As many an Oxonian was preparing for a wild one at Park End last Wednesday, the OICCU (Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union) were setting up for the University-wide Text-a-Toastie, an event which involves texting a question about Christianity in return for an answer and a toastie. There was a run on Tesco as bags upon bags of bread were bought, along with copious amounts of grated cheese, ham, chocolate and bananas (though what would lead you to order a chocolate and banana toastie is still beyond me). Christians from every college were getting ready for a night of cycling between student houses, running up and down lots of stairs and trying to avoid setting off the fire alarms.
Much loved amongst the student population, for whom free food is an enticing prospect for absolutely anything, the Text-a-Toastie event sees toasties distributed to students wherever they are, be it having an essay crisis in the library, pre-drinking in their room or just around college and feeling a bit peckish. It’s also, though, an opportunity to ask some of those questions about Christianity that you’ve always wanted to, but that on the surface seemed a bit silly or pedantic to bring up in a super-serious chapel service. Be that a simple “What do you actually do at church?” or a hot topic question on contemporary society, my favourite being “Could Jesus come back as a woman?”, it will be answered by a Christian in the vicinity. They aren’t looking to get into an argument or a fight about whose beliefs are more valid or right; they merely want to get people thinking about important issues, and to show people what it is that makes Christians live differently. With Christianity a big part of our country’s history, it is surprising how little the average Oxford student knows about the God that Christians worship, and so part of the evening is about dispelling myths and showing the relevance of faith to student life.
From the whole evening, a couple of questions spring to mind. “If God were a biscuit, what kind would he be?” always pops up, as well as the classic “Could God make a boulder so heavy he couldn’t lift it?” There were, though, some great discussions on grace, creation and whether Jesus’ treatment of prostitutes and women in general makes him one of the first feminists. A particularly bizarre moment of the evening was an order for a cheese and chocolate flavour toastie from a group of pre-drinkers; I didn’t pluck up the courage to try it myself, but it seemed to go down alright with them.
As we’ve come to the end of Love Like This, a week full of talks about Jesus, there are probably still questions going through the minds of us all. What with the stressful and busy nature of work, extra-curricular activities and managing to keep up a semi-functional social life, it can be only too easy to be apathetic beyond that. It doesn’t often cross our minds, if we have no particular faith, to wonder where we come from, where we’re going and what on earth we’re actually doing here. But I would encourage you, like in Text-a-Toastie, through enjoying (or perhaps for some of us, enduring) your subject, spending time with your friends and just doing whatever you love you do, to consider that maybe, just maybe, there might be something more. What will you be asking next time Text-a-Toastie comes around? After all, ask and the answer will be given to you.