I'm going to use Nellie's comments from the last post as my entry today because it's full of very good and useful information and insight. It makes me see sacrifice in a new light and not quite the enemy I presumed it to be. I always learn a lot from her.
One thing I love about the Brython group I'm involved with is that they'll tell it to me like it is. If I'm talking bollocks, that's what they'll tell me. It's not about being intolerant of other people's path, it's more about keeping each other accountable so you don't float off into a fantasy world where most of the pagan world is too afraid to tell you you're barmy incase it seem like you're being intolerant. There's a difference, so I see no problem with you telling it how you see it LOL!
From my own point of view I think maybe your old Christian understand of sacrifice is colouring things for you, and not in a good way. Christian sacrifice is about going without, giving yourself the harsh treatment etc etc. You get it far better than I do. But in pagan/druid/recon terms it doesn't have the same connotations (IMHO). In the case of burning things it isn't to destroy them but to transform them from the physical to the spiritual level. If you spend months on a piece of beauty as an offering to the gods you want to be able to give it to them right? But they can't take it in its physical form because they are spirit, so the burning changes the form of your gift to them so that they can actually accept the gift. I might have understood the details wrong, but I think that is basically it. Sacrifice though is often about reenacting a primal truth. The Indo-European faiths are all generally built upon the notion that it was sacrifice that created the universe in the first place. Either sacrifice of a god or goddess or of the first man. According to Cesirw Serith in that earliest religion sacrifice maintains the balance of the world and stops chaos overtaking and destroying the world so the rituals of sacrifice (whatever they might have involved as we can only speculate and try to reconstruct something plausible) were performed to keep the forces of chaos from destroying the world by reenacting that first sacrifice. This comes from his book 'Deep Ancestors' but if you take a look at his website you can read the book online for free (highly reccommended! I don't agree with all his thoughts but its a hugely interesting read and has added so much depth to my personal practise). The idea of sacrifice doesn't have to mean going without or destroying something either. The breaking of a loaf and offering it to the gods is a perfectly suitable sacrifice for the 21st century! :D
I hope I have come across too preachy, Gods know you've had enough of that! Just thought it might be another angle that you might find interesting?
Blessings my lovely, and I commend you for finding your voice :)