place” for people to stop between home and work, to caffeinate and socialize – has become a generational fixture.
Do some web search on Feuerstein and you find some disturbing theological linkage; he has ties to Oneness Pentecostalism, which proposes that God does not exist in Three Persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, as orthodox faith holds – but rather has different “modes” of manifestation, sometimes portraying Himself as a Son, and sometimes as a Father… but, not being Three-in-One. This heresy goes back 1700 years to Rome, and a false teacher named Sabellius.
The Internet gives… and, the Internet takes away. Today, ministries like Global Media Outreach and The Jesus Film Project are using the web to reach behind enemy lines – into Muslim countries that are closed to all Christian missions, and have no above-ground churches – where men and women bound by a brutal, dominating Muslim culture are seeing Jesus in their sleep (see Tom Doyle’s book, Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?) and coming to faith in waves that can only be understood to be a movement of God. The internet recruits ISIS terrorists, and provides a platform for Joshua Feuerstein’s rant.
I’m not counting on Starbucks to put the amazing message of the Incarnation on their coffee cups; I’m taking the responsibility for that, personally. I’ve had more opportunities to share the story of Jesus over coffee the last 20 years – at Starbucks – than I can count.
By the way: I made a human goof last week to some of my readers; a factual error that my editing process didn’t catch. I said that Veterans Day was coming up last Thursday… when, in fact, it was Wednesday (when I wrote last week’s Point of View, I was just-back from Israel, and was in a time-zone fog). Curious: we had more replies to that error, offering me correction, than we had inquiries about helping to scholarship veterans in The Master’s Program.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).