I have become increasingly aware over the past year or so exactly how completely FOOD is tied into the Christian faith. And it frustrates me, but I truly don't know what to do about it.
* When there is a meeting after church, we have a potluck dinner.
* Between sermons on Sunday morning, there is coffee & baked goodies.
* On Wednesdays, there is a church-wide dinner.
* For Holidays, we celebrate with a special dinner.
* During weekday Bible studies, the meetings start with dinner or snacks.
* Even Communion... one of our most sacred traditions... revolves around food.
And for someone with allergies, it is immensely difficult to "fit in." We cannot go to potluck dinners - with the cross-contamination issues & all the young children serving themselves, we are bound to be sick. We've been coping by eating at home or bringing our own food in Tupperware containers so we could be "with" everyone else. But it was during Communion this morning that it really hit home. I can't even break bread with my fellow Christians, without suffering for a week because of the gluten in the wafers. I ended up drinking the "wine" and passing the bread on, raising eyebrows as I did so & very much feeling the outsider.
The Christian faith revolves around food. You can't visit a church more than a month without at least a few dinners coming up. And sure, you can refuse to go. You can make excuses, and you can even tell people that you're allergic to foods. But what it comes down to, is that EVERYONE else in that church is doing something that you're not. They know it, and you know it. If you want to fit in and be a part of the church, you eat with them. And there's no easy way to fix it, either. We live in a country that lives to eat, rather than eating to live. And those that can't eat what everyone else is... well, they'll just have to find a way to cope.
I sure wish I knew a way to cope. *I* have dealt with allergies all my life, and am more or less comfortable with being different. But my son is old enough now to really feel his differences, and I worry for his sake... and pray that SOMEHOW we can find a way to make things just a little easier for him.