It’s become such a trend among millennial Christians. You’ve probably seen the phrase on mugs and t-shirts, “all I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.” This may all seem very cute and harmless, but I believe this kind of language can actually be really problematic.
Honestly, I think you could even consider it slightly irreverent to pair Jesus and coffee together. I know people don’t mean to be shallow or spiritually immature, and there are tons of people on social media who seem like genuinely lovely people who go along with this trend. If you do, don’t think I’m accusing you of anything. I simply want to get you to really think about the implications of sentences like this.
I honestly didn’t really think too much about this trend at first. I even thought it was kind of nice. It’s a cute idea thinking of having a coffee date with Jesus. We should make spending time with God fun, right? But the more I thought about it, the more this kind of talk made me cringe.
We have to admit that this sounds so materialistic, so privileged, so western. It makes you think of the common white girl stereotype. The kind of girl who is offensively unaware of the suffering in the world and spends an ungodly amount of money on coffee. The reality is that Christians in the Middle East would probably hear the words “Jesus and coffee” and shake their heads in confusion. It would probably seem ridiculous to them. There are Christians in other countries being murdered for their faith, and here we are putting Jesus and coffee in the same sentence on a regular basis. We have to admit this is kind of embarrassing.
Whether we admit it or not, we’ve made Christianity part of a bigger subculture and trend. The cool coffee-shop-dwelling hipster Christians who buy a lot of lattes and make the faith more about aesthetics than truth. Don’t think I’m saying that I’m not down with art and creativity and making spending time with God fun. I think it’s great to be creative and have fun with your faith. But when we make coffee an essential part of our devotional time, something is wrong.
Don’t think I haven’t studied the Bible with a coffee several times. I even went through a phase where I wanted to be one of those cute Christian Instagram girls who frequently posts pictures of coffee and Bibles. I’m not saying I’ll never take a picture like that again. In itself, is it sinful to drink coffee and read your Bible and take pictures of it? Obviously not. But it’s kind of sad when we automatically associate the faith with cool coffee shops and cappuccinos.
If we have these things as a fun extra, then that’s fine. But when we make them part of our faith, then we have a really questionable foundation. Honestly, this sort of thing makes Jesus seem like kind of a joke to unbelievers. Talk about giving them more of a reason to laugh at us.
Do I think God gets angry at us for this sort of thing? No, because with God it’s about the heart, and He won’t judge you if your intentions are good. But we can’t make Jesus seem like some westernized novelty. When we do that, we’re making Him seem a little separate from the awe-inspiring God we see described at the beginning of Revelation. The Man Who has fire in His eyes and Who caused John to fall at His feet as though dead (Revelation 1:14-17).
I’m not saying God can’t relate to our everyday lives. We should think of Him as a Friend, and we should want to have fun spending time with Him. But do we really need coffee to do that? Are we formulating a western faith that’s completely separate from what the Bible actually talks about? Are we relying on cutesy aesthetics and western privileges to make an otherwise “boring” faith more entertaining? Do you find Jesus slightly less appealing when you take these things away?
This may all sound very harsh, but I think these are things we need to seriously think about. Please know that I am not judging you for this. Even if you have a “little bit of coffee and whole lot of Jesus” t-shirt, I’m not making an evaluation of your faith. I need to worry about this stuff as much as anyone else, because we all have the tendency to stray from biblical truth and replace it with our own subjective ideas of what Christianity should look like.
I’ve had times when I’ve had to really ask myself if I was committed to the Christianity of the Bible, or if I had mistakenly fallen in love with a western subculture. I had to ask myself if I really loved Jesus, or if I loved how He had been portrayed by some millennials in the west, with cool hipster music and modern graphic design and artsy Instagram pages. Again, these things are not wrong in and of themselves. They can be awesome platforms. But we can’t rely on these things, and we can’t make them the basis of our faith.
Coffee in itself isn’t the problem. The problem is falling in love with a subculture rather than Jesus Himself. The problem is relying on western privileges. The problem is turning a faith that is revolutionary and counter-cultural (and far from materialistic) into a cutesy, trendy subculture.
May we never replace the incredible reality of the Christian faith with a westernized, counterfeit version. May we never make Jesus seem like an American novelty. My we never make God seem any less awe-inspiring than He actually is.
Here are a couple awesome blog posts critiquing “trendy” Christianity (that partly inspired this post):