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Feature Story
reed magazine logoSpring 2008

Blue Like Jazz, a rambling spiritual memoir about one man’s journey to find meaning in Christianity, has been turned into a screenplay and may be shot at Reed sometime in the future. Donald Miller, the author and main character, audited classes while living in the neighborhood; his book has become a cult favorite among young evangelicals nationwide.

Excerpts from letters to the editor in the Quest this year concerning the Reed pope, a position that students elect each year along with their student senators. The pope has duties associated with Renn Fayre. and figures prominently in Donald Miller’’s memoir, Blue Like Jazz. This year’s pope is Joe Parmalee ’09; there is also an anti-pope, Maggie Grove ’08.

February 20, 2008
“Conversations”

Dear Quest,
Pope Erowid Bruce Campbell the First (aka Joe Parmalee [’09] of the great war cry) has taught me the ways of Reed Religion. Though it be misting, the fog has been lifted from thine eyes. The Pope wears Prada eyeglasses as an ecumenical gesture and views himself as Anti-Augustine. He says that Reed is “a college in a state of spiritual malaise, and I believe that the ecclesiastical leadership is to blame for this”.

Pope Erowid says there are two popes and two anti-popes on campus. No, it doesn’t work like matter and antimatter. According to Erowid, all four must come together for the good of the community. In the meantime, he prescribes “unrestrained bacchanalia, but only on the weekends, and sex, rock and roll, and drugs. But we’ll eventually achieve this through Renn Fayre.” He says that Reed is “not Catholic”. On this topic of conversion he says, “We support those who swing both ways. We think it’s kind of hot, actually. We would also like to state that angels are welcome at Reed, but must pay the price of the Renn Fayre Beer Garden.”…

“I have nothing against California,” says Erowid. “I welcome them to the congregation. The congregation is not merely a place, but a spirit. Los Angeles is not merely a place. It’s a spirit.” However, Pope Erowid describes Reed’s religion as unique. It recognizes a Holy Trinity of “Communism, Atheism, and Free Love.”…

Pope Erowid remains optimistic concerning Reed’s spiritual health. “Reed’s spiritual health has drastically improved since I ex-communicated Mirsha Eliot, a fascist hippie. Neither the gates of Heaven nor Hell or California shall prevail against us.” As I departed from this enlightening experience with his Excellence, and [his] hat named Voltron, the Pope bid me farewell. “The owl be with you, my child.” And also with you, Pope Erowid Bruce Campbell the First. And also with you.

—Erica Boulay ’11

February 27, 2008
“Self-proclaimed Anti-Pope anti-pontificates”

Dear Quest,
I wish to point out an error in this week’s Quest. The bright-eyed, newly-converted Erica Boulay mistakenly noted in her “Conversations” piece that there are two Anti-Popes on campus. There is, in fact, but one. I am that one. The other so-called “Anti-Pope” is but a Charlatan, a Brazen Impostor. My power was bestowed upon me by the Infallible Word of the Beneficent Michael Foat, who sayeth, “What? You can’t be elected Anti-Pope. The only way you can become Anti-Pope is by running for Pope, losing, and declaring yourself the winner anyway.” May the Effete Pretender unashamedly claiming my rightful title be revealed in his deceit.

—Maggie Grove ’08
Anti-Pope Pius Blackbeard IV

reed magazine logoSpring 2008