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The Apostles of Christ as Breakfast Cereals

May 12, 2021

What do the Biblical Apostles have in common with your favourite breakfast cereals? This is a question I asked myself a few weeks ago when I found myself reading my Bible while eating breakfast. This intensive research project turned out to be surprisingly fruitful, and I have decided to present my findings in the form of an article, as any good scholar does. So, grab your bowls, get out the milk, and feel free to follow along with me in your Bibles.

(Please note that the following statements about Biblical figures are in line with Church traditions but not necessarily with mainstream scholarship. We’re just having fun here!)

Philip – Rice Krispies

Reasons:

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1. We’ve heard of him, but there’s not a lot of flavour – In researching this article I was surprised to find out just how little Philip actually appears in the four gospel accounts. I feel like he’s one of the first disciples that I think of when I think about Jesus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel the same way. In other words, he doesnt have a lot of substance or flavour, but he manages to be heard anyway.

John – Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes

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Reasons: 

1. He’s Greeeeeaaaaat! – John is often known as “the beloved disciple”…because that’s what he calls himself in the gospel which he supposedly wrote. 

2. He’s Athletic – Or at least he thought of himself as such. Similar to calling himself “beloved”, John also felt the need to point out in John 20:4 that he could run fast. Or at least that he could run faster than Peter. This may not actually be saying much – for all we know, Peter could have been very slow. 

3. He puts a nice sugar coating on everything If we compare John’s gospel to the other three gospels, John stands out as something of an artist. Though he covers many of the same facts and stories as the other gospel authors, there is always an air of poetry and creativity in the way he weaves Old Testament allusions and subtle hints of divinity through his narrative. 

James Son of Zebedee – Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

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Reasons:

1. John’s Less Fun Brother – Did you know that Frosted Flakes are just Corn Flakes with a sugar coating? Otherwise, they’re the same. Makes ya think. Anyway, This James is the brother of the Apostle John, but as we’ve already established, John was a pretty zesty character. James doesn’t exactly live up to that hype, but we love him anyway.

James Son of Alphaeus – Great Value Corn Flakes

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Reasons:

1. He’s the off-brand James – Church tradition has distinguished between “James the Greater” and “James the Lesser” (this one). These titles don’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other, and they may just be indications of seniority or even physical size. But the fact remains that James the Lesser is a pretty vague character amongst the apostles, especially compared to the more prominent figures. But hey, he’s still a cereal.

Bartholomew and Nathaneal – Life and Chex

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Reasons: 

1. We can’t tell them apart – Have you ever held a single piece of Life cereal next to a single piece of Chex cereal? They look a bit different, but I’d bet you’d be hard pressed to remember which one is which on the spot. Throughout church history it has often been suggested that Nathaneal and Bartholomew were in fact the same person. Modern scholars have argued against this, but whether or not these two disciples were the same person is something we may never know for sure on this side of things.

Thomas – Oatmeal Crisp

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Reasons:

1. You’re doubtful at first but it ends up being good – Oatmeal Crisp doesn’t look great. It looks like cereal to be consumed either by very old people or young people who are concerned about their bowel functions. You probably don’t want to accept it as the delicious, syrupy, nutty, crunchy, and extremely satisfactory meal that it is, but if you just reach out to it and try it for yourself, you’ll be a believer too. Trust me. 

Peter – Wheaties

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Reasons

1. He was there at the beginning, and he’s not going anywhere – Peter shows up in all four gospels, as well as the book of Acts and some of the epistles. He’s one of the most well-known New Testament figures and remains one of the most influential in Christian doctrine. 

2. He is the Metaphorical Breakfast of Jesus’ Champions – Peter is the OG of the church. In the Catholic tradition, St. Peter is considered to be the first pope, since Jesus says to him “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church.” (The name “Peter” literally means “rock” and so there’s an implication that he is a sort of eternal and steadfast figure on which the church will begin). No matter what denomination or tradition of Christianity you come from, Peter is the man that it can all be traced back to.

Matthew – Honey Nut Cheerios

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Reasons:

1. He is a new and improved version of his old self Have you ever met anyone who prefers the original Cheerios over the honey nut version? Me neither. Matthew is in a similar boat. I am fairly certain that the only people who preferred the original tax-collecting version of this apostle over the later follow-Jesus-serve-the-poor version were the Romans themselves… and they don’t count.

2. He is easily accessible Matthew’s gospel (we’re gonna stick with church tradition for now and assume that Matthew is the author of this gospel) is probably the one that tells the most all-encompassing and easily understandable story of Jesus’ life (although Luke is also a candidate here). Though contextual awareness always aids in exegesis, someone very new to Christianity may feel most comfortable understanding what’s going on in this gospel. And let’s face it, Cheerios may not be the most exciting cereal, but there isn’t a less offensive or more friendly cereal brand out there.

Andrew – Cap’n Crunch

Reasons:

1. He is a manly seafarer – Andrew’s name comes from a Greek word which indicates manhood or masculinity. Combined with the Biblical narrative of Andrew being a humble fisherman, we can imagine a rough and rugged seafaring type who has had no shortage of adventures or mishaps on the water.

2. His cross is used as a Naval Ensign – A tradition has developed which believes that Andrew was crucified, similarly to Jesus, but on a diagonal, “X” shaped cross. This shape is now known as “St. Andrew’s Cross” in the world of heraldry and flag design and has been used on naval flags for hundreds of years.

Jude – French toast crunch 

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Reasons:

1. He May be the Brother of Christ – Jude the Apostle is sometimes identified with Jude the brother of Jesus. And yes, I am implying that if Jesus himself was a cereal, he would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And if this is the case, his slightly-less-amazing-but-also-really-good brother, must be the French Toast variety.

Paul – Lucky Charms

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Reasons:

1. He was Often Being Pursued – Paul wasn’t popular amongst the authorities of his day. He spent a decent amount of time being pursued by the law and even in prison. Similar to a certain Leprechaun who is constantly on the run.

2. People Ignore Most of it and Just Pick out the Stuff they Like – Paul’s theology is dense, often difficult to unpack (even other biblical authors made comments about how hard Paul’s writing was to understand), and it comes with a vast array of political and social ramifications. Yet, the vast majority of his modern readers don’t put in the effort to get to the heart of his teaching and instead just pick out little “marshmallows” from his writing to focus on and put in their Instagram bios. 

Simon – Froot Loops

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Reasons:

1. He’s Passionate – I don’t know about you, but when I think about a cereal for the most zealous and passionate people in my life, my mind immediately goes to Toucan Sam. The New Testament’s own colourful bird, Simon, is referred to by Luke as “the Zealot”. While the exact meaning of this title is debated, one possible explanation that Simon belonged to a group of Jewish freedom fighters known as the Zealots. These men essentially waged a guerilla campaign against Rome, attempting to stir up insurrection and violent revolt to drive Rome out of the Holy Land. If this was indeed the case, we can imagine that Jesus may have appreciated Simon’s passion for his Jewish identity, but probably needed to instill a more “love your enemy” or “put away your sword” attitude in his pal Simon. Regardless, a little dose of zeal is essential to begin any ministry endeavour, and that’s Simon.

Judas – Raisin Bran

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Reasons: 

Completely self-explanatory.

Remember kids, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important meal of the day. Thanks for reading.

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