Wednesday, May 27, 2015

God is in the cupcakes

You wouldn't think cupcakes could lead to a religious rant. But if you've ever planned a 6 year old's birthday party, you know some cursing is involved, so hear me out.

Last weekend, I visited my neighborhood Tom Thumb to order cupcakes for my son's birthday party. Having already been told by him that he wanted Paw Patrol themed goodies, and having ordered enough cakes in my time to know how impossible that would be, I came prepared. This was not my first rodeo. I remember only too well last year's fruitless quest for a Power Rangers cake. This year I planned ahead.

So I strolled up to the bakery counter, confident in my ability to score the perfect treat. I had a secret weapon. Cupcake rings. For those of you outside of the elementary party circuit, these are little plastic rings used to decorate cupcakes. Throw one atop an ordinary mild-mannered frosted cake and voila! A Nick TV-themed delight. Basically, cupcake rings are the stripper boot of children's baked goods; cheap, plastic and easy.

So I order the cupcakes, I hand over the rings ... and there's a problem. My Tom Thumb has a kosher bakery, and appparently kosher laws prohibit bringing outside ingredients. So they will make my cupcakes, and I can put the rings on myself after I have taken them outside the store. But they cannot on put my fresh-from-Amazon plastic puppy-adorned rings inside the bakery.

On one hand, no big deal. I can put on the stupid rings myself. But ... I'm kind of annoyed. Not because I'm having to stick by kosher rules at a Tom Thumb when I'm not even Jewish. I figure everyone has to deal with someone else's traditions at some point, so I'm not gonna get bent out of shape over that.

What I'm annoyed with is the idea that someone actually thinks cupcake rings are a threat. Like doesn't God have enough stuff to worry about, he cares whether your challah bread (which is delicious, by the way) was cooked in a kitchen next to my cupcake rings? I try to respect other people's beliefs, but I don't see why He cares that much about anyone's kitchen. If you don't want to eat shrimp or pork or meat, or whatever, go for it. But when you chalk up your eating habits to God, I question that. I just can't believe He really give a hoot if you eat a shrimp. I'm betting He's more worried about the folks who don't have anything to eat at all.

In any religion, there are "can'ts" and many of them make sense. Do not murder, for instance -- that was a good one. But the prohibition on pork? I'm thinking those Old Testament guys just never had bacon. Again, if you don't want to eat it, don't. But how exactly does God figure into not eating a bacon cheeseburger?

I don't get how He has time, amid the many other problems of the world, to fret about how you dress, either. Whether it's head scarves or burkhas or those long Pentecostal denim skirts that - let's be honest - flatter no one, do you really believe Jesus or Mohammed or any of those guys could have had that much interest in fashion to run around telling everyone what not to wear? (Although if they did, can you imagine the HGTV special? "Mary Magdalene, honey, you need a new robe like yesterday!")

I believe people came up with those rules. People. Ordinary people. And there were undoubtedly reasons they concocted these rules, but that doesn't necessarily make them right. It's not that I don't believe in God. I just don't believe His biggest concern is food or fashion.

Other things I doubt are big on His radar? Blood transfusions. You know -- the kind that save a life, except if you're a Christian Scientist or Jehovah Witness. In which case, I guess death is preferable to the kindness of a stranger enabling you to live? Because yeah. Jesus would so not be into that.

I guess it's pretty presumptuous of me to talk about what a higher power wants. It's just that I've noticed when there is something to be restricted, people are quick to point out how that pleases God. I think it just pleases other people.

Seems to me like we could all accomplish a lot more by focusing on what we can do, instead of what we can't. And maybe trying to think for ourselves on the small stuff, that maybe .. just maybe ... is up for debate.

Because they say God is in the details.

But I don't think they meant cupcake rings.