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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Month of Sundays

posted by on June 13 at 16:54 PM

What happened when The Stranger sent 30 writers to 30 church services last Sunday? All hell broke loose. Here’s a taste of Lindy West’s piece on visiting the “meditation room” at Sea-Tac airport last Sunday…

On the front wall, where one expects Jesus to dangle, there’s a large photograph of a mountain lake at sunset. “Lake Wenatchee,” it reads, “January, 1986.” Just to the right is a tiny door with no doorknob, which could only lead from the adjacent chaplaincy. The door has a peephole in it. Is the chaplain in there behind the peephole? Is he peepin’? Can he peep all the atheism that fills my cold, doomed heart?

I lower my head and pray to Lake Wenatchee. I get the overwhelming feeling that Lake Wenatchee doesn’t give a shit. And even if it did, what could it possibly do for me? Or my family, or the hobo taking a nap, or all those people terrified to get on all those planes? How awful, to blame your misfortunes on a personal failure to pray persuasively enough. Anyway, at least Lake Wenatchee exists (Lake Wenatchee, 1; God, 0).

When you read the whole package—which you can do by clicking here—you’ll see that our writers were damn near everywhere this weekend. We went to Methodist worship, Catholic mass, Islamic prayers, Jewish services, mega-churches, mini-churches, mainline churches, offline churches.

We didn’t, however, get a writer to a Church of Scientology service.

This omission is sure to piss off the super-duper-sensitive, e-meter-grippin’, lawsuit-happy cry babies that run the Scientology racket, of course. I’m braced for their angry letters. Heck, I’ll write one myself: “By refusing to send a writer to our church services is a clear manifestation of the Stranger’s religious bigotry. By omitting Scientology from this feature package the Stranger subtly communicates to its readers that Scientology is not a legitimate religion that deserves to be taken just seriously as any other… blah blah blah… L. Ron… blah blah blah Suri Cruise…”

Of course the Church of Scientology would be pissed off if we had included them in our “Month of Sundays” package. “How dare you mock our sincerely held, if completely crazed, religious beliefs!” You really can’t win with the Scientologists.

Still, I’ll admit it was an oversight on my part to leave ‘em out. But if there’s anyone out there that wants to head to a Scientology service and report back to us about it, we’ll happily amend our “Month of Sundays” package to include America’s goofiest new religion. I emailed the Church of Scientology of Washington State, inquiring about services in Seattle, and got this response…

Sunday Service is at 11am. It is at the church located at 601 Aurora Ave North, 98109. All are welcome.

Anyone wanna go check it out this weekend and write it up?

RSS icon Comments


I'll go :)

Posted by Seattlest Jack | June 13, 2007 5:06 PM

The only way I'll walk into a Church is if I'm holding a torch. And a drumstick, just in case I'm hungry.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 13, 2007 5:07 PM

Sorry, I'm too busy celebrating my Druidic heritage at the Fremont Solstice Parade and related events.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 13, 2007 5:15 PM

At the races.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 13, 2007 6:00 PM

Augh, 11 am? And it's all the way down the road?

Posted by Jordyn | June 13, 2007 6:20 PM

What? You don't have to buy a ticket?

Posted by keshmeshi | June 13, 2007 6:52 PM

They aren't any crazier than any other religion.

"Space aliens made the world" is just as fucking goofy (actually, less fucking goofy) than "god created the world in seven days and jesus came from heaven and you'll be zapped up to heaven too if you would just believe our shit and otherwise you'll be LEFT BEHIND!"

The only reason that other christians seem more normal is that you're more accostumed to their story.

Posted by Angry Andrew | June 13, 2007 7:10 PM

What, no Unitarian Universalist churches? At least there you can usually score some good weed at the solstice services. Or the Christmas services.

Not that I would have ever done such a thing in my UU youth group.

Posted by Jessica | June 13, 2007 7:14 PM

I love the Stranger. You guys rule. The pro-drug Savage Love column last week made me happy, and now this anti-religion article makes me even happier. You are definitely my hometown newspaper anywhere I go.

Posted by Jamey | June 13, 2007 7:24 PM

Anyone want to go to ?

Posted by JenK | June 13, 2007 7:51 PM

I could never go to a Scientology service or event. I'd be too tempted to see what happened if I touched the e-meter to my penis.

Posted by Gitai | June 13, 2007 8:26 PM

Angry Andrew, the Christians seem slightly less ridiculous because they -- and the Hindus, Jews, and even Muslims -- invented their idiotic religion back before anyone knew better. The same can't be said for Scientologists. Or Mormons.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 13, 2007 8:26 PM


Actually, although it was known that the indigenous people of Mexico and S. America made all those architectural wonders, it wasn't widely known to rural dumbfucks (aka, Joseph Smith) at the time when he founded the Mormon church. For a long time, people did not believe that the "darkies" could have made such magnificent structures, and that only whitey's could have done it, coming over at some point in history, then dying off.

Not that I am defending Mormons, but at the time, the newest info from archeology was not widely known to the rural parts of America...wait, just like now...

Posted by Original Monique | June 13, 2007 9:47 PM

And I am also very tempted to go to the Scientology Church...but Sunday? 11 am? Yeesh!

Posted by Original Monique | June 13, 2007 9:51 PM

I love the idea, Dan, can't wait to read the whole article.

Lindy is hilarious.

Posted by Sean | June 13, 2007 10:42 PM

I know you all have a kingdom hall up there Dan. What's the matter are all your "godless" writers to afraid to go knocking on some Jehovah's witness doors? I was so looking forward to reading that one. So I promise to vote for any and all possible bills to allow gay marriage that ever come up in the state of California or Nationally for the rest of my life, if you'll post your own personal review of the Local congregation. This matters because I usually don't vote for anything so you would really be gaining a vote and I keep my promises.

Posted by Shaun | June 13, 2007 11:20 PM

Here's a good one you missed:
Hagia Sophia Gnostic Church

It takes place in someone's basement in Crown Hill. The priest drank about six glasses of wine in the middle of the sermon, and lots of magic-with-a-k types were in attendance. Weird.

I'm sorry I'm not free Sunday to rail on the Scientologists. They've tried to trap me before, once luring me and a friend into their lair in midtown Manhattan to tell me to never ever let anyone talk while I am unconscious. But I'm hip to them now. I read a gazillion page entry on Wikipedia. Long story short: they're rich, and they're crazy.

Posted by bitch on heels | June 13, 2007 11:57 PM

Seeing as how the picture of the Russian (or Greek) orthodox church featured prominently in the article, why no profile of an orthodox church? Is it possible that experience is pretty much mockery proof, primarily being nonstop chanting/singing and liturgies in Greek/Russian that may as well be Latin?

On the other hand, the easy-to-mock charismatic churches were more than adequately represented.

Posted by Steve B | June 14, 2007 6:54 AM


You just made me want to convert from being an agnostic to being a Unitarian.

Posted by elswinger | June 14, 2007 8:10 AM

#13 Thats true in some case. But I just "heard"(actually it was the history channel, and I'm starting to wonder if any of those historians and pros on the shows are actually valid theorists) recently that archeoligists and historians agree that Mayans for instance believed in a strange looking god that was pale and the idol painted white on their architecture. They believed he would return to them some day. This is before in what we think we know, any white man ever stepped on that land.

Posted by DreadLion | June 14, 2007 8:36 AM

the quotes above are a great example why i rarely read stranger articles. the writing can be god awful.

Posted by stan | June 14, 2007 9:25 AM

Left out the multifaith churches- Unity of Seattle, Seattle Unitarian Universalist, and Center for Spritual Living. That's a big omission, IMO, not that they would have been covered with any open-mindedness or intelligence, apparently. Wow- send people with preconceived notions out to churches to cement their elitist opinions in witty sarcastic prose, how does that inform readers?

Posted by natbot | June 14, 2007 9:52 AM

i certainly don't open the stranger when researching religion... this gave a quick veiw of an outsiders perspective on one visit. and was funny. in places.

i too, however, did want more. i was really curious about what appears to go on in these places.

Posted by infrequent | June 14, 2007 10:00 AM

That article read to me that the writers walked into these churches with pre-conceived notions, and by golly! Managed to validate their prejudices!

Why is that bad when talking about race (or, heaven forfend, gender), but good when talking about religion?

Posted by Lee Gibson | June 14, 2007 11:45 AM

Note to Eli Sanders -- are you sure the synagogue you went to was Conservative and not Orthodox? The synagogue we rarely went to when I was growing up in New Jersey in the 1960s was Conservative, and there was never separation by gender. Never, ever. I simply cannot imagine a Conservative synagogue separating men from women.

At that temple, girls had bat mitzvahs (we still said bas instead of bat in those days), women got to do aliyahs, and so forth. The Conservative seminaries didn't ordain women, but otherwise the movement didn't do much that could be readily construed as discriminating against women.

Posted by N in Seattle | June 14, 2007 11:53 AM

Hey stan I took out the qoutes that got you in a rut about reading the stranger articles if it was my post you were on about. feel all better now?
Does my writing have you reading with an accent get you wierded out? good.

#13 Thats true in some case. But I just heard(actually it was the history channel, and I'm starting to wonder if any of those historians and pros on the shows are actually valid theorists) recently that archeoligists and historians agree that Mayans for instance believed in a strange looking god that was pale and the idol painted white on their architecture. They believed he would return to them some day. This is before in what we think we know, any white man ever stepped on that land.

Posted by DreadLion | June 14, 2007 1:25 PM

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