If you know me, you know I drink coffee. I talk about drinking coffee. I take pictures of coffee mugs. I always have a coffee mug within three feet of my hand. (At this moment, I have my feet on my desk and so have two feet within three feet of nine mugs (only one is active)). I even have a domain for coffee mugs.
It started because I needed something to drink when I started college teaching more than two decades ago. I liked coffee. I decided to take coffee to class with me every day (rather than the usual water.)
Over the past 25 years, I have no idea how many presentations, lectures, conversations, counseling appointments, essays, sermons, blog posts, trips, hospital visits, video productions, concerts, and quiet moments have been accompanied by a mug of coffee.
So what does that have to do with Hannah Montana?
1. A friend and his family were on vacation. They saw this mug on clearance in a shop in the Outer Banks. They decided I needed it. While I had never thought that I needed a Hannah Montana mug, they were partly right. I, like all of us, needed to be given a Hannah Montana mug, an action that acknowledged the kind of relationship that knows what I like well enough to gently mock it.
That is delightful.
2. Though I know little about Miley Cyrus (an actor) and Hannah Montana (a role), I know that the former is somewhat reluctant to release the latter. The latter is how the former became known. The former (who is only 16) will likely be known for many of the years that will follow for her four year role as the latter. That kind of branding, similar to my coffee brand, can be challenging. A role, a part, a job, a mug can become the shorthand for a person. When we do that, we reduce them, we flatten them, we may even discount them.
That isn’t delightful.
I will, on occasion, drink from my Hannah mug, though probably not when preaching or teaching. I will remember the friendship that brought me the mug and pray that I remember to not commoditize Miley–or anyone.