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Year of Sundays

Year of Sundays

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Gnock Gnock Gnocking on the Gnostics’ Door

posted by Joel Gunz

When Amanda and I started our church tour, I’d had it up to here with vanilla religion. I wanted to take a walk on the wild side (read: nothing Christian), but it turns out that, for a city that prides […]

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Home PDX: A Church By Any Other Name

posted by Joel Gunz

Yesterday, we went downtown to check out Home PDX. If you want to make head honcho Bruce Arnold, squirm, call their community a church.  The word has so many negative connotations, they’d just as soon not use it. Then again, […]

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Happy Anniversary from Emmanuel Temple Church

posted by Joel Gunz

One year ago, Amanda and I embarked on our Year of Sundays tour of the Portland church scene. To celebrate, we decided to head back to my roots in North Portland and visit a full gospel church, just like we […]

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Martians for Jesus Invade!

posted by Joel Gunz

For decades, Portland’s Southeast Hawthorne neighborhood has been a center for our city’s West Coast counterculture, offering more head shops, thrift stores and local arts and crafts than you can shake a doobie at. You don’t have to share all […]

Join Us for a Trip to Mars… Hill Church, That Is

posted by Joel Gunz

After what has been Portland’s bitterest commercial real estate battle since Wal-Mart tried to move into Hayden Meadows five years ago, today, Seattle-based Mars Hill (mega)Church celebrated the grand opening of its new “church plant” on SE 32nd and Taylor. […]

Orthodox Christianity: It’s All Greek To Me

posted by Joel Gunz

In an era of secularism and do-it-yourself community, why do churches still exist? I believe a big part of the answer lies in the power of the ineffable. Everybody loves a good mystery. And that’s the one aspect of human […]

A Year of Sundays: Weeeeee’re Back!

posted by Joel Gunz

Hey, dear reader! It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Amanda’s and mine is to stay in touch with you. It’s been too long! Without getting into too much detail, we’ve agreed that church needs to be returned to its rightful […]

Lone Fir Cemetery: A great place to get laid (to rest).

posted by Joel Gunz

It’s Portland’s oldest burial ground. It’s been listed by National Geographic Magazine as one of the world’s top ten must-see cemeteries. And judging by the panties and malt liquor empties that we found during a recent daytime walk-through, there’s no […]

Downtown Chapel–Doing Everything it Can to Make Itself Useless (In a Good Way)

posted by Joel Gunz

10 months into our Church Tour 2011, I’ve come to a few conclusions. For one, church gets done best when it serves people who need religion the most. Whether by dint of circumstances beyond their control (often financial and mental […]

Our First Year of Sundays Swag: Snap it up While it’s Hot!

posted by Joel Gunz

Ever been so angered by one of our posts you wished you could get a piece of us? Now you can! By special arrangement with the Alfred Hitchcock Geek House of Merchandise, we have lovingly applied the graphic above to […]

Now Boarding, Flight 112 to Hare Krishna!

posted by Joel Gunz

If you’re a man or woman “of a certain age,” you probably associate the Hare Krishna religion with your local airport. Once upon a time you could find them proselytizing—or, if that failed, accepting donations—as people got off the plane. […]

Downtown Chapel: Seeing how the other half lives

posted by Joel Gunz

Last week we visited the Hare Krishna church and, just in case you’re wondering how we felt about it, stop back FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING and find out. But today we decided to take the kids into Old Town (where […]

Are you lonesome tonight? Then let’s meet up at the 24-Hour Church of Elvis!

posted by Joel Gunz

Question: Name one place where you can get married, hear your fortune and gaze admiringly at a spinning kewpie doll any time day or night? Okay, there’s probably a 900 number for that. But how many of those are presided […]

Attention shoppers! Looking for a helluva church at heavenly prices?

posted by Joel Gunz

Sunday, September 25 at 9:47 a.m “Where are we going for church?” “Is it Sunday already?” “’Fraid so, babe. Get up. Have some coffee and an Emergen-C.” “God…. Ow…. Why am I wearing your bra? How about the Hare Krishnas? […]

Night of the Living Hope

posted by Joel Gunz

If, for some strange reason, you happen to venture into Vancouver, Washington — just a stone’s throw from Portland, barring traffic congestion — you might notice more than few cars bearing the bumper sticker “Only God.” Its white-on-black design (opposite […]

What We Did on August 14 — ADF Druidry: It’s Not Nice to Fool (Around with) Mother Nature

posted by Joel Gunz

When I was a kid, one of our favorite family camping rituals was the initiation into the Secret Order of the Goose. When night fell, we’d gather around the campfire and with outstretched arms, my stepdad would lead us in […]

Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Piece of Millennial Religious History?

posted by Joel Gunz

Amanda and I took the day off today from church in order to get a head start on Halloween decorating. Which means that I ducked into our home office to escape the chaos of three kids unpacking styrofoam spiders to, […]

What I Did August 7: The Quakers — Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

posted by Joel Gunz

You know them as Quakers. They know themselves as Friends, or, officially, as the Religious Society of Friends. If you vote Democrat, raise chickens but don’t eat them, wear Jesus sandals and own a first edition of the Moosewood Cookbook […]

What We Did on Our Summer Vacation, By Joel Gunz

posted by Joel Gunz

Whoosh! Where has the summer gone? Amanda and I have missed you, dear hot and sweaty reader, and you might be wondering what the hell happened to us the last few weeks as well. Let’s just chalk our hiatus up […]

Ba’witched, Ba’othered and Ba’wildered at Beaverton Baha’i

posted by Joel Gunz

Hey, remember us, your favorite churchgoing atheists? We’re still here and we’re still hitting the pews. This week will be a special catch-up week, where we tell you about the churches we visited over the last month or so. But […]

Portland’s Best Live Jazz at Augustana Lutheran Church: Who Could Ask for Anything More?

posted by Joel Gunz

I was still a teenager when I first met world class drummer Ron Steen. He’d dropped by my jazz band class at Jefferson High School—then a performing arts “magnet” school—to offer some of the young turks like myself a few […]

Knocking on Mormons’ Door

posted by Joel Gunz

You probably know them by their bikes, white shirts, dark ties, lily-white complexions and the fact they show up at your front door at the worst possible time. Today we decided to turn the tables and show up on their […]

Tonight: Portland’s Top Jazz at Augustana Lutheran Church

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz Every Sunday at 6 p.m., Augustana Lutheran Church does a Jazz Service, starring some of Portland’s musical luminaries, like diva Marilyn Keller and legendary drummer and Pope of the jam session scene Ron Steen.  I’m sure the […]

The Mild Bunch: Mill Plain United Methodist Church

posted by Joel Gunz

The United Methodist church is big. How big? Worldwide, about 12 million members and over 40,000 congregations big. Put another way, UMC is the largest mainline (read: establishment, fairly liberal, non-Catholic) religion and the second-largest Protestant religion in the United […]

Shhh… We’re going to Stop By the World Buddhist Preaching Association

posted by Joel Gunz

Due to pressing commitments — a wedding, a music gig, a poopstorm of other activities — we weren’t able to make it to church this last weekend. But never fear! We aren’t going to let you down this week, dear […]

Metropolitan Community Church of Portland: Observing the High Holy Day of Gay Pride

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz In a perfect world, you would never see a church set aside just for gay people. It makes about as much sense as starting a church for the left-handed, the red-headed  or the peanut-intolerant. But we don’t […]

Taking Pride in Metropolitan Community Church

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz I don’t think it’s any coincidence that in Portland, Father’s Day coincides with its annual Pride Festival, which celebrates our local lesbian/gay/bisexual/transexual/queer (LGBTQ) community with a parade, live entertainment and more. It’s kind of a big deal […]

Pentecostal Services at Trinity Episcopal–FTW!

posted by Joel Gunz

“What’s a nice atheist like you doing in a church like this?” That, more or less, is the reaction we get from many religious leaders when we show up on their doorstep on Sundays. At least, that’s what they seem […]

Visit City Bible Church, Led by Pastor Frank Bossypants

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz Woweeeeee! At City Bible Church (total membership, 6,000), they sure have fun. They clap. They sing songs. Oh, and they love to play Repeat After Me. As in: CBC Lead Pastor Frank Damazio: “Jesus says, ‘Love God.’ […]

Upcoming: Pentecost at Trinity Episcopal–Plus, Joel hasn’t Forgotten About Ya!

posted by Joel Gunz

Today we visited Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. I know what you’re thinking:  With it being Pentecost Sunday and all, we should have visited a charismatic church for some good old-fashioned speaking in tongues, healing and other nonsense.  But we heard the […]

City Bible Church: I Can’t Believe I Sat Through the Whole Thing

posted by Joel Gunz

Portland’s City Bible Church has a logo. It looks like this: It also has a tagline, which looks like this: Discover. Experience. Celebrate. Barf. Okay, I made that fourth sentence up myself.  But if you want to know why, stop […]

Celebrating Memorial Day at the Church on the Mountain

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz Hitting a different church each week can be addicting. Case in point: when, this last weekend, we took a trip to Mt. Hood’s Resort on the Mountain for a last gasp of fun in the snow, it […]

Harry Houdini: Ghostbuster Extraordinaire

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz When we decided to visit the Spiritualist Church of Alice, I can’t speak for Amanda, but I was looking for one thing: a spooky thrill. That feeling of the uncanny is one of the oldest manufactured sensations […]

In a Universe of Infinite Possibilities, It’s Inevitable That There Would be a Church of Alice.

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz With earth’s population set to reach seven billion people later this year, you’d think we’d have no trouble making new friends. But for channels and psychics who make their living networking with “the other side,” this world, […]

We See Dead People at the Spiritualist Church of Alice

posted by Joel Gunz

Don’t interrupt me…. I’m getting a message…. It’s coming…. Coming…. The… Ancients… wish… to inform you… that this Sunday… evening, Amanda and I visited the Church of Alice, a Spiritualist community dedicated to the practice of clairvoyance, mediumship and channeling. […]

Getting My Fill at Theophilus Church

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz I’m a communion junkie. After leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who restrict their bread and wine to only a tiny fraction of their members, I’ve made it a point to receive the sacraments from any church that allows […]

Taizé—You’re it!

posted by Joel Gunz

By Joel Gunz In 1940, the year France was trampled under the heel of Hitler’s army, Roger Schutz hopped on his bike and pedaled 90 miles west from neutral Geneva, Switzerland to the French town of Taizé. There he settled, […]

The Portland Pentecostals: Calisthenics for Christ

posted by Joel Gunz

I like to imagine that our blog readers are secretly jealous of us. While you go about your humdrum lives, sleeping in on Sundays and lingering over brunch and the Sunday Times, we’re like Stanley and Livingstone in the Congo, […]

Holy Vocal Chords! Our Visit to the Portland Pentecostal Church

posted by Joel Gunz

Praise the lord! We dropped by the Portland Pentecostal church today for our weekly dose of shouting, speaking in tongues and wild gesticulating from the pastors. According to the Pentecostals, we are all fallen sinners who deeply need Jesus (and […]

In Which I am Nearly Seduced by the Siren Call of Reform Judaism

posted by Joel Gunz

This post is for my wise friend David, who, though he never adopted Judaism, remains my rabbi without a cause. Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana, who makes angsting about the meaning of existence look easy — even downright fun!   People […]

Friday and Sunday Two-fer: Jewish Shabbat and Sunrise Easter Service

posted by Joel Gunz

Call us gluttons for punishment. But this weekend, it wasn’t enough to fill up on one church service. We had to go back for seconds. And so, on Friday evening, we shlepped over to the Reformed Jewish synagogue of Congregation […]

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Disfellowshipping and the Art of Civil Disobedience

posted by Joel Gunz

Each week, Amanda and I visit a different church, sitting quietly, taking notes and—if granted permission to do so—discreetly taking a few pictures. As journalists, we tend not to participate in their rituals, maintaining an (ahem) “objective” distance from the […]

Crashing the Memorial: Better than a 1000 Therapy Sessions Spent Elsewhere

posted by Joel Gunz

This was my childhood Kingdom Hall. Originally it had windows through which I could watch airplanes leaving contrails in the sky during the meeting. Since then, Kingdom Halls have been required to seal up their windows, one of dozens of […]

She Blinded Me with Scientology!

posted by Joel Gunz

All right. I admit it. I blew the experiment. Normally, Amanda and I try to reach out to church officials to let them know that we’ll be visiting their service. But this time around, we felt that if we wanted […]

This Sunday: Church of Scientology

posted by Joel Gunz

Yep, we went there.  Today we took a 75 million year trip to the the Galactic Confederacy just for you. Stop back in a day or two and we’ll tell you all about it. Just as soon as we remove […]

Um, Wow: It’s The Imago Dei Show, Starring Rick McKinley!

posted by Joel Gunz

A couple of weeks ago, me and my friend went to this show in the student art gallery and then we went and hung out in the coffee shop for a while and then later that night we went to […]

Imago Dei: Hot or Not?

posted by Joel Gunz

They’re hip. They’re Christian. They keep an artist’s loft in the Pearl District. They’re Imago Dei, and they reallyreallyreally want you to know they’re not like other churches. Several alert readers have recommended that we visit this way-cool church in […]

A Brush Prairie Home Companion

posted by Joel Gunz

It’s been a quiet week in Brush Prairie, Washington. The last of the snow finally disappeared from the shaded North sides of the old barns, leaving the ground spongy and wet and making room for the crocuses and daffodils to […]

There’s Something About Mary Baker Eddy

posted by Joel Gunz

When Mary Baker Eddy was a young girl, farmers used to bring their sick animals to her for healing. Of course, this was New England in the 1820’s, the birthplace of American transcendentalism. In Russia, Madame Blavatsky was soon to […]

Oh, the Places You’ll Go When You Join Sunset Presbyterian!

posted by Joel Gunz

The first thing you should know about Sunset Presbyterian Church is that, for me, the experience was weirdly reminiscent of the years I spent as a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Emblazoned over its front door was a scripture that […]

Church of the Day: Sunset Presbyterian

posted by Joel Gunz

We dragged our sorry, atheist, hungover asses out of bed this morning to attend Sunset Presbyterian Church — the ridiculously early 9 a.m. service made even more ungodly by the onset of Daylight Savings Time. I hope you appreciate the […]

Ash Wednesday: Because Sunday Just Isn’t Enough

posted by Joel Gunz

You may already know how keen I am on the idea of getting up on Sunday morning and going to church just to be told what a lousy, sinning piece of crap I am. So why would I put myself […]

Flea Market Cathedral

posted by Joel Gunz

Have you heard of The Bridge? No? Maybe you’re not hanging out at the right coffeehouses, yoga studios, house parties, college dorms or food banks. At The Bridge, they do things a little bit differently. If attending for the first […]

Charlie Sheen, My Soul Brotha; Plus Tidbits from around the Web

posted by Joel Gunz

When I discovered the poetry of Charlie Sheen, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit in this blogging project. Case in point? “A Thoughtless Soul,” which concludes thus: Yet masking truth and hiding pain, Will surely take it’s toll, Will […]

If You’re Christian and You Know It, Clap Your hands!

posted by Joel Gunz

Click on image to enlarge congregation. So this last Sunday we went to Beaverton Foursquare Church? But when we got there? Cops were all over the road! I was like, OMG, it’s an episode of Beaverton 911, LOL! But, no, […]

Jamming on a Sunday Morning

posted by Joel Gunz

Ever since sound engineer Frank Laico laid down the tracks to Miles Davis’ ‘Round About Midnight in an old Armenian church in 1955, jazz musicians have eagerly sought out echoey old houses of worship to convert into recording studios. As […]

Even Lady Gaga? Buddhism’s “Acceptance” Asks More from Me than I Can Give.

posted by Joel Gunz

Sometimes coincidences transpire so fortuitously that they cause you to question your disbelief in God: little events that deliver just what you need, when you need it, neatly packaged as a can of chicken soup for the soul. This Sunday’s […]

The Grotto: Sinning Ain’t No Picnic

posted by Joel Gunz

This Sunday, Amanda, her kids and I dropped by The Grotto, a.k.a. the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. Located on NE Sandy at 85th, it’s a 65-acre sacred oasis plopped into the middle of Portland’s crackerbox-apartment-and-lingerie-parlor district. Inside, however, […]

AMEZ Church: Comfort food for the soul

posted by Joel Gunz

Great church. And it’s fun to say, “Presiding Prelate.”  Try it! James Baldwin, one of my favorite writers – and one of this nation’s best thinkers ever – made a decent living stuffing his books with such pronouncements as: “Love […]

First Christian Church: A Church White People Like

posted by Joel Gunz

The First Christian Church website features graphics as slick and smooth as the service itself. It’s only my second post on this blog and I’m already starting to sound like Goldilocks. To wit: if the Unitarian Universalist church we went […]

Let’s Put the “Universalist” Back in Unitarian, Shall We?

posted by Joel Gunz

Unitarian Universalist Reverend William G. Sinkford, defending the rainbow colors of conservatism. Sometimes devout believers like to mock Unitarian Universalism because it professes an all-encompassing openness to all beliefs. (They’re the people who pray, “To whom it may concern…”) But […]

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More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting A Year of Sundays page. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Religion 101 Fellowship of Saints and Sinners Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 8:38:43am Jul. 10, 2012 | read full post »

Gnock Gnock Gnocking on the Gnostics' Door
When Amanda and I started our church tour, I'd had it up to here with vanilla religion. I wanted to take a walk on the wild side (read: nothing Christian), but it turns out that, for a city that prides itself on "keeping weird," Portland doesn't ...

posted 1:39:14am Feb. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Home PDX: A Church By Any Other Name
Yesterday, we went downtown to check out Home PDX. If you want to make head honcho Bruce Arnold, squirm, call their community a church.  The word has so many negative connotations, they'd just as soon not use it. Then again, the PDX Homeys ...

posted 6:54:51pm Feb. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Full-On Faith
It's been almost a year since the inspiration for this blog began with a trip to the First A.M.E. Zion Church in North Portland. It was a predominantly black church in a predominantly black neighborhood and what I wrote about it ended up being ...

posted 7:25:08pm Jan. 26, 2012 | read full post »

Happy Anniversary from Emmanuel Temple Church
One year ago, Amanda and I embarked on our Year of Sundays tour of the Portland church scene. To celebrate, we decided to head back to my roots in North Portland and visit a full gospel church, just like we did in our first week of blogging. ...

posted 12:40:57am Jan. 23, 2012 | read full post »

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