Stuff Christians Like

May 31, 2012


Last weekend Evan and I visited the former home church of preacher’s kid and author John Acuff who is known for his blog and book Stuff Christians Like, a satirical yet sympathetic review of odd church practices.  I visited the church to critique the windows (the good stuff) and walls (and not so good stuff) […]

Posted in: Changing Church

April 11, 1995: The Day I Enbraced “Gay Marriage”

May 22, 2012


Twenty years ago a dying man handed me a typewritten manuscript which he had hoped I could somehow use in the eulogy he expected me to give in his memory.  John Saunders Bone died of Pancreatic Cancer but I did not offer the eulogy.  John and his partner Bill were, after all, beloved members of […]

Posted in: Memoir

Church Where Police Must Wait Outside

May 15, 2012


Wesley United Methodist Church 114 Main Street,  Worcester, MA May 13, 2012 Should a worshiping congregation be open to all people?  If so, at what point does behavior dictate removal? Two weeks ago a visitor to worship at  Wesley UMC Worcester was surrounded by three police officers seeking his removal.  The church leadership did what […]

Posted in: Changing Church

The 440,000 Sq. ft. Methodist Ministry Mall

April 2, 2012


Everything is bigger in Texas.  You can get a two-foot-long hot dog at Texas Ranger’s games.  Five of the top twenty largest cities in the United States are found in Texas:  Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin.   Church buildings in Texas are among the largest:  Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston offers 606,000 square […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

An Alternative Song for Palm Sunday

March 10, 2012


I’ve replaced “Rise Up Ye Saints of God” with “Shout to the North,” but I’ve also reworked the lyrics to the song.  Now we are singing not simple, generic words about the healing power of Jesus but instead about the implications of that healing in places like Northern Ireland and in Alabama (around racism). Finally, […]

Posted in: Songs

As Big as it Gets: New England Methodism

March 7, 2012


I recently visited and reviewed two of New England Methodism’s largest churches, First United Methodist Church of Westborough, MA and Sudbury United Methodist Church in Sudbury, MA.  They have the largest worship attendance, a statistic which is gaining greater attention among United Methodist hierarchy. Considering such measurements as “worship attendance”, church consultant Gil Rendle offers […]

Posted in: Memoir, Uncategorized

A Marine To Escort a Killer to Hell?

March 2, 2012


Benjamin L. Makinen was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for randomly attacking and killing a woman here in Worcester.  In a victim impact statement, the woman’s brother threatened Makinen with this promise:  “Marines do a tour of duty at the Pearly Gates, and when your time comes, I’m going to escort you straight to […]

Posted in: Uncategorized