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Starbucks, Micropersecutions, and the Church’s Embrace of Victimhood.

I was listening to The Art of Manliness‘ podcast about microaggressions and the victimhood culture at the gym yesterday. Pretty fascinating stuff. I can’t really hide my contempt for the psychology that produces people who whine about every little thing that goes on because it makes them feel uncomfortable or “unsafe.” Suck it up and deal with it. Face your demons and grow into something stronger than they are.
Except, about forty minutes, it hits me: First world Christians are just as bad about this, assuming that we didn’t invent the stupid problem in the first place. Every time I turn around the American church is being “persecuted” in some new manner or another, and while I believe there are probably some genuine instances of it here and there, most of what we face is not a persecution per se. It’s inconvenience. It’s a stupid law. It’s a country that doesn’t share our values.
Now, I’m not saying we should stop trying to influence the culture, or that, say, we shouldn’t take the fight for our values personally, but man. No one has imprisoned my family members lately. No one has forced me to pay a tax, convert, or leave town because I’m Christian. No one has beheaded anyone I know in less than six degrees because I’m a Christian. The only Bible smuggling I know of is OUT of America and into other countries.
That red cup? That’s not the war on Christmas. That’s not a fight to remove the name of Jesus from our society. It’s minimalist design from a company that has nothing to do with the faith.
Guys. We really need to suck it up and start dealing with this. We are ridiculous. We are laughable. You want to talk about persecution? Remember how Saul hunted down Christians before he became one? Remember Rome, when Christians were fed to lions for fun? Remember the persecutions of Diocletian, which were bad enough they created a schism in the church? Remember how 21 men were lined up on a beach last year and beheaded because they were Christians?
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This persecution complex we have: STOP IT. What’s going on right now with this whole Starbucks cup thing tells me that we’re no better than the emotionally flimsy students at Oberlin who needed Play Doh and cookies to hide from a speech with uncomfortable and challenging thoughts. Churches are not and should not be “Safe spaces” where we can be protected from the big, scary world out there. Where we don’t have to think about it. Where our hurt feelings are soothed with flannelgraphs and ethically sourced charity coffees in cups that say JESUS on them because, you know. We love our Jesus.
But apparently our Jesus is so weak and pathetic that we have to protect him from micropersecutions. (I wish you could hear the contempt in my typing when I type “micropersecutions. It’s even worse than “microaggressions” and “trigger warnings.”) Dude died a terrible horrible death so that he could kick death in the junk and liberate humanity from death’s grip, but we have to make sure his name is on EVERYTHING, so let’s tell that barista that our name is “Merry Christmas” so that it’ll get a mention of Jesus in there! What does that accomplish, besides annoying the poor barista that probably just had an entire pastoral staff roll through and do the exact same thing? Doesn’t it strike you as taking the Lord’s name in vain? Just a little?
Are we not stronger than this? Braver than this? Can we not look a little bit of cultural ambivalence in the eye and say, “You don’t care about my faith. That’s cool. My faith cares about you. Why don’t you let me buy you a coffee and we’ll talk about it?”
Now. I have a paper that I should be writing, but I had to get this crap off my chest.
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