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Something About Sundays

Something About Sundays

There’s something about Sundays that will always be a little sacred to me. This Sunday morning included me waking up a little hungover and immediately checking my phone to make sure I had not texted anything regrettable. Luckily the worst damage I’d done was match with a cop from Staten Island who has a 5 year old daughter. Unmatch. Moving on.

I proceeded to make myself a heaping cup of coffee, and chug water because I am responsible (except for last night when I didn’t chug water, which is why I was hungover). I then went through my I-am-30-so-I-basically-need-a-neck-tuck-yesterday-skin routine, complete with a face mask. When it was time to take the mask off, I realized I was now out of face towels, so I guess it’s time for laundry.

After loading my laundry (which is on my floor #NYCblessed), I sat down with my beverages and continued my current read - Witch, Please. It’s a memoir about a woman from Kansas who was raised Catholic, then moved to New York City and is now a practicing Wiccan. I love a glow up, especially a religious glow up that includes Midwest roots to New York City. Obviously I am devouring this book because how relatable.

Then my stomach growls, so I head to the kitchen to eat a black and white cookie from my favorite Jewish market. Later I’m making Challah French Toast for brunch. I am so cultured.

My phone pings. It’s my extended family group text. I “love” a text from my Grandpa about the Lord’s day.

I look at my witch book, Jewish cuisine, ability to nurse a hangover on a Sunday and chuckle to myself. Sundays are such a perfect display of how far I’ve come in my dismantling to rebuilding to standing tall Recovering Evangelical journey.

There was a time in my life when I looked forward to every Sunday, not to lounge around and/or make Challah french toast, but because it meant church. I’d get to go to the place I loved more than anywhere else in the world. I’d connect with my God, sing loudly, catch up with church friends, probably cry at some point, and then get KFC. What’s not to love?

As my deconstruction evolved (de-volved? I was building up by breaking down. You get it), I eventually stopped feeling guilty about not going to church.

When I moved to New York City, I was genuinely scared to leave behind my church community. As someone who had found so much joy, accountability,and refuge in a church home, I was terrified to be without it.

Well, God is so good and all that, so I ended up Iiving ON THE SAME BLOCK as Tim Keller’s church, Redeemer Presbyterian.

I believed God had perfectly placed me there as a constant reminder of where my priorities should lie. Amidst the temptation of a city steeped in SIN, I would never have an excuse to not “connect with the Lord and other believers” each week. I got “plugged in” to a City group and felt bad if I missed a Sunday. I’d go even if, much like this morning, I was pretty hungover and would have rather been reading in my jammies.

As my deconstruction evolved (de-volved? I was building up by breaking down. You get it), I eventually stopped feeling guilty about not going to church. There was a gym right next door to the church, and I found Sunday morning hot yoga there to be more spiritually fulfilling than liturgy. I still committed to reading my Bible every Sunday though! I’d have a little devo before my sweat/stretch self-salvation session.

I’d sleep in, still do my Western religion thing, then limber-ly connect with the Lord via downward dog. Idk why JC wouldn’t be down with this form of weekly worship.

Eventually the Bible reading subsided too. As I learned more about the Bible from an academic and historic perspective, I got more angry at the text than “spiritually fed” by the text. I felt better guided in life by reading Glennon Doyle, Pema Chodran, Jen Sincero, either of the Obamas…

Furthermore, I’d read that thing so much, I was kind of over it. I knew what the Bible said, and it wasn’t really helping me become the badass feminist I aspiried to, so what was the point?

Over time, Sundays didn’t involve any kind of regular connection to Christianity. I became the worst kind of Christian - an Easter and Christmas Christian. I stopped feeling so bad about this when I finally admitted to myself I wasn’t actually a Christian anymore (you can read about that here) so I am not beholden to any attendance expectation.

My Sundays became what this morning is. A time of quiet, doing whatever the fuck I want and not worrying about my eternal damnation. I’ve stopped believing God to be a micromanaging babysitter, so I eat my Jewish cookies, read how to be a modern day witch, and reply “Amen!’ to my grandpa’s texts. All in peace.

I can’t tell you exactly when my anxiety around how I should spend my time “in the eyes of the Lord” subsided. All I know is, as I stayed curious in answering my questions about faith and fucking – because we know in the effort of Recovering Evangelicals, these things are messily intertwined – and committed to living a life that felt fully Mattie Jo, it just…did.

But I still feel deeply connected to this day because Sundays will always…

-remind me of waking up and my family scattering out the door for church. Specifically all of us being IN the car, waiting on dad.

-looking forward to seeing all my friends who went to different schools before and after service

-taking diligent notes during the sermon in effort to know, REALLY know the Bible (#virgo)

-my dad waiting at the church doors to seek out anyone who looked nervous, uncomfortable, or scared so he could make them feel welcome

-sipping tithe coffee

-singing my heart out and being fully immersed in the celestial feels. Music and singing was the way I connected the most to God before orgasms.

-a day to stop. For just one day, my little world in rural Missouri got to stop while I connected with my God and my people.

Sundays are still sacred.

For all the bullshit that came along with it, church really did teach me my most valued morals:

Stop.

Take a breath.

Sing your fucking heart out.

Connect with others.

Actively seek out those who feel forgotten, unknown, or unloved and let them know it isn’t so.

Remember there’s something bigger than you at work in this life.

Even though the human race is trashing the planet with single use plastic and electing Donald Trump as president, we’re also capable of doing so. much. Good.

If you’re in the throes of dismantling your religious, and therefore, sexual and actually entire identity, stay the path. There will always be something about Sundays. But that something will no longer include fear that God hates you for doing whatever you want on a day that isn’t actually the Sabbath anyway.

Sundays can always be a little sacred.


Mattie Jo Cowsert
I grew up the youngest daughter of four kids in a Midwest, wholesome, Christian household. I lived in Branson, Missouri (which was a lot like being on a kitschy, yet charming movie set all the time, but a movie set nonetheless). Now a New York City based actor, comedian, and storyteller, I'm ready to book that Hallmark Christmas movie so people back home know I’ve really made it.I grew up the youngest daughter of four kids in a Midwest, wholesome, Christian household. I lived in Branson, Missouri (which was a lot like being on a kitschy, yet charming movie set all the time, but a movie set nonetheless). Now a New York City based actor, comedian, and storyteller, I'm ready to book that Hallmark Christmas movie so people back home know I’ve really made it.
Whether I’m the confident, sensible RA on campus, or the playful, yet focused  young mom/wife, I am loyal, optimistic, caring, witty, and grounded. My enthusiastic demeanor stems from a genuine happiness to be pursuing what I love to do, in a City with more adventure in one day than a year in the Midwest (No offense, Missouri).
I have starred in multiple independent short films, new media, and stage productions. I also enjoy storytelling through a comedic personal blog about coming to terms with my identity as a 20-something purity-ring-wearer in Manhattan (pssst it's a blog entitled God, Sex, and Rich People).​I received my BFA in Musical Theatre from Missouri State University (ah yes, I sing too!) and am a member of Actors Equity. I am currently enjoying courses in improv at The Magnet Training Center, as well as acting at The Anthony Meindl Studio. I have also trained one-one-one with award-winning writer, director, producer Harris Doran. https://www.mattiejocowsert.com/
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