Mystery Worship: Fear and Tribulation Bring in Money and People at Prestonwood Baptist

“Wow–Joel Osteen and The Summit in Houston have nothing on this place!” So my companion commented as we walked into the cavernous worship center of the main campus of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. Tier after tier of green-cushioned pews, … Continue reading Mystery Worship: Fear and Tribulation Bring in Money and People at Prestonwood Baptist

Jehovah’s Witnesses Mystery Worship: Mind Control Warning–Visitors Beware

I am reaching a point where I think Gutenberg did not do the world a favor. And for the second time in these months in the Mystery Worship mode, I walked about of a service and said, “I need a drink.” … Continue reading Jehovah’s Witnesses Mystery Worship: Mind Control Warning–Visitors Beware

Was this Pleasantville? Church of Christ vs United Church of Christ

Below this commentary/rant are two articles I wrote on two recent church visits: the Church of Christ and the United Church of Christ. I felt that I’d just experienced the movie, “Pleasantville” in the move from the safe black-and-white, carefully managed world to one of chaotic color and the messiness of human emotions. One had only a finger snap and four people on microphones as musical accompaniment. The other a full orchestra and two choirs. One was full of older, heterosexual, pleasant, friendly, kind adults, primarily female, 99% caucasian, all dressed in more or less formal church clothes in passionless, … Continue reading Was this Pleasantville? Church of Christ vs United Church of Christ

Grounded: Nature Trumps All Human Plans

Nature trumps all human plans. How quickly and unexpectedly it can ground us Grounded–that’s the word used when airlines have to cancel flights for weather. And that’s what has also happened in the area here in North Texas for much of the last couple of weeks. And it was my situation on Sunday morning. Although much of the ice/snow mix melted late Saturday, there were still patches of ice everywhere with some churches cancelling services for the sake of the safety of their parishioners. The last thing I need at this point in life is a broken bone from a … Continue reading Grounded: Nature Trumps All Human Plans

Tell Me A Story: The Power of Films and Stories to Shape our World

“Tell me a story.” Or, “Let me tell you a story.” Possibly two of the commonest phrases in our language. When I was preparing for the final project for my doctorate, I spent time learning how societies without literacy transmitted information from generation to generation. They told stories which stayed remarkably consistent during their generational transfers. They served a societal glue–people who knew the same stories could be trusted. Religious groups also tell stories. Similar stories hold churches together and different stories divide people. Each week, I enter into the story of a different religious group and then seek to … Continue reading Tell Me A Story: The Power of Films and Stories to Shape our World

Denton Mystery Worship Seventeen: Dust to Dust

“Remember you are but dust and to dust you shall return.” With these words, the The Rev’d Canon H.W. Herrmann, Rector of St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Denton, marked the foreheads of approximately 30 early morning worshipers on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The familiar words of the readings and prayers swirled around me. I read the collect of the day, “Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent . . .” God, who “hatest nothing that thou has made,” and yet as I … Continue reading Denton Mystery Worship Seventeen: Dust to Dust