Oops… confessing to using chocolate as reward for going to church and surviving church was possibly opening myself to splutters of outrage and accusations of a terrible underlying theological grasp of the Eucharist from the one listening to my incoherent account of just why I was changing churches! (Mind you, owning up to knowing how many holes there were in the floor grates in a church because I’d spent boring sermons counting them may not also have been a good plan, either…)
So, am I a theological dimwit? (Possible!) Or is it more that things have shifted and what once fed and sustained me in a church context no longer does? For, it’s true to say that once upon a time the church I’ve been going to for the last 18 months or so would’ve been fine for me. A regular ordered service, with weekly Eucharist. Occasion trips for saints days, or feast days. Sensible, basic church diet, but somehow, no longer nourishing.
It’s also true to say my relationship with food as a whole over many years can only be described as, um, interesting. One of my reasons for needing to change my life completely was just how bad that relationship had got, and how poor my eating habits had become. This time of living on my own has more or less got me back to eating in a proper, sensible way again – except on bad Sundays when I’d been detouring to the shop for after church treats in quantities that were not good. I’d noticed it was happening, but because it was really only every few weeks I’d been kidding myself it was OK, until it suddenly became every week after an occasion when the pressure was put on me to do something I really didn’t want to, and the answer wasn’t going to be allowed to be “No” without a lot of emotional blackmail, and the quantities began to soar, then I knew I had to do something more radical.
So, for the time being, I’m switching to a different denomination. Not an unknown one, it’s the kind of church I was sent to as a child, so I’m familiar with how it works, and comfortable enough with it. Some of the same difficulties will be there, and in a way that’s reassuring. It’s helping me make more sense of what the problems actually are.
Strangely enough, being the perverse creature I am, I have, as a result, reverted to the custom of years of praying the Daily Office, having had the best part of a year of not doing so, and ending up feeling slightly but permanently discombobulated as a result… it seems you can take a Japes out of a setting where such prayer routines are an embedded part of life, but not the routine out of a Japes.
[Editoral tangent – I love the word discombobulate. I did not realise it was of American origin. At least according to the OED it is. I am spending a lot of time looking up words at the moment, having discovered the marvel that my membership of the public library gives me access to the OED on-line at home.]
And, no, I am not going to give up on church, just because I’ve hit a longer than expected rough patch with it, and indeed I do not want to give up on church. It’s a difficult place to be, but then no-one ever said this turning your life over to God malarkey was ever going to be easy!