Strange Encounter, Part One

So on Wednesday we ducked into this comedy club/theater to take another look at it, as it’s one of the spots we’ve considered renting for weeknight services. There was a woman sitting on a couch who asked what we were doing and I told her we were just looking around because we might rent the theater. She asked, “For what?,” I said that we were starting a church, and she made the most disgusted look I’ve maybe ever seen.

It was too obvious to ignore, so I said, “That was quite a reaction. I guess you don’t like church?” She made it clear she didn’t, and I said, “Well, then, you’d like ours’, we’re church for people who don’t like church.” After some more discussion, she asserted that she would not like my church if we believed in anything supernatural, and said she was married to one of the most famous atheists in the world. I thought, “Yeah, right” and asked who her husband was and she said … Penn Jillette. Then I thought, “Oh. She is right.” In case you don’t know, he is Penn of Penn and Teller. Here’s part of his description on Wikipedia:

Jillette is an outspoken atheist, libertarian (he has recently stated that he may consider himself to be an Anarcho-capitalist), as well as adhering to Ayn Rand‘s Objectivist philosophy, as stated on his Penn Says podcast, and skeptic. Jillette is a Fellow at the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. In January 2007, Jillette took the “Blasphemy Challenge” offered by the Rational Response Squad and publicly denied the existence of a holy spirit. His cars’ license plates read “atheist”, “nogod”, and “godless”. “Strangely enough, they wouldn’t give me ‘Infidel,'” he says. In 2005 he wrote and read an essay for National Public Radio claiming that he was “beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God….I believe there is no God.” His atheism, he has explained, has informed every aspect of his life and thoughts, and as such is as crucial to him as theistic beliefs are to the devout. Jillette welcomes and even encourages open discussion, debate, and proselytizing on the issue of God’s existence, believing that the issue is too important for opinions about it to remain private.

We ended up talking for 10 or 15 minutes. I’ll tell you a little about our conversation tomorrow. (By the way, for those who have shown it, I asked her if she knew that a lot of churches had shown this video from her husband’s blog, and she said yes.)