Starbucks, straw men, and false dilemmas

Starbucks released their 2015 holiday cups last week. Instead of the usual festive red, shown here,

They opted for a minimalist, ombre red, shown here:

Apparently, some Christians are upset about Starbucks cups—or at least Twitter and the media are suggesting so.

I’m not sure why Christians should be upset. Starbucks changed it cups from snowflakes to a two-tone red. It’s not like the 2014 holiday cups had images of mangers and shepherds.

The strange thing is that I have many friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media, and I haven’t seen a single tweet or post expressing Christian outrage. I’m not saying they don’t exist, only that I haven’t seen them.

I see people talking about all of the angry Christians, but I see no angry Christians.

I’m not sure what’s happening here, but this is a straw man argument. That is, people are claiming (falsely) that Christians are mad about a cup, and then criticizing Christians for being mad about a cup.

Not only are Christians inappropriately angry, they are simultaneously abandoning their  care of orphans and widows.

In fact, in response to the hordes of Christians abandoning their usual philanthropy in order to wage war against the evils of the Starbucks, people have started tweeting this:

I’ll worry about if Starbucks says Merry Christmas as soon as we Christians find homes for all orphans, comfort all widows & feed all poor

Not only do we have a straw man argument, now we are dealing with another argumentative fallacy called a false dilemma.

A false dilemma simply says that it’s either/or.
It cannot be both/and.

The argument is that if Christians decide to boycott Starbucks, it must mean they’re abandoning their charity and missionary endeavors.

One cannot possibly send a tweet against Starbucks or start drinking coffee from Peet’s without neglecting orphans and widows.

Sorry, but that’s why it’s called a fallacy.

Some time back I made the decision not to watch Game of Thrones because I’ve heard it’s so sexualized. Guess what? The same week I was able to preach the Gospel, give my own money to charity, and live out my faith to the best of my ability.

Don’t give in to the poorly reasoned false outrage!

For more information on logical fallacies, see this affiliate link:

Only money works for Syrian refugees

I’m glad that posts about Syrian children are going viral. I’m happy that the worst humanitarian crisis of our time is getting social media attention. I’m glad that there is a hashtag being used (#refugeecrisis)

At the end of the day, however, sharing or linking or liking a post does very little.

Refugees need food and supplies, which costs money.

Consider these photos:

3 - Copy 01 02 - Copy

This is the 5th year of this crisis and over 12 million people have been displaced. Many of them are children. Many of them are being killed only because they are Christians.

Enough talk! Send Money!

Forgo an iced mocha or a red box or a movie ticket and send some actual money. Here are two  options:

Samaritan’s Purse
World Vision

There are, of course, other charities. Find one you like and give!


New Star Wars Clip (Featured Video #26)

Here’s a short clip that shows of Finn (John Boyega) going toe to toe with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).


The Great Family Commission: Part II

We discovered in The Great Family Commission: Part I that the LORD wanted to bless the whole world through the offspring of Abram. Here was our first principle:

#1 The LORD wants to bless the whole world

The story continues in Genesis 18:

James Tissot's Abraham overlooking Sodom

James Tissot’s Abraham overlooking Sodom

Abram’s now been renamed to Abraham. He and his family were camped at the oaks of Mamre and were sitting near the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day.

It was there that three men appeared to him and his wife, Sarai. Derek Kidner refutes the belief that these three men were the Trinity incarnate. Rather, he says, this was the Lord and two angels.[1] Abraham prepares food and water for the three of them while they deliver a shocking message: Sarai will bear Abraham a son. Sarai laughs and is rebuked for both her lying and disbelief.

In verse 16 Abraham sees the three men off. As they are overlooking Sodom, the LORD muses:

“Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.” Genesis 18:18 CSB

The LORD had His eye on other nations from the very beginning. But how exactly would the He use Abraham’s offspring to bless the other nations?

The answer is in the very next verse. The LORD tells us exactly how Abe’s children are going to bless all the nations of the world.

“For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. This is how the LORD will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him.”” Genesis 18:19 CSB

Did you catch that?

The LORD would bless the world through Abraham teaching his children to live out their faith.

This was the Old Testament Great Commission: Have lots of children, train them up in the teaching and way of the LORD, and the land will be filled with families who do what is just and right.

Here’s the second principle:

#2 His people are to fill the earth with offspring who live out their faith

I am sad to say that we have failed miserably at this.

We’ll examine this further in The Great Family Commission: Part III.


[1] Derek Kidner, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Genesis. IVP Academic, 1967,  131.

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