Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Bedazzled Beliefs"

I know some really good Christian folks. Down to earth yet wholesome and of good moral character. I like them a lot. Here recently I met a few that I can even look up to. They've offered guidance but not in an "in your face" way. With me that's really a key factor. Due partly to their gentle approach and partly to the fact I'm realizing how much a mess I made of my own life while trying to do things my way, I've been thinking I should consider church. Not one of those "let's play with venomous snakes" kinda churches or the "let's act like we're having some kind of seizure" churches or anything though. One that's gonna be tolerant of me asking lots of questions about things that don't make sense in the bible. 
Now, for me, getting into organized religion is a pretty big step. Being part of organized Christianity scares me still. Not in a "oh no, I'm gonna burst into flames when I walk in" way. It's more a matter of making sure I'm not mistakenly lumped in with what I call the "super Christians" or "uber religious". Don't expect me to start posting "inspirational" quotes from that clown Joel Osteen. Not gonna happen. I greatly dislike that type. 

What I don't want to be associated with are those ridiculous "super Christian mainstream bandwagoners" you see more and more often. The ones that are basically legal bullies. Yeah, I said it. They're hypocritical bullies. Oh, you're waiting on an example aren't you? You're waiting to see where this post is going now. Don't worry, this was the windup. Here comes the pitch....

I love coffee. I drink lots of it. Not to keep me awake or anything like that. In fact, I can set down my last cup from a full pot, roll over and go straight to sleep. I'm weird like that. Yeah, yeah, I'm weird in many ways; that's not the only one. 
Coffee is a simple drink. They take seeds from a berry, dry them out, grind them up, pour hot water over them and boom! Coffee. You can even add cow juice and sugar. That's how I like it. Some people prefer steamed cow juice and pumpkin spice. That's not me. I like simple. 
It's not very expensive either. The most expensive thing about a to-go cup of coffee is the cup. Companies like Starbucks get that. So they market special cups, mugs, coffees, etc. The yuppie, hipster types flock to Starbucks regularly. The "ohmagod, Brittni, can you believe she's wearing that? It's soo last season" types and the "look how trendy I am" types. Personally, I think the $2.00 I pay for coffee at the truck stop is too much. $8.00 a cup at Starbucks? Genius on their part for drawing you in. 

What's this got to do with religious bullying though? Simple. For decades now Starbucks has had a mermaid on its cups and as a logo. A creature from Greek mythology. Are the uber religious upset about a pagan icon on their cups? Nope. They're upset about Starbucks didn't put "Merry Christmas" on the cups this year. 
Oh, they're up in arms all over the Internet about it. They're giving Starbucks hell over it. I find that interesting. See, if you do something that can be construed as violating "religious freedom" then these mainstream bandwagoners will fight it tooth and nail. What they seem to forget, however, is that the constitution is designed to protect us from "religious persecution". You know, the reason people came here from Europe. Yet they're persecuting Starbucks for exercising their own religious freedom. 
What I don't understand is you can make a cup of coffee for pennies and pour it in your own cup. So why get upset over the cup Starbucks has? Just take your own mug in there if theirs offends you so much. Me, I'm more offended at paying so much for coffee. So guess what my solution was. Did I start a campaign to make them lower their prices? No. I just don't go there. Problem solved. 

Stop it already! Good grief, people! We have all these "anti bullying" campaigns (which are complete lunacy by the way) then society tries to collectively bully a corporation not because that corporation is pandering to a specific religion but because they're not catering to ANY religions. Enough already. It's a damn cup. 
If you don't like that a cup doesn't say "Merry Christmas" then just take your own cup to Starbucks. Bedazzle the hell out of it with snowmen and Merry Christmas and shit. They won't refuse to put your $8.00 coffee in it. Or bring a marker and write "Merry Christmas" on the cup they give you. They won't give a shit. It'll be  your cup at that point. What are they gonna do, repossess it and kick you out for it? 

Seriously, folks, is it really THAT big a deal? For heaven's sake, their logo is a friggin mermaid. A MERMAID people. You've been drinking your overpriced coffee out of cups with a creature from Greek mythology, a pagan symbol, on it for decades. And NOW you get upset?! Do you not realize how insane this has become??

Look, Jesus wasn't born in December. There were no Christmas trees, mistletoe or fancy wrapped gifts in that manger either. Christmas was CREATED, yes, CREATED by the Catholic Church to convert pagans. Pagans who were celebrating a holiday called Saturnalia. A festival honoring Saturn. The entire holiday is pagan in origin. The whole "kissing under the mistletoe" was Norse. It's from the legend of Balder. That's Frigga's son. Frigga was Odin's wife.  The Druids considered mistletoe to be a sacred plant. The Greeks and Romans liked the idea and used it in their festival before the Catholics assimilated it. 

Come on, people. Even the days of the week are pagan in origin. Each one of them was named after pagan gods. Is anyone campaigning to change THOSE? Yet these uber religious people attacking Starbucks over not putting the words "Merry Christmas" on their own cups, that's not a touch hypocritical? That's the tolerance the Bible teaches? Isn't there anything more important to rally around, like feeding the homeless? Brew your own coffee, put it in your own bedazzled cup and use the rest of that money to buy blankets for the homeless. Feed them. Give gifts to impoverished kids. Do something to actually show some love and compassion for your fellow human. That seems more Christian to me. No, I'm not what you'd call a liberal. I just believe in fairness and dislike hypocrisy. You can't get mad about someone infringing upon your right to religious freedom then also get upset and try to dictate others' religious choices. As long as their religious choice doesn't affect you then leave them be. You have the freedom to just go somewhere else. When the people from these uber religious groups climb down off their high horse maybe they'll realize it's a disposable coffee cup, not the vessel for your soul. 

The down to earth people, the type I've gotten to know, that's the type of people I'd like to be associated with. Yes, they celebrate Christmas. As do I. But they don't try pushing people around using their beliefs as a shield. They seem to understand that it's not necessary to force others to believe as they do. They don't drag you kicking and screaming to the river; they simply show you a path and offer to walk beside you to keep you company on your journey. And they'll bring coffee in just a plain white cup because the writing on the cup is less important than the message their care and compassion carries. 

Those are the people Christians should be. That's the kind of person we could all take notes from and that's the type of people I'd like to raise my boys to be.