Blog in review: April-June 2005

A strong quarter for blogging; much about ministerial formation and practice.

Dinner with Universalists

Monday, April 4th, 2005

Few things annoy me more than the pseudo-truism that Universalists were the simple, earthy yokels while the Unitarians has cultivated such powers of the mind that they never touched the ground.

Gay and Christian in the UUA

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Funny: if I were a closet Christian, my professional options would be far better, but my soul would be dead, dead, dead.

Reorienting adult faith formation

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Dan Harper in his blog recently made some comments about shifting from the customary way of offering a selection of adult courses (not unlike a community college) to a model where goals are established in advance.

Framework for ministerial education

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Call me funny, but some kind of structure in the ministerial formation meta-curriculum is a good thing. Indeed, that’s what you get in a theological education, and your accredited seminary isn’t going to let you go with an M.Div. without a basic education.

How not to preach

Monday, April 11th, 2005

A few things every first-time, early-going preacher should know. From the evergreen Presbyterian Church of New Zealand website

The role of the church in ordination

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Let me be quite plain. Despite some vestiges of Universalist polity in the Unitarian Universalist Association, particularly around ministerial formation, credentialling, and ordination, the Universalist structure is defunct.

Discussing ministerial formation and ordination

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

I’d like to point those interested in ministerial formation and ordination options to a paper from the “third-way” Vineyard USA: a group that’s notoriously hard to pigeon-hole. (To describe them is to say more about yourself than them, so I shan’t.)

Church names

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

Back last year when I was sure I would be gathering a church, I posted about naming it. A good name is important, and A. at Call and Reponse has been thinking about it again.

So, to reprise the idea, what church names would you like, and which would you think spell disaster?

John Murray the Methodist

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

I got the following email a while back:

I’m enjoying the youth bio on John Murray which you provide on your ministry site (I’m sure it could pass for some adults too!). I’m printing and reading it at different intervals as I have the time.

Universalism in shape notes

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

I discovered a “lost” Universalist hymn of lament by J. S. Warren (1829-1905) — in shape notes, no less — in the odd meter.

Intro to vesture

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

I mentioned a while back that on one of the Confidential Mailing Lists I’m On the question of clericals and vestments came up. I offered this.

“I joined the Unitarian Universalist Association”

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

“I joined the Unitarian Universalist Association” is a common enough comment, quickly followed by the rejoinder (said nicely or not) to the effect, “No, you joined a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association; individuals can’t be members.”


Monday, April 18th, 2005

Before I go back and address Matthew Gatheringwater’s now lost (and partially restored) comment about clerical garb — its propriety, how people understand it, what Theodore Parker would have thought — I need to ramp up by considering “high church” and “low church”

Vestments: it’s not about me

Monday, April 18th, 2005

Matthew Gatheringwater:

If your vestments were atavistic 145 years ago, what does that make them now?

Timeless and uniform.

Unitarian Universalism by transit

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Wouldn’t it be a good idea for Unitarian Universalists — and other church-goers, for my ecumenical visitors — to have a schedule for those congregations that are transit-accessible?

Unitarian Universalist ministerial vesture continued

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Most recently, Matthew Gatheringwater said:

Wouldn’t your argument work better, however, if it related to a pre-existing uniform vesture among Unitarian Universalist ministers?

Relly’s walk

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Now I can fulfill my whistful wish and show you the relative distances between (the site of) Whitefield’s now lost London (Moorfields) Tabernacle where early Universalist James Relly — whom John Wesley later called an antinomian — started his career as a Calvinist Methodist and the Sandys Row Synagogue, which is in the building formerly used by Relly as a Universalist chapel.

Taking the bus or subway to church

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

A few days ago, I wondered if Unitarian Universalists wouldn’t be better off to promote transit options to get to church. (”Unitarian Universalism by Transit“) Follow the link below to see a few of the congregational sites that give transit directions. It isn’t comprehensive, so please add more in the comments.

Gown talk

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

I wanted the talk about clericals and vesture to cool down — there are lots of other things far more important to talk about.

The hat and the bachelor

Friday, April 29th, 2005

I was there when a Canadian colleague (bottom picture) Hank first saw the “split knuckle” (as he calls the split-sleeve gown) robe — at an ordination in Massachusetts. (Wasn’t PeaceBang there, too?) We both thought it very natty.

Father Clayton and “Grasshopper” Shinn

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Steven asks this responsible question after compared Quillen Shinn unfavorably to Daniel Bragg Clayton: Well Clayton was a bit of a grasshopper too, but of course, just in the south., and usually within 400 miles of home, but where does circuit riding end and grasshopering begin?

The pilgrimage I want to take

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

Call me crazy with my epic-bad knees, but I would like to take the pilgrimage of Santiago de Campostela.

Some rules of thumb for churches

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

Let me think of some “rules of thumb” that could help church planters, church administrators, ministers or the like –

Another congregation down in the UUA?

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

For reasons known only to God, there is extraordinarily little written about member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association that disaffiliate, disband, or merge with another congregation.

Ubuntu up

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

I’ve been Linux-happy and Microsoft-free at home for a year and a half. Last night, I installed the new desktop darling of the Linux world — Ubuntu Linux — and I’m sold. It is better integrated and easier to add new software packages than the other Linux distributions I’ve installed.

Populate this virtual church

Friday, May 13th, 2005

I’m going to install ChurchInfo, a branch of the popular InfoCentral project and I welcome my readers to try it out.

Is the mainline church closed-source?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

So, let me cut to the point. Who owns — intellectually owns — worship?


Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

While I hold fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and formerly held unitarian theology, I am a trinitarian Universalist. I can (and have) said the Nicene Creed without bursting into flames or rueing my hypocrisy. There are a few of us, and perhaps to the scandal of the UU rank-and-file, more than would be guessed.

Making orders of service easier II

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Why ministers get votes at General Assembly

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Lacking direct evidence, I think the reason that some ministers have a vote at General Assembly is because the Unitarians and Universalists consolidated. Those who criticize the practice seem to think the Unitarians merged with the Unitarians.

Simple Church omnibus

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

I know there are a few of us that pine after a simple church: one that attends to Christian ministry without the extraneous trappings associated with “establishment” churches.

A German view toward open Christian sources

Monday, May 30th, 2005

A while back I wrote about how the core works of Christian faith should be open (free of copyright, and by extension open to interpretation) and have been scratching around the historical margins to look to works that are old and have lost copyright protection.

What not to buy, what to buy instead

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

I’m convinced that consumerism is the great distracter in America today. Why decry the many erosions of personal liberties, civil behavior, or quality of life when I can buy a sharp new outfit. The Style Network is my favorite venue for shadows and delusion. What’s yours?

I can’t read your protest sign! (Or GA banner!)

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

In short, if you can’t recognize a banner from a thumbnail, how in the world can someone recognize it from the rafters at the Opening Ceremony or when hung up?

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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