The Anglican Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price, has condemned what he terms "cupcake Christians" - those who ignore all that is difficult and challenging about their faith. He has called for more discernment and commitment within the church.
“Cupcake Christians are those who have their own individual Jesus neatly packaged, separated from all others, covered in sweetness, avoiding all that is difficult and challenging. And, with the cherry of personal salvation on the top,” Bishop Price told an event to launch Christian Aid Week in his area.
He continued: “Jesus' gospel speaks of being detached from living in the present world with its reliance on political, military and economic might - and being willing to be 'seeds falling into the ground and dying' for the cause of God's saving justice."
The bishop, who has been outspoken about the Iraq war, global poverty and renewing the church from the grassroots, explained: "Eternal life for Jesus is about relationship. It is about a new commandment; an obligation to loyalty, reliability, faithfulness, demonstrated in practical action."
His remarks were picked up by the Bath Chronicle newspaper. Bishop Price highlighted the fact that for many developing countries the impact of global warming is life threatening and urged the congregation to take steps to tackle the issues.
He also highlighted the merits of non-violent direct action through lifestyles choices and changes when he explained that "When Jesus spoke of seed falling into the ground, he was speaking of thinking and acting differently about the securities with which we surround ourselves."
"Throughout history emperors, monarchs and presidents have used their power to muffle the voices of those who challenge the necessity of violence. Neither violence or war ended slavery, or brought racial equality, or overthrew apartheid.
"It was the seeds of justice, freedom, human rights, falling into the ground in men and women who saw in Jesus Christ's suffering and dying the way to a new world. It was Martin Luther King who called people to practice a 'justice that is love correcting that which revolts against love.'
"He called in the words of Amos, 'to let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream'. True Christian aid today calls for a radical change of heart."
Bishop Price concluded by calling on ‘Cup Cake Christians’ to “remove the wrappers that separate us from one another; pick away at the sticky sweetness that prevents us from radical loving; and become the people of God united to the poor, denouncing from their place the injustice against them."
Christian Aid Week runs until Sunday 20 May 2007. The world-renowned UK churches development and relief agency is campaigning to raise money and awareness for the worlds poorest. Its main theme this year is action on climate change.