Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?"

I was hooked on the first page of, "Does This Church Make Me Look Fat," and by the end of chapter one, I forced myself to stop in order to draw out the pleasure I anticipate. The last time I got so excited by the first page of a book was for "36 Arguments for the Existence of God," which I eventually threw across the room feeling hoodwinked--despite its one scene wholly fulfilling its implied promise of reintegrating the divine in postmodern life.

This second memoir by Rhoda Janzen was just given me as a birthday present by my friend Laurie Moison--previously a powerhouse in the Evangelical women's movement (yes!) and now landing with a glorious splash in New Thought.

Reviews on the back cover say
"Snort-up-your-coffee funny, breezy yet profound....Too much spiritual writing these days claims that religious practice is about healing or developing the self. But Rhoda Janzen sets out on a path to become more loving, grateful, and helpful to others. This is particularly impressive given that she's writing about a period in her life when she's got a scary, life-threatening illness and a brand-new family."

I sense that Janzen's journey may parallel aspects of my own joyride through goodness at a Black  church as told in my book, The Bishop and the Seeker. Here's an excerpt from the first pages of "Does This Church Make me Look Fat?"
"Having divorced after a fifteen-year marriage, and having returned in a scattershot way to the dating scene, I naturally had limited faith in my judgment. So when I found myself falling for a Jesus-nail-necklace-wearing manly man, the kind whose hands were so huge they ripped his jeans pockets, I thought my common sense was all a-pother. 
Working against me was the fact that I am an egghead intellectual. Have you noticed that sometimes scholars do one tiny thing really well, but at the expense of more important things?  For instance, I can diagram any sentence from the late fiction of Henry James. Why anybody would want me to is a mystery, but you'd be surprised at how many requests I get. We're talking about sentences that march on and on, to and fro, like a bewildered Energizer bunny. I have limited life-management skills, yet I can diagram these sentences with the speed of an idiot savant. Why is it necessary to diagram any sentence? you ask. Good Question.... 
My new boyfriend's vocabulary could have passed muster with toddlers and kittens... He caricatured the impossible male physique--chest like a scenic vista, cannon arms, a waist that disappeared into his jeans like a genie into a bottle... Put him in a suit, he looks like Secret Service. When you put other men in suits, they look like accountants or limo drivers."
So what could possibly persuade such a man to consider wearing green sequined panties?

The answer in the first chapter took my breath away. I'm hooked.