Peak Milk Advertorial Was Theological Not Offensive?
Two events have had sustained social media hype over the past two weeks. These two events took over the attention drawn by the fiercely worded open letter to the U.S President — Joe Biden by global icon of letters — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Recall that Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s attack dogs came for her soul. They argued that it is neocolonialist mentality to appeal to Western political authorities over domestic national issues like a rigged election.
But they forgot how they literally sought, and begged for congratulatory messages from the same West, to validate their allegedly stolen mandate. They were so desperate, that they proudly brandished British PM, Rushi Sunak’s felicitations when it came.
That was quite hypocritical, but not as brazen as two other inglorious demonstration of double standards in the country in recent times.
One took place in religious sphere, when Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN) threatened sanction against FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, makers of Peak Milk, for what the Body considered an “offensive” Easter message which used the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as an advertorial to promote its product on Good Friday.
The other was unjustified canonization of Moroccan international football star Achraf Hakimi by Nigerian youths, for using his mother to hide his wealth away from his spouse, in what seemed trust issues. It was obvious our girls want to have a son like Hakimi but not a mother-in-law like his mother.
Meanwhile, this piece is themed around the undue persecution of producers of Peak Milk by CAN for a simple online ad.
According to CAN, Good Friday is a solemn day for Christians all over the world, a day they commemorate the death of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was crucified on the cross for their sins.
“It is not a day to be used for crass commercial purposes. FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC’s action is not only disrespectful to the Christian faith but also an affront to the millions of Christians in Nigeria and beyond. We are deeply disappointed that a company of such repute would stoop so low to exploit the religious sentiments of its customers for profit. We are considering sanctions against FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, including a boycott of their products by our members and all well-meaning Nigerians who share our concerns.”
On Easter Sunday, Peak Milk released an apology to CAN saying: “We wish to inform the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that the social media post has since been withdrawn.”
Now, what exactly was offense of the company?
They placed a still photograph of a tin of Peak Milk ruffled on its body and stripped off its wrapping label and a nailed used to pierce it on its base and wrote:
“Bruised and pierced for us. Stripped of His garment
but never of His goodness. #Goodfriday”
What specifically is wrong with this Easter message designed by Peak Milk that should make some Christians scream blood and made CAN demand for apology.
Was Jesus Christ not bruised and battered more, than the tin of Peak Milk used in the ad? Those phrases connote the spiritual bases of universal salvation, bought by Christ at the lavish cost if his blood and death.
Didn’t his blood flow like the milk depicted in the ad, his milk of kindness that made him die for us?
Despite the way he was stripped bare and nailed to the cross, did the goodness in him not manifest when he made sure even the repentant thief by his side was saved? His kindness was so immeasurable that He condescended so low to those whose debts He have pardoned to become a debtor Himself by His promises.
We worry too much about mundane things when we do not even practice what Christ preached and represents.
Granted, every religion has its custodians — those who guards its territory from crass profanity by “infidels” and oversee the ‘purity’ of its doctrines. But Christianity is not a religion in the strict sense of the word. It is way of life (Acts. 9:1—2; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14). So, even if a certain optics is perceived as inordinate to Christ’s vicarious suffering, by Christians, does that reduce the efficacy of his salvific suffering and death?
Is CAN defining itself as Christian equivalent of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)? Do they now want to take up the fight of the Lord for the Lord?
Whenever there is signs of “abusive reference” to elements of Christianity or misrepresentation of its doctrines, Christians will make comparative statements such as “will anyone try that with Islam?”
While untoward reference or uncomplimentary remarks to any faith system is not proper, Christians should know that theirs is a religion that tolerates intellectual freedom. Hence, it allows men free space to express and/or discuss its practices and theology.
They should stop comparing with some religious sects where mere cartoonization of its founder or doctrine (whether positive or negative) triggers religious war!
Another factor that these overzealous ‘curators’ of christian religion should know is that its theology is based on what can be called “contextual correlation” — use of familiar temporal realities to teach about the “unfamiliar” mystical realities of salvation.
During his physical earthly life, Jesus Christ, the Saviour used local parables and slangs to teach men the things of Heaven. He used fig tree (Lk. 13:6-9) to teach and illuminate the finitude of man’s intellect on divine patience and mercy. He likened the Kingdom of God to yeast used in baking bread (Matt. 13:33-34). In fact, “he never spoke to the people except through parables” so affirmed the bible.
This informed why christian theology encourages sacramental use of visible world to grasp the realities of the unseen divine realm. Just as Peak used the reality of ruffled and bruised tin of milk to demonstrate Christ’s crucifixion.
Why is CAN unaware of this?
This year’s Peak Milk’s Good Friday advert was an indepth reflection of the suffering servant of Isaiah, which represents Christ on the tridium — passion, death, and resurrection (Is. 52:13-14).
Someone should remind CAN that whats offends the Lord more is their tepidity in the face of electoral injustice perpetuated on February 25, 2023 in Nigeria. The sealed lips they maintained while harmless and innocent young Nigerian protesters were shot in cold blood at Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020. Their indifference to the gruesome murder of Miss Deborah Samuel at the Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto, by bare-faced arsonists, masquerading as Islamic extremists in May last year.
What Christ meant in Matt. 10:32, when he said: “those who profess me before the world, I would profess before my Father in heaven” is not that Christians should profess Him by seeking and maligning companies whose advertorial is perceived offensive to their sensibility. True christian spirituality is seen when christians rise against social injustice (Is. 58:6).
It is hypocritical to draw sword against an innocent social media ad and keep silent while injustice audaciously rules our land.
May daylight spare us!