PRAYcation

Oh God ... Oh God ... OH GOD!!!!

Perfect if:

• You love your God(s), but you've been together since childhood and feel the two (or more) of you could use some time apart to see what else is out there.

• You've recently started to doubt that your chosen faith accurately describes our infinite, multifaceted universe.

• You love to play dress-up.

Itinerary: A deity weekend

Friday 1:30 p.m.: Khutba (sermon), Islamic Society of Tampa Bay. It's always a meet-up with Muhammad at the Islamic Society, a great place for you to find out all the positive things about Islam that somehow never make it onto the air over at Fox News. The Islamic Society performs many of the same functions as other religions' places of worship (educate the young, feed and provide basic assistance to the poor, etc) in addition to being a one-stop-shop for all your questions about Islam. Check it out soon, before Gov. Scott and the Republican legislature outlaw Islam in Florida forever. (Just a guess ...) 7326 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-628-0007, istaba.org.

Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Shabbat services, Temple B'nai Israel. Thinking about becoming Jewish? Don't bother. One admirable fact that I have always admired about adherents of Judaism is their extreme reluctance to admit new members, with many rabbis even considering it a part of their job to turn away conversion-seekers. Either you're "chosen" by entering this world through a Jewish vagina or you're trying to convert (probably just for the jokes). If you must try, however, check out Temple B'nai Israel, a congregation of reformed Jews that's been reaching out to the Bay area community for over 60 years. 1685 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater, 727-532-3829, templebnaiisraelclw.org

Saturday 10 a.m.-11 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Daily pooja (prayer ritual), Hindu Temple of Florida. Pay a visit to Vishnu in a gorgeous building tucked away in the Carrollwood area of north Tampa. Despite being the third-largest religion in the world, Hinduism seems to get short shrift here in America, where our obsession with "the big three" is all-encompassing. But if you've ever wondered about your Karma or tried out some yoga, you're already on the path to understanding. 5509 Lynn Rd, Tampa, FL 813-962-6890, www.htflt.org

Saturday afternoon: Church of Scientology tour, Ybor Square. Who do? Xenu. You've heard the rumors and read the nasty accounts from angry former members, but do you really know what's up with Scientology? Probably not, so head over to the The Church of Scientology Tampa in Ybor and all will be made clear. The beautifully renovated complex includes a chapel, wellness center (think health spa), offices and public areas loaded with books on Scientology and, for the non-readers, high-tech (yet somehow still cheesy) DVD presentations outlining the Church's positions. If God's an A/V nerd, the Scientologist just might be on to something. Ybor Square, Tampa, scientology.org; Sunday services, too

Saturday night: Jedi worship. Use The Force at jedichurch.org, a location-less place of worship based on the religious mysticism first described by the Reverend George Lucas in his famed fourth sermon, subtitled "A New Hope." Quoting directly from the Jedi Church's homepage: "The Jedi religion is something innate inside everyone of us, the Jedi Church believes that our sense of morality is innate. So quiet your mind and listen to the force within you!" Or just throw on your Holy Trilogy DVDs. No physical address, as The Force is all around us

Sunday 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Sunday Morning Market, Wat Mongkolrata Temple. Get busy with Buddha on a beautiful three-acre complex in the Palm River area of Tampa. Take one look at Buddhism's religious iconography and you'll know this isn't Our Father's depressing, guilt-filled belief system. Ever wondered why Buddha is always depicted as overweight? My guess is he's been bellying up to Wat's terrific Sunday Morning Market, which offers a great selection of authentic Thai dishes (Phat Thai, chicken curry, guiteow, etc.) to believers and the just-hungry alike. Come for the God, but stay for the egg rolls. 5306 Palm River Road, Tampa, 813-621-1669, wattampainenglish.com

Sunday 6:30 p.m.: Worship services, Idlewild Baptist Church. Be born again (because Christ was apparently too busy to enter your life the first time) at Idlewild. Perfect for worshipers whose conception of Jesus involves Him driving to Wal-Mart in a Ford F-350 sporting a "Go Big or Go Home!" bumper sticker. This North Tampa mega-church will cover all your earthly needs, including youth sports, financial planning classes, inspirational workshops and much more. (18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd., Lutz, 813-264-1515, Idlewild.org)

Lodgings

A spiritual quest can only begin within the seeker's own mind and soul. As such, your standard-issue human body should serve as adequate lodgings. If not, we recommend the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a modernist church devoted to the dual worships of chance and gambling law exemptions. Besides, everyone knows God loves to throw dice.

Articles of faith

• No matter the God, it's impossible to make a rock so big that even He/She/It can't lift it.

• Jesus allegedly spent time in the early 1990s working as a mechanic, even helping seminal industrial band Ministry build a hot rod.

• Buddha is easily the happiest of all modern deities (almost all depictions show him fat and laughing), while Muhammad is the most mysterious due to Islamic law prohibiting any depiction of the prophet. What's Big Mo' hiding?

• Jewish sperm only produces Jewish offspring when mixed with a Jewish egg, but a Jewish egg always produces Jewish offspring, no matter the orientation of the sperm. Try this one at home!

• Many adherents of the Jedi Church openly reject three of the religion's six canonical works.

OR....

All this talk of God and religion make you want to do something really unholy

(or at least a little naughty) right now? Quick, take off your clothes and click for the ... NAkation!

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]