I have to thank Peter Ould for providing this link to a Giles Fraser piece on the Cross, "Cheesus" and evangelicalism. It may not be a co-incidence that Giles Fraser refers to Rowan Atkinson's woeful sketch on Comic Relief as being "too close to comfort". Most of us thought it too unfunny for words.
But like Peter Ould, the thing that really takes me is the statement that "....the cross of Good Friday is actually celebrated as a moment of triumph. This is theologically illiterate."
No, it's not.
The cross of Good Friday is the symbol of a massive victory. It's where all the temptations to rule the cheap way, to call in the angel army, to call on Daddy to help, to go off and have a quiet life, to settle down and have a family somewhere that Jesus won't upset the authorities, to rule by conquest not by submission, are beaten. It's where the charges laid against us are nailed to the cross with the accusation above Jesus' head, and are ripped up. It's where the Devil finds that there is one human being - in our whole, failing, falling, weakened race - that will never give up, never give in, never let go.
Of course, the Cross is also a moment of failure. It's when the powers and authorities laugh and the bullies have had their day, and the snivelling cowards have bought themselves some time before the next Messiah turns up and threatens the peace again. But it is the moment when God fails like us, that shows God is truly with us. When Jesus asks God why he has forsaken him, he is absolutely where we start out. If some evangelicals have cheesy grins because they like to give a cheesy impression, others have those grins because they know, when they got as low as they could have got, there was someone else down there, despairing with them, and lifting them out. If God can die, all the ancient myths have found their completion - and all the seeds the Spirit has scattered through history have seen fruition.
And as Peter Ould points out, we don't see the Cross as a failure because we know that it doesn't stand alone. The Cross is the gateway to Hell for Jesus, as he storms down to set the captives free - as the Devil realises that he's really let the wrong bloke in this time. The Cross is the launchpad for the Resurrection, and beyond that the Ascension. It doesn't point to the sky for no reason - it's the first stage in our humanity being lifted up to heaven.
Some failure, sure. But what a victory.