A Few Thoughts About the Starbucks Red Cup

​Yes, I know there is a lot of noise around the whole “Starbucks Red Cup” and really, who needs another opinion on this topic, but I have skimmed lots of articles, blogs, comments and tweets, and none have mentioned some of what I have been thinking. So for what it is worth, here are a few of my thoughts.
First, we cannot expect Starbucks to be responsible for keeping Christ in Christmas when Christ is not in their business plan. The Bible is pretty clear that those who are not believers cannot understand the things of God.
​But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
image  from news.starbucks.com
​Second, putting a snowman on a coffee cup does not in any stretch of the means put Christ in Christmas. Starbucks is a secular company. Their coffee cup designs have always reflected the secular nature of Christmas. They have not completely disregarded Christmas—they did, in fact, change their cup for the season, and I enjoy the simplicity of the design this year. Many, including well-intentioned Christians, have added way too many caricatures and glitter to Christmas. We can all use a little simplicity these days, and Christians, we can use this cup to our advantage. Instead of crying about the cup, use it for good; perhaps even as an evangelistic tool. When you look at the cup, think of it this way…
  • Red – the basis of this controversy is the simple Red Cup. Christians, you do realize that the Gospel is pretty simple and based on something red as well – Jesus’ blood. His shed, red blood was for all of those who would believe. He was born into this world so that He would die for the people of this world. Our hope starts with His blood. (Romans 5:8-9) 
  • White – the white in the Starbucks logo can reflect what the Bible says Jesus’ blood does for those who believe in Him. His sacrifice washes the believer’s sin white as snow. (See Isaiah 1:18)
  • Green – As a new believer, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Green represents growth and life. As Christians, we should be growing in Christ, and our new life should reflect Christ. (See Colossians 1:10)
Third, is this all we have to talk about? Children are dying and starving locally and around the world. There are wars taking place and thousands of people displaced from their homes. There is a refugee crisis overseas. People are out of work and homeless. People are critically ill and dying, and all we can talk about is the design of a coffee cup? Jesus must be weeping out of frustration just as He did when the people were crying and carrying on when He returned to find that Lazarus was dead (John 11).
Fourth, if you choose not to support Starbucks any longer, please do not blame it on the Red Cup. Their secular nature has long been known, and if you are so addicted to the taste, convenience and free office space, that is your issue; not theirs. There are lots of local coffee shops owned by hard working people, including Christian-owned businesses. For instance, yesterday we came across a cute bakery & cafe in Waco, Texas called Olive Branch. We did not know when we walked in what it was all about, but after I read the sign on the wall and read their menu, I was glad that we frequented it (and it was delicious!). The history statement says this: 
A Baylor University graduate with a Southern Baptist heritage, Leah Stewart, owner of The Olive Branch bakery and cafe, learned early that good fellowship always begins with good food.  Incorporating this idea into her concept for The Olive Branch, Leah serves fresh breakfasts, a diverse lunch menu, homemade desserts, and specially blended coffees.  Situated in the heart of downtown Waco, The Olive Branch is a comfortable place for fellowship: a meal with friends or co-workers, a power breakfast meeting, or a dessert-and-coffee date. 
The Olive Branch's coffees are acquired directly from the grower and roaster and   are fairly traded.  Every blend is made from 100% Arabica beans which have been handled – from planting, to picking, to roaster, to you – by our coffee company.  Every blend was created by Leah specifically for The Olive Branch. Established August 2003
There are places like this all around this country and if you want, take the time and support them—maybe they don’t have a drive-thru, a shop set up on every corner imaginable or an extensive menu, but the choice is always yours to go a little out of your way. Frequenting these kinds of establishments and contributing to their growth would go much further than complaining about the Red Cup…and then whoops…getting caught by a friend in the place selling the Red Cup “just this one time.”
Finally, Christ is not judging you for frequenting Starbucks, and He does not care if you drink out of a Red Cup or a white cup at Christmas. I hope that as you see the Red Cup (whether that be in your hand or someone else’s) this season that you reflect on the red, white and green colors and how you can use them to share your faith with others.
Talk about this controversy in a positive manner—tweet, comment, water-cooler, and blog about the colors in the cup as much as you want, but only if you can point a person to Christ. Jesus is the reason for the season, and there would not be any light at Christmas without the Light of the World.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

Related Posts


Darlene - November 9th, 2015 at 12:54pm

AMEN Sister%uD83D%uDC7C

Trina - November 9th, 2015 at 2:52pm

Thank you for this. Let's be focus on sharing Christ. :)

Yvette - November 9th, 2015 at 5:05pm

Perfectly written!

Cecilia - November 9th, 2015 at 5:53pm

Oh my goodness! YES!!!!