Published April 3, 2010
After a long absence from the joys and rigors of a reporter’s life, I have found myself thrust back into my role as intermediary between personalities of note and the general public. Soon after my first re-publishing of my previous interviews, I received a called from Mr. Michael Goodyear, who requested an interview. Seeming a gentlemen of interest, and indeed wishing to return to that most noble of professions—journalism—I could not refuse. Michael Goodyear is the founder and president of Twice the Christian, a organization of no little note. Below, I record our conversation.
Nick: Good afternoon, Mr. Goodyear.
Michael: Please, call me Mike. It sounds like you’re talking to my father.
Nick: (laughing) Very well, Mike. You said on the phone you’re the founder of a group called Twice the Christian. What’s the group’s purpose? I want to say it’s dedicated to some sort of secret formula to living the Christian life, but my wife thinks otherwise. Who’s right?
Michael: The woman’s always right, you know that. No, Twice the Christian’s purpose is to help a marginalized and often overlooked segment of the Christian church feel welcomed and accepted.
Nick: Which group is this? The X-Games crowd?
Michael: Nope. Try again.
Michael: Popular guess, but wrong.
Michael: You’ll never guess it. It’s not even on your radar. The Biannuals.
Michael: Biannuals is a technical term for those people who only attend church on Christmas and Easter. They’ve been grossly neglected by the Christian church and even abused.
Michael: Yes, that’s exactly the word. Abused by guilt. They look in their closet and think, Well, I better dress up so that no one thinks I’m a slob. They shuffle into the sanctuary, almost petrified by the fear of taking someone else’s pew. They pull a ten out of their wallet when the offering basket comes around, having no choice in the matter. They can feel the pressure of twenty centuries of tradition squeezing them into a little teeny, itty-bitty box. And what do they get for their heroic efforts? The same two sermons over and over again.
Nick: I can see what you mean…but, they could come other weeks…there’re a lot of churches that would be more than welcoming….
Michael: You’re missing the point, Nick. It’s not about welcoming. It’s about burdens. The truth will set you free and all that. We Biannuals, we don’t want to come more often. And, quite frankly, we don’t think we need to. That’s what’s so wonderful about Christianity.
Nick: I get that. I really do. But, then, how can you say you’re being abused and—Michael: It’s in their eyes. It’s in the way they handle their Bibles, like they know where everything is. They think they’re so much better than us, just because they sing songs with the name Jesus in it.
Nick: I think that’s a rather unfair thing to say.
Michael: Look, times change. Life is so much busier now than it was 100 years ago. Who wants to get up on Sunday morning and listen to some words from an old book? There’re new books to read, and new movies to watch, sports teams to follow, Farmtown crops to harvest. We have to streamline. We have to be more efficient. The Biannuals understand this. Two Sundays instead of fifty-two. Birth and Death. We get everything, we just get it more effectively. Like Cliff Notes.
Nick: Okay, okay…just, okay. For the sake of argument, let’s say Christianity is only about showing up for an hour on Sunday morning. You’re saying that a fan of Jesus only has to come two hours a year.
Nick: Would you also say you could be considered a fan of say, LOST, if you only watched the finales?
Michael: That’s what I’m trying to tell you. By condensing visits to church, we make time to watch awesome shows like LOST. And V. And that cooking show with the crazy Japanese guy who introduces the secret ingredients.
Nick: If I told you Christianity was about a relationship, and that relationships take time to mature, what would you say?
Michael: I’d say you were closed-minded, tight-fisted, tea-bagging bigot.
Michael: But I wouldn’t hold it against you.
Nick: That’s nice of you.
Michael: Someday you’ll understand that everything is instantaneous, that everything is easy, that everything is free, that everything should be ours at the touch of a button, and that this is the future. We won’t stand for anything else. I can read the writing on the wall. The Church needs to, also.
Nick: (under his breath) Now that I’m thoroughly depressed…. (Louder) Well, yes, thank you for your insights, Mike. It was interesting to hear your point of view.
Michael: Thanks. I’m glad. Strange phrase, don’t you think—the writing on the wall. Where do you suppose it’s from?
Nick: (shrugging) Who knows? I suppose you could look it up on Wikipedia.