Why is CICCU so frickin’ annoying?

Text a toastie or else.

Cambridge Cambridge Christian Union Christianity CICCU Evangelism

I read this article this morning and I was gutted.

First, because Dominic is a Christian – so he sorta qualifies as my brother – and it’s sad when we don’t get on.  On the plus side, we’re getting coffee next week so I hope to rectify this.

Second, because I love CICCU. Please read the article itself, but you’ll realise that it voices some pretty common objections to the organisation. CICCU is a judgemental, self-righteous, sex-hating, Bible-bashing anachronism that would probably make more sense in Texas than the modern, forward-thinking, progress-loving institution that is Cambridge University.  CICCU is convinced that God only loves signed-up members of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. (And Mother Theresa.) (Possibly.)


Sexually repressed Cambridge students numbed into a state of submission to their God.

So I want to apologise.  I love Jesus and I want to be like him.  Jesus hated self-righteousness, but I know that I can sometimes drift into feeling superior and looking down people who don’t agree with me.  This attitude hurts other people as much as it hurts Jesus – who didn’t want me to act this way.  So I’m deeply sorry, on behalf of everyone in CICCU who’s ever made a half-baked, insensitive comment.  Forgive us.

Self-righteous pricks at Hyde Park. See, it could be worse.

The reality is that Christianity is all about humility.  We believe that Jesus was God – coming to be with us – not because we deserved a visit but because we needed help.  He taught us that God has outrageously high moral standards; look no further than the sermon on the mount.  This is a God who touched untouchables, dined with the outcasts of society and befriended prostitutes.

Jesus criticised religious hypocrites – not for setting high moral standards but for claiming to have reached them.  He taught that they – and us – need forgiveness. Then he offered it to us.  As he died on the cross, he had the audacity to say of the men who had crucified him, “Father, forgive them.” (Let alone the audacity to rise from the dead.)

Remember the time some loony crucified himself in front of King’s Chapel? One of the many terrific things you have Christians in Cambridge to thank for.

Christianity is the opposite of  “God loves me, not you, because I’m a better person”. At the heart of Christianity is that we all break God’s heart – yet he’d rather die for these pathetic, broken bipeds than leave us alone.

We don’t think we’re better or more clever than anyone else.  We’re not.  It’s just that we’ve found something incredible. (Or more accurately, it’s found us.) We think Jesus came to reveal to the world what God’s like and what the purpose of our short lives on this rocky outlier of the Milky Way is.

It’s a captivating message – and no, I won’t shut up about it. Dominic made the point that while most colleges have chapels, CICCU seems to be the voice you keep hearing – or at least the organisation that insists on bribing you with free toasties or doughnuts.  This isn’t an accident.

CICCU exists because we think God loves everyone – even if you don’t love him back.  He wants to know you – even if you don’t want to know him.

And if these means making wholesale purchases of doughtnuts – preying on your primal love for doughy, jam-centered creations – then so be it.  Or incurring the status of God botherer by inviting you to an excessive number of Facebook events.

TAKE A DOUGHNUT. The heart-shaped one symbolises Jesus’ love for you.  #evangelisation #trustme #ihavedoughnuts

Jesus has set us free from fear and guilt.  He’s shown us a love so absurd that some days it’s the only thing that keeps me going. Of course I want to tell you about it.

In our culture, thinking we’ve got the truth and wanting to share it with people can come across as arrogant.  But a friend of mine – Aimee – who agrees with Dominic and loved his article made the following comment:

Aimee’s comment. See, I asked permission.

I think she’s right. Whether you’re a member of CICCU or not – or an agnostic or atheist – all disagree with people.  The challenge is how to love these people – how to resist the temptation to label them, or slander them, or forget them.  Sometimes we’ve failed.  But I sincerely think there’s a way to eat our doughnuts together and genuinely talk about the meaning of life.  Aimee is asking the right question.

You’ll notice I haven’t answers Dominic’s allegations of misogyny and homophobia.  I didn’t want to start with them because I think they’re so deeply personal I’d rather have a real-life discussion than preach from the esteemed servers of the Tab.  Moreover, people get annoyed when we go on about sex and not about Jesus. If you do want to hear what we have to say about it though, since there isn’t space you can read a little expansion here.

We love Jesus and we love you. We know that’s weird. Forgive us. Let’s talk?