So what am I denying myself? It's more basic than atonement theory or anything else. It's about spirituality and the consistency of appearance and an inner state in what is going on.
For years I attended churches and not had communion services. My view of it is not as God's self offering, but (this may seem similar) exists as a form of spiritual gift that we construct. The idea runs that everything between us is an exchange, usually to do with a psychological view of utility and its margin (basic economics), but we also find that exchange is something that brings people together. It's true in small societies, it's so in binding Europe together as an economic market and then a political union. But there is also the added anthropology of the spiritual gift, which does this more, and is thus a one-up gift-exchange. This is where someone or some group goes out of its way to make a material sacrifice (going out of its way is part of it) to receive a potential spiritual gift. That gift is usually contained in some sort of otherwise fairly useless token. The effect is a perspective on life and further binding of the group and a going out in a condition of refreshment.
I think that the Eucharist fits into this well, and I view it this way around. The spiritual gift is somewhat ineffable, and it may come with impact or with little effect.
The peace, where one makes hand connecting or gesture with some others, knowing that there is a pattern that connects some to all, has a similar function, so this will have to do for me - while I consider things through.
Roughly speaking, the whole litugy is attitudinal, but it is just a drama and process that contains what it contains in these elements and it is a kind of reflective discipline.
I'd be happy to operate at this level, but without being any kind of literalist, there are realist expectations around what you do in liturgy, and I don't meet them; there is an expected consistency of outer appearance and inner stance that was not being met by me.
The problem is further that membership and consistent acceptance is defined as being at the communion rail.
If there is another view for participation, then I'll change back.
One of the interesting aspects of this 'collapse' is that it has not been via any competition with another group. All other enquiries and interests have been closed. Such a condition of change like this is unusual for me, because in the past I've been to two or more places at once. Even Unitarian College was the ecumenical one, to mix with others (and they were fine, it was the Unitarians with whom I had all the problems). It is just that my present approach to faith hasn't seemingly maintained itself.
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