Sunday, 15 July 2007

A theology of chocolate

Now here’s something worth chewing on: David offers a theology of chocolate. Chocolate, he says, “carries on its own ‘ministry of reconciliation’ (2 Cor. 5:18) by resurrecting dead taste faculties and offering nougat-filled glimpses into the grace of God.” Ain’t that the truth.

To enter a little French or Swiss chocolaterie – the sight! the smells! mon Dieu, the taste! – is one of life’s most sublime experiences. The development of existentialist philosophy in France and of neo-orthodox theology in Switzerland can, in my view, be traced directly to the quality of the chocolates of those regions. (On the other hand, the dour humourlessness of the Religious Right in America can perhaps best be explained by unwrapping a Hershey bar.)

As for all those cheap supermarket chocolates: their theological significance is very limited. They are for puritans and ascetics and fundamentalists, for those who want nothing more out of a chocolate bar than a little “mortification of the flesh.” And I will not even mention Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies – those outrageous bags of packaged leftovers, those lumps of grinning malevolence, those confections which ought to bear witness to the resurrection, but which invariably look and taste like stale pesticide. If anyone today still believes in Easter at all, it is precisely in spite of these ubiquitous parcels of unbelief.

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