Friday, February 11, 2011
For the first couple of years after I left the Jehovah's Witnesses, my spiritual life was a gradual unpeeling of the layers of belief that kept me in the religion. One day I was shedding my reverence for the governing Body and the next I was realizing that I would one day die. Along the way, I tried a church or two, but my efforts to explore other beliefs were haphazard at best.
Then along came Amanda P. Westmont.
Herself a lifelong church-phobic agnostic (her father is a former Christian Scientist), Amanda was fascinated by my story as an ex-Witness. That, in addition to her own quest, inspired Amanda to go on a church tour. One thing led to another, and we decided to write about our journey. Next thing you know, it became a blog. It's called yearofsundays.com and you really should check it out.
Each Sunday for the next year, Amanda and I will visit a different church. One week it may be a variety of Christianity, while the next it might be Buddhist, Mormon, Muslim, Unitarian or Church of the Subgenius. After our visit, we will write about our experience as if it were a restaurant or movie review. The point isn't to evaluate theology or doctrine—frankly, we couldn't care less about that. We'll be writing about the experience itself.
Since we're both the kind of impious delinquents who get our thrills pissing people off, this blog won't be for the religiously faint of heart. If you're a believer, you might want to slip on a pair of steel toed boots before visiting our page. I admit that I may have issues with religion in general. So accept my apologies in advance for any snark, sarcasm, cynicism or otherwise bitter remarks. Hey, if you were forbidden to masturbate for 30 years, you'd get a little edgy too.
But that's not to say we don't have serious intent.
We write our reviews with one criterion in mind. Regarding humankind's amazing variety of music, Duke Ellington famously said, “if it sounds good, it is good.” That's the benchmark we will use to evaluate every religious services we attend. You're invited to agree, to disagree, or, if you really don't like what we write, to start your own blog. Comments are always accepted and unfiltered. Better yet, if you have a church in mind that we should visit, drop me a line in the comments section here or at A Year of Sundays and we'll try to work it into the schedule.
Just to show you how serious we are, we even wrote a manifesto:
WHY A YEAR OF SUNDAYS?
Because it’s fun.
Because Margarita Monday was already taken.
Because Joel thinks Amanda looks cute in her Sunday Go To Church dress.
Because we think it might be good for the kids.
Because everybody says they’re going to do it but nobody ever does.
Because there are worse ways to nurse a hangover.
Because, for Joel, it feels oddly naughty.
But for Amanda, it feels oddly nice.
Because, though we suspect that God is dead, we still like to hedge our bets.
Because we thought that if we could actually get through 50 posts, we could write a book.
Because sometimes you need a break from sex and happy hour.
Because we made a pact that if we break up, we’ll still write this damn thing.
Because Amanda needs a reason to buy old lady hats.
Because, frankly, we’re a little jealous of the people who believe.
Because Baptists can’t have all the fun, Buddhists can’t have all the peace, Jews can’t have all the guilt, Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t all the apocalypse fantasies and Catholics can’t have all the cute altar boys.