Current mood: rockin
Ya gotta love a church that starts its service with a Weird Al Yankovic song parody.
That, and we have one helluva band to lead us in song. The first thing I ever heard them do was a straight-up cover of Steppenwolf’s "Born to Be Wild". And loud, louder even than you would have turned up the stereo when your parents weren’t around to complain about it. They sound damn good, too. The Weird Al piece was done live, as is everything else. Very little piped in stuff here.
What really makes the place special is that, screwy as it may seem, the choice of tunes is entirely purposeful, an integral part of the message. "Spiderman", Weird Al’s parody of Billy Joel’s "Piano Man", highlighted our current "Heroes" theme. (For another reference, see my earlier blog entry.) The advertised message on the sign outside is "More Jesus, Less Crap", so if you’re cozy and happy in your Lowest Christian Denominator megachurch, or one of the many churches where the service hasn’t varied since the 1940s, fine, stay there. However, if (like me) you wouldn’t dare go to one of those, you might find this place to be worth a look.
I really haven’t strayed far from my atheist roots, when all is said and done. But consider: I’ve lived in a resident Jewish believe-this-or-else summer camp, have been raked over the hellfire and damnation coals by a Bible-thumping girlfriend from high school, repeatedly subjected by a carpooler to a point-by-point history of why the Irish Roman Catholics have been right in their 500 years of sectarian "troubles", dragged through dozens of life’s-rotten-and-you’re-a-worthless-piece-of-shit-until-you-die-then-everything’s-wonderful-and-you-live-forever sermons, and done Bible studies with right-wing fundamentalists to the tune of Fox News blaring in the background with piles of "Elect Bush-Cheney" paraphernalia sitting on a nearby table.
Yeah. Been there. Done that. *gags*
This place is different, which is appropriate, as Jesus wasn’t about any of that stuff. (You may have a vision of Elliot in E.T. telling off his older brother about the spacecraft. It’s not out of place in describing how differently my church approaches things.) Very simply, they focus on what Jesus of Nazareth had to say that makes life worth living, and screw the religious stuff. I really do think you can be an atheist and still get something out of Jesus of Nazareth that makes life worth living, or I wouldn’t keep coming back here.
If that sort of church service sounds a bit different, and you’re in the Pittsburgh area, I will give you my standard soft sell. I will never tell you what to think or how to believe, but just put it out there and let you decide for yourself. So here’s the info:
Sundays, 10:00 a.m., North Allegheny Intermediate High School, 350 Cumberland Road, Pittsburgh (McCandless Twp), PA 15237. That’s a quarter mile from the CCAC North campus, next door to Northland Library, and about a half-mile hike from McKnight Road. If coming by bus, use the 8:20 12A from Downtown, 8:40 at Siebert, and get off at Cumberland and McKnight, just past the hospital, where the bus makes a right turn.
Here’s the website. Sermons are archived, so you can listen for yourself. To me, it’s a welcome change.