Joshua the Heretic

Rylie Nupcharoen and Marissa Douglas

Every now and then, we tend to meet somebody who is truly unforgettable. One day, late last year, students Sage Rogers (12), Fiona Dent (12), and Nico Centurion (12) went out for lunch and met a man by the name of Joshua Easternhouse, who they will never forget. Many are familiar with the advice to not talk to strangers, but an exception was made for Easternhouse that day and because of that, a new sect of Bellingham culture was uncovered. 

An Encounter Quite Unusual- While enjoying their fries and shakes, the Sehome students met a unique man. “There he was, sitting and writing in his big homemade sheepskin bible-thing.” Said Centurion.

Rogers, Dent, and Centurion were celebrating Rogers’ birthday at Zane Burger in Fairhaven, Bellingham. Centurion and Dent were singing Happy Birthday to Rogers when a man in the booth next to them joined in. The man (Easternhouse) was writing in a homemade sheepskin book.  Easternhouse told the students that he loves to sing in public, and he wished people did so more often. Over the course of an hour or so, the students learned that Easternhouse used to be a pastor, but, according to Easternhouse, has since been kicked out of multiple churches. The students left the restaurant and continued with their festivities. Later that same day, the students went to the Barkley Movie Theatre. Afterward, they went to the nearby Woods Coffee, only to find that Easternhouse was also there. They were suspicious about whether it was a coincidence or not to see him again on the same day on the opposite side of the city, but spoke with him for another hour, anyway.

Could it be fate? Meeting a stranger twice in one day can be a huge coincidence, but it can also cause feelings of suspicion. “We’re not sure, but we think he may have followed us somehow. We were all freaked out and silent on the way home.” Said Centurion.

Among their discussions, the students learned that Easternhouse is somewhat of a religious influencer. His firm religious beliefs can be learned about on his YouTube channel (among some other social media platforms) that he uses to promote his beliefs. As I (MD) dove into some of his teachings, I was surprised. I expected his message or beliefs to be unconventional and more like a cult, however this is not what I found. Easternhouse has spent a very long amount of time dedicating himself to pulling apart the scripture of the Bible in order to follow and preach the messages in it. The manner he writes and speaks is often cryptic in a way. He uses a lot of symbols and unfamiliar language that is hard to decipher, and its authenticity to his inspirations are questionable. Easternhouse’s methods are clearly unique, however it’s been discovered that his beliefs are not. 

Often, when you hear someone is religious, but has also been kicked out of churches, you expect something about their beliefs or morals to be starkly different from church teachings. After watching various videos on Easternhouse’s YouTube channel, it’s noticeable that every idea, moral, belief, way of living that he promotes is backed up by biblical scripture. Many modern churches are far more relaxed about following biblical scripture, especially in Bellingham, so it is possible Easternhouse was just seen as too outspoken about his more rigid, by-the-book belief system. There was only one thing that has stood out  as against the norm: he does not believe Jesus is the human version of God (a popular Christian belief held by trinitarians), but that Jesus is merely the creation (or Son) of God, and therefore Jesus is below God. Regardless of whether Easternhouse’s ideas are original or not, he has been influential and impactful to a significant amount of people.Add concluding sentence 

Standing at more than three hundred subscribers and his highest viewed video at 10,000, he’s had at least a slight influence on people, regardless if it’s from watching one video or even watching all the hundreds of videos he has uploaded over the past twelve years. When you go looking through his comments, it’s apparent that there’s a divide between people who agree with his rhetoric and others who believe that It’s completely immoral, but who is qualified to determine that? 

Bellingham is known for its medley of eccentric and unique people. People full of interesting stories and people who they themselves, are the interesting story. Thanks to people like Joshua Easternhouse, a few students of Sehome will always have an interesting story to tell about a man and his big, leather book.