ChoCo Theology 101
Here’s the question I get asked all the time: “Is this really a church?” And like all the best questions, there’s a simple answer and a complicated one. The simple answer is YES, this is a church, meaning a community organized by faith that is expressed through spiritual practice. The Church of Chocolate just has a more highly developed sense of humor (and of course more theobromine) than traditional churches.
The more complicated answer looks like this:
A church can be defined as a community centered on their relationship with God, expressing that relationship through shared ritual and spiritual experience. There is always an interior aspect (gnosis) and an external or social aspect (religion). The church is the link between the inner and outer experience, as well as being a place or group where people can support each other’s theology and spiritual practice. With some people, a certain form of traditional ritual creates that communion or fellow feeling. With others, as in the Church of Craft, provides the link. With ChoCo, it’s chocolate that offers the inner taste and outer communion; our love and appreciation of chocolate gives us a picture of the deliciousness of God.
ChoCo’s purpose is to provide a new picture of spirituality based on bliss and elation (the only true human emotions) instead of guilt, the normative value of religions founded in empire-based cultures. I’m not saying that guilt doesn’t serve a purpose: in terms of human development, it’s still important to notice when we have gone out of alignment with who we truly are. That’s what sin means – being off the mark. We naturally lead better lives when we aligned with God, and doing what we are assigned/designed to do here on Earth. However, we are also designed to process negative conditions and emotions quickly, and then to release them – not to rack ourselves with real and imagined mistakes, guilt, pain and suffering.
“How am I spiritual? What do I believe in? What in life moves, me, compels me, gives me strength and makes me happy?” (from Rev. Callie’s recent sermon at the Church of Craft)
Clearly one answer to this is chocolate. It brings strength and delight, restores our pleasure in the moment, stimulates the heart and mind, and (naturally) makes us happy. Some people find it pretty compelling, too.
Our culture – Western culture – is laced round with fear, doubt, and anxiety. It focuses on what is going wrong rather than celebrating “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report…” (Philippians 4:8)
External messages and internal mindtalk conspire to persuade us that we are mediocre rather than excellent, imprisoned in flesh rather than integrated in this physical life. The conspiracy of mediocrity leads to a life wherein we are only half alive. At the Church of Chocolate, we believe that there is a good reason we are in bodies, and we intend to celebrate that incarnation as often and as well as we possibly can!