There are two types of people in the world. Those who get annoyed about hot cross buns appearing in shops on Boxing Day and those who absolutely love it. And the passions run high. If you mention seeing the buns in question, you’ll quickly find out what type of person you’re dealing with. You’ll hear all about the evils of capitalism (or sultanas) and the commercialisation of sacred holidays. Or you’ll hear about how delicious the buns are, how they should be available all year ‘round. Either way you’ll find out very quickly where the person being questioned stands.
As you’re reading this, you might be nodding along in agreement. You’ve noticed the trend, heard the arguments. You may have already put yourself in one camp or the other. Perhaps you’ve bought the buns for some cheeky early indulgence. And so the world is increasingly polarised. We sense it more each day; passionate loud defences of the buns or calls for their removal (or at least a clearly defined selling time). People are divided into two camps . . . or are they?
Perhaps it’s more of a spectrum.
Some people feel guilty buying the buns early . . . but do it anyway. Some people make all their food at home. Some are gluten free and can’t partake of the traditional variety or perhaps have to seek out that particular product sans gluten. Among the positive pro-bun folk, some traditionalists swear by the “proper” version, complete with raisins and spice. Others like to dabble in apple and cinnamon, choc chips or other exotic additions but can’t abide raisins in bread. . . or anything. On the flipside, I’m sure sure you could find someone willing to explain to you the pagan origins of the buns, the supermarket chain, currency and Easter. A bun enthusiast will be able to tell you which brand is the best, when they’re freshest and how to prepare them. They will wax lyrical on the best they’ve tasted. Perhaps you come from a culture or a country where they aren’t even a thing. (Are they sold in Niue or Tuvalu? I have no idea but I’m willing to be sent to find out.) Unfortunately, some can’t afford luxuries like hot cross buns.
You get the picture. At this point we could get to the place where we said that it doesn’t matter. Hot cross buns are quite inconsequential. True, but I’m trying to demonstrate that it’s very easy to tell a story that dismisses the nuance, the reasoning and the personhood at the centre of a broad opinion. The tale of two tastes is a simple narrative to tell. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. Now before you accuse me of post-modern dismissal of absolute truth or you think my parable of the buns is embracing some new ideal equality, let me put your mind at ease. Not all opinions are equal—hot cross buns are the best.
But that’s not my point either. Wherever you fall on the spectrum it doesn’t matter. You know that. It’s a trivial debate. What matters is you, whether you’re the gluten-free mum or bun-loving grandparent, the chocolate chip child or the fruit-filled father, we’re all human. Made in the image of God. That image in each and every one of us, is to be respected and cherished. Unfortunately, linear thinking is dangerous. If I reject you because of your hot cross bun preferences, then I’m painting you as a perspective not a person. If we divide everything up as church and secular, we risk alienating and othering those who disagree with us. Those who Jesus came to restore just as much as He hoped to restore us. The good news is for everyone.
The world we live in is seemingly becoming more and more polarised. We’re seeing it in the broader community as much as we’re seeing it in the Church.
So while we’ve still got more than a month to go until Easter, this is your permission to go out and enjoy some early hot cross buns . . . or not, up to you.