I've been going to church with my family since we moved to Florida. This was Bridget's idea, mostly, because she's worried about our kids growing up without any kind of reference point for religion.
A few years ago, for instance, we ate a holiday dinner at Bridget's aunt's house. Someone began to say grace and everyone at the table bowed their heads - except for the three Grim Richard children who, with their mouths crammed with food, looked around in amazement as the entire room of people closed their eyes. It was Gabriel, I think, who had the guts to shout out the obvious heathen question:
"Why the heck is everybody sleeping, Dad?"
So, there is some merit to Bridget's concern.
I'm surprised by how much I like going to this church. At first, I only agreed to attend because I think it's a good idea to force a conversation about morality at least once a week. Usually, this blog forces two or three uncomfortable conversations a week with my wife, so I sort of assumed that base was covered.
v Gradually, though, I've come to enjoy the nice people, the great conversations and the fact that the "H" word is not thrown around like a holy brick. Also - and Bridget will hate me for mentioning this - there are donuts in the lobby after services. I think other churches really underestimate the synergy of donuts and religion.
Alas, the donuts are off limits for me now. A recent physical showed that I had borderline high blood pressure problems, borderline sugar problems and, finally, borderline cholesterol problems. To combat these borderline ills, I've adopted a pretty strict diet that denies me sugar, refined wheat and, most of all, high fructose corn syrup.
And so far, it's worked. My sugar levels dropped to acceptable levels. My blood pressure also dropped. It turns out that if you concentrate on eating only "food", your body tends to...what's the word I'm looking for...work.
A few Sundays ago, our church held Communion. Ushers handed little cubes of bread and tiny glasses of grape juice to everyone who wanted to participate. On cue, everyone popped their cubes of bread into their mouths. Except for me.
Bridget gestured impatiently toward my bread.
"High fructose corn syrup," I whispered.
Bridget shook her head forcefully and I swallowed the bread. I got her point. A little corn syrup is okay as long as the bread is chock full of Jesus.