Once again, Our Lord has been sighted. This time in a cheesy flavour starch snack. Having appeared to his disciples and prepared fish for them on a beach in Galilee, it seems he now prefers to turn up to encourage the faithful in vegetables and snack foods.
This isn’t a uniquely Christian phenomenon of course. A local curry/kebab/chip shop/fried chicken shop near where I live (they wanted to cover all the bases) had a huge boon in sales when one of their staff cut open a potato to find the face of Shiva. But it does appear to be a particularly Christian obsession. As brilliantly set out here, the face of Jesus has turned up in some weird and wonderful places – from shower units to beer bottles. This latest incarnation of Christ as Crisp is just one in a long line of regular appearances, though he unfortunately in this case only has one arm. The picture above was from another recent sighting, on a fish stick.
What are we to make of these regular appearances?
We are told to ‘always seek his face’, so perhaps we should take these sightings without the pinch of salt that generally goes with them. But when these miraculous appearances are generally followed by miraculous listings on eBay, one has to question the deeper spiritual motive.
Our brains are programmed to perform amazing face recognition – we are always looking for faces in any random patterns. Mixed with a religious fervour that is also always looking for some proof, some evidence that we are blessed and we are right and God is with us, that Jesus should bless us with his face on a crisp is pretty much inevitable.
Those who spot them often talk of the boon that these miracles are to their faith. What they seem to show is that this faith is so delicate, so lacking a robustness that it needs these bizarre occurances to regain its strength.
What strength and growth there is in a crisp is, of course, a wider issue of diet and desire. Thomas was chastised for needing evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, and Jesus commended those whose faith did not rely on sightings.
So perhaps the faces on the crisps should be seen more as projections of our weak and desperate religion than of God’s desperation to communicate to us through fried snack foods.