My Apologies to Howard Schultz & STARBUCKS Baristas

starbucks, coffee, christmas, christian, gary, davisDear Howard Schultz (CEO), & Starbucks Baristas everywhere,

By now most of you have heard of the RANTFever that is sweeping our land over your attempt to de-Christianize Christmas on your bright RED holiday cups. I truly am sorry for all this hubbub. It’s just wrong.  “Christians are being persecuted,” some Christians cry! One man, Paul Matthew Turner, on returning from India to the US, remarked somewhat incredulously over all the fuss over the Starbucks stuff. I’ll just quote one of his less vitriol reactions here— “what a shallow, disgusting, and completely moronic portrayal of “faith” this is!” You can read more here—https://www.facebook.com/MPTAuthor?fref=ts

Josh Feuerstein, a Christian protagonist (read Idiot), offers us a more inappropriate response in his simple RANT on his Facebook page—https://www.facebook.com/joshua.feuerstein.5/videos/689569711145714/ Really, watch it to see what NOT to do! And read the first link as well.

What amazes me is that anyone is so surprised in 21st Century America that Starbucks is not overtly “Christian” on its holiday coffee cups! Why should they be? Since when have we been a Christian nation, or Starbucks a Christian business?!? One ABC news commentator (whom I have a secret crush on so will not reveal her name) actually said, “If you want the Starbucks cup to be more Christmasy draw a snowman on it.”

During this Holiday Season, do I expect my Volvo mechanic to stamp my bill with a manger-scene— in red & green? Do I expect my doctor to wish me Merry Christmas; he’s Jewish. (He did anyway. Go figure.) Nor do I expect St. Nick to slide down my chimney. He’d get his butt fried.

I do expect people, at this time of year, to be more joyful, loving, suicidal (I do counseling.), sacrificial, and considerate. I even expect (some) drivers to let me to cut into their lane when I use my turn-signal. It’s just “the Season.”

For Christians everywhere, genuine Christians, not the whatever-they-are Christians, take this Season of the year to honor your neighbors. DO NOT give them a fruit-cake. Don’t be one either. Invite them for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, a New Year’s party! Learn to make Wassail together. DRINK Wassail together (hic). Share your family’s celebrations together.

So, dearest Howard Schultz & Starbucks Baristas, THANK YOU for your Red Cups this Season! They’re bright & cheery! I need that. Honestly, I need your coffee just as much. Especially the Gram Latte’s! They’re great! Thank you very much for them.

And, not to be offensive in any way, Merry Christmas to all of you at Starbucks! You’re doing a great job of encouraging a lot of people at this time of year. Particularly me.

…and a Happy New Year, too,

  Gary

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bah! humbug!

Why is it that some people just seem to get out of bed grumpy? Admittedly, I am not the most social a person until I have a cup of coffee in me; or two, or three. OK, I can tolerate conversation on one. But there are some people who wake up to make their day, and yours, miserable.

For some it is seasonal. Seasonal Affective Disorder— the darkness becomes overwhelming; the depression spirals downward. For others it is far more serious; for a cluster of historical and/or environmental reasons their life itself is miserable. For some personal reason they believe it their responsibility to pass their wretched state along to all they meet. O joy!

Though it can be true that this perpetually dark mood can be due to hereditary, it is not true that that it is irrevocable. There have been those who have come to me for counsel who have revealed their consistent struggle with a sense of failure and depression; some, even to a point of desperation, longing for relief. In an earlier phase of life my wife would often describe my personality as morbidly introspective. And she was right. My depression and external moods were deeply rooted in failure.

What did I do to claw my way out of this perpetual Bah Humbug!?

  1. First, I gave up trying to please or impress others. I simply started living within the parameters of my gifts, skills, and passions. I developed and expressed my strengths and addressed my weaknesses in privacy.
  2. Then, secondly, I stopped using others to feed me and started to feed them. I became the vessel of service in their lives rather than always calling on them to empty themselves for my sake.
  3. In a couple months I found I could laugh more. I kept laughing. There is always a tad of joy and comedy is almost every situation.
  4. My conversations with God became less intense, and more receptive. I accepted His forgiveness in Jesus Christ and laid aside the roiling guilt that added to my failure and depression.
  5. To my shock I discovered that there were some people who actually enjoyed being my friends. This surprised me. I shifted to enjoyment in our friendship rather than making them about me.

I know there were probably a number of conscious and unconscious things that went on in that period of my life. But it sure feels great to no longer carry around my own inner Scrooge.

Have a nice week,

Gary

coffee

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, coffee, I don’t need coffee. Really, I don’t. I like coffee—good coffee, that is; but I don’t need it. I merely enjoy a mug of good coffee every day. Usually two. JUST WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT WHAT I AM SAYING!?! Ok, so I fear to talk with God (or anyone else) without at least two mugs in me, that doesn’t mean that I’m dependent on it! Does it?

The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant. Surprisingly, there are 115-175 mg of caffeine in every cup of drip coffee, versus 100 mg in a cup of espresso. Hum. There are also antioxidants that aid in preventing liver cancer and other diseases. The coffee bean (or seed) is grown in over 175 countries around the world, making coffee one of the most traded commodities in the world. Most people drink coffee for the quick energy boost it provides. Others, drink it as a cultural practice, or as a moral responsibility. However you see it, coffee seems here to stay as both a stimulant and as a means for social networking.

In recent years there have been a number of spin-offs from coffee to further enhance our stimulation. Ice coffee, lattes, espressos, caramel macchiatos, and even coffee lozenges; stimulation without the social dynamic, as it were. But our need for external stimulation doesn’t end there. We also have Gatorade, Red Bull, and Power drinks, all loaded with enough salt and/or sugars to fuel your adrenalin-rush to reach earth orbit. Exercise (running especially) does the trick for others. But most of us just chug down yet another mug o’ joe to keep going for yet another hour.

It’s almost as if we have all become addicted to adrenalin-rush. Do our lives feel so flat that we need that little extra “umph” to lift our spirits and improve our performance? So, other than coffee (the elixir of the gods), what kinds of things stimulate you to that enhanced life you crave? Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll? Extreme sports? Speed (automotive)? Compassion for our world’s dismissed peoples? The will to win, to be the best you can be? To please God? To serve your country, your family, your faith? Or just to be independent and depend on no one else… ever.

After a time, many of us slowly seep into a kind of unconscious humdrum of life’s responsibilities. We are blind to the vibrant colors of the sunset over the deep green of a forest. All we see are all the trees that need to be cleared. It becomes simpler to look down at what we’re doing than to lift our eyes to the road ahead; and so we lose our way in the everyday. Stimulation, therefore, plays an important role in our lives…, but maybe from a different class. JOY lifts our hearts. LOVE makes us fly. TRAGEDY teaches us the importance of the little things— of caring, of spending time, of reexamining our priorities and interpersonal relationships. PRAISE kindles our resolve…, & pats us on the back a little. GOING FOR IT teaches us endurance and perseverance. PAIN reminds us or our frailty. FAILURE reminds us we need others. FEAR reminds us we need God.

So after you’ve had your third cup of java today, try one of the other kinds of stimulant in your life. I use PRAYER to realign focus. And MUSIC.  But right now I could really use another Latte.

Have a nice week.

Gary