Monday, July 28, 2008

Go Look At This Blog: American Pilgrimage


This is Matt:

Okay, okay, that's not usually what he looks like. Here's a more standard photo:


Matt Streib is on a seven-month bike tour of religious locations around the country. So far he's ridden with Quakers in rural Pennsylvania, participated in a 700+ person Mormon pageant/spectacle in upstate New York (hence the getup in the first photo), tried to fix a cell phone for a Hassidic couple on the road, hung out with Shambhala Buddhists in Vermont, visited the last Shaker congregation in the world in Maine, talked with Christian Scientists in Boston...and more. Did I mention he's camping through all of this? And he's already biked over 1000 miles, all in less than two months. 

Matt's posts and photos are completely fascinating, and as a Cornell- and Medill-trained journalist with a pre-existing unique take on religion, I couldn't think of anyone better (or anyone with enough perseverance and smarts, frankly) to take on this project.

Especially as a nonreligious person navigating the contemporary Protestant-centered political realm (it's hard to escape, particularly in an election year), I found that it's easy to forget the incredible diversity of religions that exists here in the States. Matt's posts and podcasts on the people and places he's encountered are thoughtful, balanced and totally engaging.

Go look at his blog. It's called AmericanPilgrimage.com.

1 comment:

BJK said...

the podcasts are great!

the whole undertaking is so ambitious... it's impressive that matt is actually going through with what for me would probably never have evolved beyond the initial idea.

i definitely disagree with some of matt's ideas about the role of religion and the reverence it is owed, but i think this is an awesome project.

you should do an interview with him!