Not so many years ago, Kelloggs, the makers of the true proper Cornflakes, had the wisdom, humility and insight to build an advertising campaign around our behaviour as consumers. It is this behaviour that, for me, unites Cornflakes and all things Taizé.
I know you are wondering, and wonder you may - but do not forget that I am the only cleric in the history of the world to bring the Blessed Virgin Mary and the iPad 2 together on a single blog post.
Well, the thing is, that when I once heard that a service is of the Taizé variety, my innards slumped and part of my brain powered down. In other words, I went into liturgical hibernation. For years I have gently mocked Taizé stuff as being the sandwich filler if you want to neither offend Carflicks or Jellies - a service of the Middle-Ground. "If in doubt, get Taizé out".
And so it was with Cornflakes. No - don't be silly, not in a liturgical way. What I mean is, there were years when the look, smell, prospect or fact of a bowl of Cornflakes caused my synapses to calcify and eyes to cross in a rather comical "I'd sooner chew toenails that this stuff" kind of way. On no, missus, pass me the Shreddies and that bag of sugar over here; Cloakey has an appetite to satisfy!
The Kelloggs campaign addressed that very behaviour - that is, that we had all convinced ourselves that Cornflakes were as much fun as un-anaesthetised eyeball surgery and had moved to other brands of breakfast cereal. I was one such oik, and was guilty as a guilty person's guilty bits. So I bought me a box of Cornflakes and promptly enjoyed every single golden crunchy flake of sunshine. No, really, I have never looked back and regard the humble Cornflakes as the cereal of choice for the elitist of elite people like me. and it is the same with all things Taizé. When I actually sit down and actually engage with a Taizé act of worship, it is stunning. I love singing the repetitive meditative lines, and find the whole experience to be nothing short of heavenly. I had just got out of the habit, and had wrapped that in a bunch of undeserved prejudices that it didn't earn or warrant.
There must be something of this in what stops people going to church. I know many people who would far sooner grate their own nose than enter a church - people who once were faithful and devoted practicing Christians. Perhaps it was a fall-out over the flower rota, a distaste for that hymn the organist always plays too fast, someone sat in their seat - or myriad other reasons, but those people drifted away and are now a little like ex-smokers on the subject of smoking. 'Back To Church' Sunday is a funny old thing. I am not sure how far this concept has gone beyond Britain or the Church of England even, but it is now an annual fixture. I rarely hear of it done well, if I am honest - but there has to be something to the idea that people just need to be encouraged to re-try an old habit. I am not sure that sending cards to people to invite them into the main Sunday service is the way, but a personal invite to someone for a coffee in the building is surely a good start.
So, the message of this post, is this: if I can eat Cornflakes then the Church stands a chance. you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen.