“…What, we wondered, is going on in all those churches? What are they saying? What are they doing? What are they plotting?…”
The title is not a joke. We received what I perceive to be the best press about our church – ever. Bar none. We’ve had our share of media from the local press. Last week, there was a solid article and great pic of the merger story. This past December, there was a dedicated “portrait” of my personal story in the popular magazine insert called Pacific Northwest in the Sunday paper. But this morning, someone sent me some info of a great article from The Stranger – the premier rebellious, hilarious, provocative, alternative, and very popular weekly newspaper [umm – in some circles]. They advertise themselves as the “only newspaper in Seattle.” [It’s a good paper – minus the raunchy over the top sex ads near the back of the magazine.]
Seattle is infamously known as the most “unchurched city in America.” The Northwest is the most unchurched region in America. But it isn’t godless or spiritual. It’s a beautiful place – full of life, questions, conversations, and such. What I love the most about living in this city and this region is that you have to earn the right to have your voice in the larger marketplace of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies.
Anyway, the Stranger staff sent 31 of their staff to visit 31 churches this past Sunday and they wrote up the most brutal and simultaneously, hilarious “reviews” of these churches. Yes, all hell broke loose according to these authors. I am so excited – honestly – that Quest actually made the list! I feel so cool. Like, I’ve finally been accepted as a true Seattle-ite. Ahh, but this again confirms my point that people – more than you ever know – and more than they want to admit – are watching the Church. They are watching to see our convictions, motivations, hypocrisy, compassion, or in our case, “insipid worship.”
What did they write? Well, here are some of my favorite quotes:
“With charges of clerical sexual abuse still being leveled at churches great and small, you might think a Christian pastor would err on the side of not encouraging congregants to hug their neighbors past their comfort levels. The getting-to-know-you process? More like the getting-to-sue-you process.” [Thanks, Leah!]
“…sort of Mars Hill wannabe.” [OK. I admit, that one actually hurt.]
“…Interbay voted itself out of existence and handed all of its property—its homely sanctuary (picture the Brady Bunch’s living room pressed into service as a church).” [Come back in September after our renovation.]
“There was some insipid singing, led by an insipid worship band, and then a sermon preached by what I took to be Interbay’s soon-to-be unemployed pastor.” [Ray, welcome to the larger marketplace!]
“Then Quest Church’s pastor, Eugene Cho, tore a loaf of bread in half, we took Communion, and then we prayed. [I don’t want to sound defensive here but I want everyone to know that I also did pour wine as well. I promise. I did…seriously, I did.]
[Read the full article here. We are review #31 – the best for last!]
I love Seattle. I really do. I want to be here until I retire at 40.
On another note, for those that were wondering, I finally heard back from the Seattle Times about their open columnist position on their “team of 4 or 5 religious voices.” I was really hoping to the get the nod and after months of waiting, I thought I’d get it. But, no go. My one complaint: I just wished they sent me an email. Receiving that letter – that ominous standard thin letter with the vibe of “Thank you but we regret to inform you…” just reminded me way too much of a former season in my life.
Maybe I should ask the Stranger if they’ll hire me. Seriously, I’d write for them for free.