Last night PRI’s Fair Game had a story about a Christian group in San Diego, The Resistance, who are very upset about the new Starbucks logo (actually, it might not be much of a “group,” and the leader is upset about a great many things). The logo is a revival of an old logo that depicts– gasp– a mermaid’s breasts. Mark Dice, the leader of The Resistance, helpfully explains that “the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks.”
Leaving aside the high likelihood of me using the word Slutbucks several times over the next few days, I think this is a great, although dramatic, example of where Christians totally miss the point in our engaging the culture around us. Seriously, how much of a threat to the fabric of civilization is a topless mermaid on a coffee cup? Now, I’m a man, and I’m raising a son, and given the choice between R-rated mermaid and PG-rated mermaid, I’m going PG. But we have much bigger fish to fry, so to speak.
Although it’s a lot more serious, we can even draw an analogy here with things like gay marriage. I’m against it, of course, for many reasons ranging from the theological to the Constitutional. But as Abraham Piper pointed out this morning, we have much worse things going on– in the church and out of it. We miss the point when we pick behavioral things like this, especially silly ones, to major on instead of the gospel.
A good question to ask in the “culture wars” is this: what if we (using that loosely) won? What if mermaids kept themselves covered, and people either didn’t fornicate or kept it to themselves, and all the TV shows were clean, and everybody parted their hair and was nice? Would we be satisfied?
I hope not. I hope we’re looking for something bigger than proper behavior in the public square. I hope we’re looking for the gospel to change people’s hearts, and then we can address behavior issues. I hope we can get beyond reducing the gospel to a three-point political strategy. I hope we can stand firmly where we need to, articulate God’s truth in a loving way, and make it really clear that our goal isn’t decently attired mermaids. It’s bigger than that: it’s the knowledge of God in Christ, something only he can bring, and something that brings true holiness, not just outward morality.