The recent fiasco with the Starbuck’s holiday cups (Google it. I won’t talk about it more) has me thinking. It has me thinking about how the song “They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love” has it all wrong in today’s society. We’re not known by how we love. Christians, more often, are known by how we vote…or what we wear…or what music we listen to…or…what we think we should boycott.
We have become merely a target audience for business and, when we perceive businesses as not targeting us, we threaten to take our dollars elsewhere.
But in one of Skye Jethani’s devotionals this week he addressed what I’m thinking there:
Marilynne Robinson has observed, “The word ‘Christian’ now is seen less as identifying an ethic, and more as identifying a demographic.” In other words, being a Christian in our society is more about what you buy and how you vote, rather than how you care for people. Rather than showing the world our faith through our merchandise or yard signs, what if we showed them our faith through our love? What if our devotion to Christ was evident in our character and not merely our consumption?
External marks—whether circumcision in the first century or a WWJD bracelet in the twenty-first century—are not wrong to have, but ultimately they are meaningless if we do not love God and our neighbors.
But, look, if you don’t want to go to Starbucks, don’t go to Starbucks. There are tons of other options for your morning coffee, including the option of saving the $5 and making it yourself. And if you want to post some self-serving Instagram pics of you enjoying your Starbucks coffee, go ahead. But as Christians we need to ask ourselves what we’re going to be known for — our ethic of love, our coffee shop of choice, what we wear, or who we voted for. (My vote is for “ethic of love.”)