Note from the author: The following is part of a satirical series, “Subscription-Based Faith,” which revels in particular and peculiar PNW (Pacific Northwest) stereotypes, consumerism, and social anxieties prevalent at the woefully maintained intersection of belief and culture. Nothing in this missive failure should be taken seriously without a heaping dose of ethically farmed rock salt.

Attention all clergy of the Pacific Northwest, including pastors, priests, crypto-evangelists, and anyone who has recently started a new active or healthy lifestyle, including but not limited to adherents of perpetual marathon training, veganism, or Ultimate Frisbee:

You’ve all heard of the “Seattle Freeze.” It’s the near-pervasive cliché of the typically friendly but difficult-to-get-to-know residents of Seattle (Ballard excluded), those within a particular section of a radius of 15 miles in Portland (you know the one), and a couple of eco-friendly cabins outside of Helena, Montana.

Sorry, residents of Alaska: your state is too northwest to be deemed truly PNW, so kindly remove those iconic bumper stickers from your Subaru.

Yes, the Seattle Freeze exists outside Seattle—it could even be lurking in YOUR congregation.

History of the Freeze

First appearing in The Seattle Times in 2005, the phrase “Seattle Freeze” quickly caught on like, well, fire. The phenomenon of being “very polite, but not overly friendly” seemed an apt description for denizens of Puget Sound by those who clearly had never tried to find a parking space at Bellevue Square during the height of Snowflake Lane fever.

Though first coined in the early aughts, the general disposition of Seattle residents being “a little odd,” “kinda moody,” or “what the hell is wrong with that dude from Edmonds?” had long been established and even attributed to all sorts of fun but not-too-scientific sources, including cultural traditions of reserved personalities from Asian and Nordic immigrants, the omnipresent atmospheric gloom (a.k.a. Seasonal Affective Disorder), or even a social response to population booms—like when all those Californians moved up here, the traffic-ruining jerks.

It should be stated here that not all agree about the Seattle Freeze. Given the high-tech nature of the major employers in the area, Seattle has a highly mobile and transient population, so we get lots of transplants. And it’s SO easy to make new friends in any new city in your thirties and forties, right? RIGHT??

But why even try making friends when you can hashtag about how unfriendly Seattle is?

A Cool Exercise

Don’t believe the Freeze has settled into your pews, kneelers, and that thing after church with the discount donuts where you play the ever-popular Sunday “Who am I avoiding today?” game?

Just ask any of your regulars who sit in the exact same square footage of bench each Sunday if they can name even a few of their pew neighbors.

Now adopt a shocked face as the vast majority indicate they can’t.

Then adopt an affronted face when they fail to recall YOUR name.

Once your literal righteous indignation has subsided, this exercise should reveal that many of the faithful faithfully keep to themselves.

Now, learn how YOU can leverage this phenomenon today!

Subscription Service to Success

These days, no one wants to wait for anything. Beyond the confines of our homes are lines, traffic, and the most terrible of all: other people. Gross.

Even pre-pandemic, the capitalistic pendulum had shifted from brick-and-mortar shopping to on-demand, same-day delivery of all that, supposedly, our hearts might be content with.

There’s a box for everything! Meals, shaving equipment (so many, many razors), ED pills, treats for our pets, and even ED pills for our pets.

Remember the true PNW motto:

“If it has three dimensions, it can be stuffed in a box and delivered to your home for a recurring fee.”

Increase Your Church’s Chill Today with Prime Pastor PNW

For only $7492/month, your parishioners will receive a list of the usual pre-defined sermon topics (DON’T murder; DON’T lust; DON’T let your friends shop at Amazon), so they can choose their own sermons to enjoy at their convenience. In their home. Without anyone bothering them with a wagging finger or collection plate.

Once they have submitted their choices, your congregants will enjoy one (1) sermon per week delivered to an anonymous email of their choice on the date/time of their preference for at least three years OR whenever your parishioner becomes disillusioned with Western civilization and all of its theocratic trappings, whichever comes first.

Thus, leveraging the superficial tendencies of the Seattle Frozen, church members can easily avoid any subject that hits too close to home, is just plain icky, or causes an undo amount of emotion.

Finally, a faith community WITHOUT community or feeling!

Prime Pastor Audible

For those who still miss the soporific tones of their padre, audio add-ons are available for just the price of a mere Starbucks drive-thru when you realize the car ahead has paid for your tall drip coffee, and now you are facing the prospect of funding the soccer team van in line behind you with approximately 87 twelve-year-olds screaming for their venti fraps.

Quiz: Do you end the “Pay It Forward?”

Answer: No. You’re Seattle-nice. You would never buy a stranger a coffee, except for this specific scenario where you feel conspicuously and socially obligated to do some highly visible good in front of a line of strangers you will never see again but who are surely judging you.

That’ll be $594.21. Plus tip.

The audio version consists of an automated voice with whatever accent you find the sexiest reading the sermon at you for three hours, no matter the length of the actual sermon text.

Sign up TODAY and receive a free sound-effect upgrade, which includes general restless pew shuffling, periodic couples bickering about how much loose change to put in the collection plate, a baby crying loudly—then softly—then loudly again, and at least two robust bodily functions echoing through the sanctuary during a quiet part of the sermon.

The Impersonal Touché

Some may think this is merely a cynical ploy to part increasingly cynical Christians from the increasingly problematic founding fathers in their cash apps. And they would be correct. But still:

As is evident from society’s absolute disintegration, there is no more room for anyone else in our spiritual lives because everyone else is freakin’ nuts.

So, why not fill the void left behind with another subscription service?

Besides, haven’t we done this with every facet of our lives? Dating? Entertainment? ED pills for our pets?

Soulfully Solo

It’s time to face the obvious truth:

We need these services because we tell ourselves we’re alone.

At home. In our families. In the workplace. In the church. Alone.

Why? Because being alone is easier than accepting others as they are. Where they are. Who they are.

Because opening ourselves to the “other” is too hard. And where were they when we needed them?

We are all so broken: distorted versions of what we should have been. And other people and ALL their complicated issues remind us of our own fractured nature, some on a daily basis.

Humanity, made in the image of Divinity, broke like a mirror—its pieces scattered throughout time and creation—each of us representing what was supposed to be: a reflection of Him.

But the shards we clasp so tightly are jagged and hard to hold. Forcing ourselves to embrace the brokenness and look beyond our own cast shadows as we try to restore the vision…

No, it’s better to sit at home and partake in our own communion of preference. Even if we have to pay for it through the nose.

Next week: Learn how to pay through the nose for Prime Pastor Premium.


Want more? Want to PAY for more? Check out DP’s new novel The Other Door.

Cover photo credit: Ben White



  • DP Wauchope

    DP Wauchope is a PNW-born, raised, educated, indoctrinated, and inoculated author, humorist, and amateur cartoonist. Whether it be the workplace, the church, or any other structure waiting for satirical deconstruction, DP enjoys playfully poking organizational, theological, and philosophical bears of all kinds--just not real ones. You can follow DP at your discretion on Twitter @nomaplebar and his website: His new novel, The Other Door, is now available on Amazon.

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