Are the chips and soda what's offensive?

January 7, 2011

When I was at Wheaton, a story (possibly apocryphal) circulated
about a student who had been expelled a couple years earlier for celebrating a
mock Eucharist on the quad, in which he faux-consecrated donuts and beer. If
you wouldn't want to see such a thing, don't watch this video, an ad entered
for a Super Bowl contest and then pulled amid uproar:



Offensive? I'd say so. But is the problem the fact that the
elements served are foods other than bread and wine? That's certainly not
unprecedented--and churches that get experimental in this area may provoke
controversy, but hardly accusations
of blasphemy. Is it the use of junk
food in particular? Maybe, but the Wonder Bread and "grape juice beverage" I
grew up with had at least as much in common nutritionally with Doritos and
Pepsi as they did with actual bread and wine.

I think what makes the ad offensive isn't the Doritos-and-Pepsi
communion itself; it's the 
suggestion that more people would go to church if churches focused on
providing cheap pleasures people already want--and that this would be a good
thing for the church. Looked at that way, the ad starts to come off
(intentionally or otherwise) less like a thoughtless and easy punch line and
more like satire that offends to make a point.


Feed Your Flock

This ad doesn't offend me and I actually find it kind of funny. I know the deep meaning of communion and this ad does not take that away. I guess I just don't take it beyond face value nor do I think the advertisers are trying to say that the church should feed their flock in this way to get more people in, but then maybe they are. Many people do find church boring and so this could be a way saying Doritos and Cool Max would spruce up even the most boring event including church.

Why not?

It doesn't offend me either but this demonstrates the pragmatism of western misrepresentation of the Good News of Jesus, the Messiah. In fact, I don't give a damn anymore about anything that goes on in the name of faith! From demythologization to Doritos – go for it. The church’s gravity has returned to where it began. The mainline churches are relegated to the sidelines. I remember when I embarked on pastoral ministry many irrational fools told me that ‘we are not in the number game’. Well, after 35 years, we are in the number game. Sanctuaries filled to capacity in the mid-1970s are being converted to chicken coops and cattle barns all across the former Constantinian Christendom. After all, like banana and tea, religion is an imported item anyway!

Of course - by definition -

Of course - by definition - it is blasphemous. You may look it up. It is offensive only if you have a sacramental theology and believe that God is present and feeding his people in this meal, not corporate America. It is hardly remarkable that the Pepsi company would seek to become the source of all good things, but it is only because we have become so jaded to such perversion that we are no longer shocked.

Chaplain's Assistant

As a volunteer chaplain's assistant at a south Texas prison, we had occasion once to have a joint communion service including both Catholics and Christians. The head chaplain was (and still is) a Catholic Deacon. Of course he arranged for and administered the host to the Catholic inmates. I did likewise for the Christians... except that I'd ask him to pick up some unleavened wafers from the store.
Much to my surprise and delight, he picked up cookies. We had a delightful service. And the brethren, who are mostly deprived of such sweets due to their incarceration, had an extra blessing that day.
Considering our pioneer days, it's probably not the first time that sweets have been used to represent the Body of Christ. Seems all the more appropriate considering the grape juice we used for wine.
What was Jesus' reaction? Recalling "the miracle" of transubstantiation, I'm sure that it's just as easy to turn cookies and juice as the wafers and wine.
As if any of us could put God in box.
"Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice." (Philippians 1:12+)


I don't get it, how could some be Catholics and some be Christians? That would mean they were all Christians.


Wow! Some amazing effects. Definitely some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing!


A culture that embraces Family Guy humor creates people coarse enough to dream up an ad like that without likely even realizing how deeply offensive it is to people of faith.