It's not in my theology - I simply don't have that belief - that anything supernatural goes on and so I neither expected nor wished for nor thought I hadn't received anything in terms of my recent failure to get a job that I really wanted, had prepared towards, impressed at interview about, and was beaten for it by a candidate on a very narrow basis. A "luxury" of two good candidates when five were interviewed (thus why not interview two, or was only one expected and then the interviews are that merry dance?). Good job I made my own arrangements for getting travel expenses. It was a Higher Education job too, to suit me better, and they are very difficult to secure.
Nevertheless, despite my theology, that you can't knock what you don't have in the first place, the impact of that decision (and so much else) and sitting in the first Advent service does make you wonder what is the point of being there.
I think they call it Michaelmas when the curate was ordained deacon in the church. At that point it was said she had made these promises, then she gave them again, then at another service gave them again. And I thought, whilst I could see how I could make such promises, in all honesty I couldn't make those promises. Since then, though it was cracking beforehand, I haven't said the creed with everyone else. I ought to be like Emma Darwin when she and her family turned around during the creed and faced the congregation. She was still a Unitarian in an Anglican church. I just stand, but should anyone watch my lips they have stopped moving.
I continue to go to the communion rail, but obviously it strikes me that this isn't quite consistent, when you don't say the creed, and so I have been thinking of stopping. My sense though is that once I stop that's it, and so I have not. Nor will I change behaviour on the spur of the moment.
Mentioning this afterwards to someone, I was told of someone else with a theology not far from my own, who started out as an atheist, married a churchgoer, and ended up having adjusted position on the other side of the line and is now a Reader. It would indeed be interesting to talk to such a person. I am a naturally committing sort of person, that when in I want to push my involvement. I've paused my involvement for some time: I did do useful project work recently (and I would do more of that) and I still present some material for an open group discussion.
I write this before attending some Advent procession service. To be honest, I find this time of the year fairly tedious. I do disappear more around the Christmas period, avoiding those endless tiring carols in services and the myth building that grates against the intelligence. My Christmas budget this year - all have been informed - is zero. I was pleased when a pub friend said this year its no tree and all that in his house, so that makes two of us. I shall be no doubt here alone, rattling around, and television will be so awful it will likely be off most of the time, while others eat themselves silly (I can do that anyway) and watch endless rubbish and hopefully have some genuine family contact. I gave up on my family years back and then there is the strange separation...
To get back to the point, if the giving up communion would be temporary, then I won't. I might try without for a trial period, with the intention of 'going back'. However, assuming it all collapses, the issue then is about religious observance.
First of all, I like the Anglican services as such. Secondly, I like the people, and have some important relationships, and when you are on your own and doing sod all most of the time, meeting other people is valuable in itself. But if I stop taking communion, what would happen? At present I attend Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, most Tuesday evenings, most Wednesday mornings. I do this in all seriousness, and as intended practice. All of those, except most Sunday evenings, are Eucharists, and it would be ridiculous to attend especially said Eucharists if there was no consuming, especially the one with say eight people present. In any of them, the prayer of "thank you for feeding us" that effectively winds up the service is a bit pointless if you were not fed.
I don't know really whether the position I've arrived at is one where there is no more that I can do, that the Christian language is once again not giving but taking - that the incredibility of the mythic package is undermining all that which I have theologised about in a more positive direction (and which I still believe).
The Christian service as practised by Anglicans is a very closed affair. Once you are on the other side of the line, you are excluded by the main services that repeat throughout the week. The core service is for insiders, and must be why it generates long term decline. Not that other denominations, with a more open service, are doing any better - indeed their services strike me as cold and bald and lacking the artistic support and indeed power of the ritual path.
At the moment I hang on with a thread. The Advent period is never a good time in my religious calendar, and indeed Christmas is the worst. Maybe I should do something like do the equivalent of hibernation for a short time, still visible but asleep, to perhaps wake up when all this rather nonsensical season is over.
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