Monday, January 29, 2007

Norwich Central Baptist Church’s chocolate distribution ritual, which takes place during its now famous "Chocolate Sandwich" services has fascinated me for long time now, and I have often pondered on its real meaning. But, I won't have to ponder much longer: The incumbent professor of UEA's centre for liberated studies and sexology, Prof Trevor H. E. Pitts, whose open-minded, open-ended, open-mouthed theoretical studies department leaves no taboo unquestioned, and whose "moral exploration" laboratories rings the changes on novel "gender reconstructions", is writing an illuminating academic paper on the subject.

In a queer twisted echo of the J. John "Just Ten" Christian talks at the Norfolk show ground a few years back Prof Pitts has organised a series of lectures entitled "Just None; Just Do It!". Recently, however, the good Prof was seen sitting in NCBC’s congregation and sure enough, as a prelude to his paper, he commented on the chocolate distribution ritual in his highbrow lectures. "These oppressed people at Norwich Central Baptist Church have a need to Sin", declared the learned Prof. He went on to say, "This Church clearly indulges in chocolate distribution as a cathartic abreaction. It is, in fact, a ceremonial and ritualised form of subliminal sinning punctuated with carnal innuendo; witness the distribution being accompanied by feigned expressions of greed, and sensual indulgence, supplemented by allusions to dishonesty, bribery, and pilfering. This make-believe submission to temptation is a cry for help from the emotionally and morally repressed. If they come to me I can help set them free and show them the pleasures of what they arbitrarily label as 'sin'. They are free to make use of my department's sin laboratories; these are equipped with videos and an assortment of specialist equipment (including, if they so wish, plenty of chocolates) in order to promote an open ended and uninhibited exploration of liberated adult behaviour patterns "

With all this talk of ceremonial sin I, of course, steer well clear of this whole chocolate distribution business and you won't see me collecting my chocolate in a month of Sundays. Or should I say at least not publicly: Ever wondered why the chocolate tin never contains any Rum fudges? Having a set of keys sometimes comes in handy and when it comes to this sort of thing I'm as big a subliminal sinner as any of people who traipse out to the front every Sunday morning and publicly make show of their self-indulgence. So you can't accuse me of not getting into the spirit of NCBC's chocolate distribution extravaganza.

Based on an article first published in the September 2002 edition of “Views, News, and Pews”

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