In today’s gospel Jesus says we must take up our cross and follow him.
The Anglican Church–ever on the lookout for a new way to be trendy, relevant and cool has suggested that we take up our cupcake instead.
Across the water Fr Ed Tomlinson reports that the Anglican Diocese of Leicester distributed cupcakes to people on Ash Wednesday instead of ashes.
I thought this was a silly rumor, but it seems to be true. The Diocesan website gushes about this venture here. The Diocesan PR person gushes:
Lent is traditionally a time to give up yummy things, like chocolate, so why is the church giving away cake today of all days?
This cake is a symbol of the freedom, purpose and fulfilment that Jesus came to give to you, and like this cake it is a free gift for you to accept.
You can eat this cake to celebrate and say thank you to God for all the good things in your life, and particularly for the gift of Jesus.
Fr Ed waxes eloquent on the reasons why this is really pretty dumb.
A) Ash Wednesday is a traditional day of Christian FASTING, no matter how much the Anglican diocese of Leicester might wish it wasn’t. No matter how many Anglicans no longer bother to fast or take it seriously.
B) Across the world countless Christians spent yesterday avoiding excess. Many have given up cakes and biscuits as part of their Lenten observance. What a grossly insensitive gesture to stick cakes in their faces on their daily commute!
C) Fasting and giving things up are not antiquated ideals, as is claimed by the tin pot theologians behind this gimmick. By what authority is the Anglican diocese of Leicester entitled to “challenge the perception of Lent as a time to give things up?” Abstinence is vital to Christian living. It teaches self restraint and self-control without which we have no hope to avoid temptation. How dangerous to treat it as something no longer holding relevance. Especially when the culture is so indulgent.
D) ‘Giving something up for Lent’ remains strong in the conscience of our post- Christian culture. How confusing and unhelpful then to challenge this! Surely the cup-cakes should have been held back until Easter..when it would have been a lovely and meaningful gesture.
E) The cakes came with a slogan: ‘you can have your cake and eat it’ How on earth does this sentiment fit into the Christian life? Surely the very point of Lent is to remind us that, no, we cannot have our cake and eat it. Following Christ means turning away from sin and being faithful to the Gospel. It means remembering that we are dust and to dust we shall return- and therefore we need to ponder our eternal destiny. Mind you, come to think of it, “you can have your cake and eat it” certainly seems an apt slogan for much modernist post-christian Anglican thinking…
Is it possible that the leadership of the once great Church of England is so shallow, naive and just plain silly?
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and always has been. I’m for standing things on their head, but this just takes the cake… Continue Reading
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