The Church of Stories – Chuck Palahniuk

I wanted to share this article I’d read on several years ago from Chuck Palahniuk. It’s been in the back of my mind ever since, serving as a higher justification for all the little projects I start to distract myself from “real work.” It’s been a lose piece of scripture for So Say We All as a whole as well. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope we’re living up to it. – Justin.


“Until the past century, religions used to give us a place to tell even our worst stories. Depict our most-terrible intentions. Once each week, you could turn your sins into a story and tell them to your peers. Or to a leader, who’d forgive you and accept you back into your community. Each week, you confessed, you were forgiven, and you received communion. You never strayed too far outside the group because you had this regular release. Maybe the most important aspect of salvation is having this forum, this permission and audience, for expressing our lives as a story.

But as church becomes a place where people go to look good — instead of being the one, safe place where they could risk looking bad — we’re losing that regular storytelling forum. And the salvation, redemption and communion it allows.

Instead, now people go to therapy groups, twelve-step recovery groups, chat rooms, phone-sex hotlines, even writers workshops, to turn their lives and crimes into stories, express them, craft them, and in doing so be recognized by their peers. Brought back into the flock for another week. Accepted.

With this in mind: Our need to turn even the darkest parts of life — especially the darkest parts — into stories… our need to tell those stories to our peers… and our need to be heard, forgiven and accepted by our community . . . how about we start a new religion?”

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