New-fangled and thankful

This is mainly for the Demosthenians, or those who care about my reading list.

As I mentioned earlier, I”m reading E. Merton Coulter’s College Life in the Old South. The chapter on the literary societies is required for induction into membership of the Demosthenian Literary Society . . . so I have read this before (several times really) but not recently. Speaking of the antebellum University of Georgia, Coulter writes in 1928,

Although the Franklin College boys never had much sympathy for Catholics, they had no great objection to the new-fangled Universalists — they at least decided that Universalism could stand the test of investigation. And they seem to have had no great horror of the Mormons, for in 1857 they held that Deseret . . . should be admitted into the Union as a state.

OK: that last bit was for Philocrites, too.

Looking back, this may have been — reading this passage in my freshman year (1987) — the first reference to Universalism apart from Unitarian Universalism (and in my youth, uniformly reduced to “Unitarianism”) I ever saw.

If so, I owe a double debt to the DLS, which went futher to shape my education and formation than I can ever justly credit.

Small world reference: I was reading this passage at the bus-stop this morning when who should walk by but Terrance’s (friend, blogger and fellow Demosthenian) partner and their child.

DSL Heaven

Now that Hubby and I are in DSL Heaven, I should be blogging more frequently.

Oh, but since I’m working a pack-a-lunch, get-on-a-bus, forty-hour type job, it makes more sense to fold the other two blogs back into this one.

Which I’ll do eventually.

Coffee Hour begins group blogging

After much planning and hope, welcome Coffee Hour, a new Unitarian Universalist group blog. On occasion, I will post over there, but more often will post here with a Trackback link from Coffee Hour.

So if you’re visting here from there, welcome.

NY Times Reports on Lifestyle Evangelism via Internet

Lifestyle evangelism, or, as Channing might put it, “evangelism by character”, isn’t new. But applying it subtly via the Internet is gaining currency: enough to attract the Other Newspaper, that is, the New York Times.

Click here to see “Tucked Behind the Home Page, a Call to Worship” by John Leland, in today’s print and online issues.

Remember, subtle.

More churches using MT

Last August, in this entry, I introduced two churches that used MovableType (the software behind this blog) and then introduced the software to the website of my former church.

Thought it would be worthwhile to revisit this, and here are a few more sites to look for inspiration.

Redland Baptist Church, Rockville, Maryland, produced by the good soul that writes one my favorite blogs, Heal Your Church Website.

Church of the Redeemer, Germantown, Tennessee, seems to be an Anglican church without the Episcopal Church. Or something like that. Good site, and makes its Rector search perfectly clear!

A hint from the Christian Scientists

Universal salvation rests on progression and probation, and is unattainable without them. Mary Baker Eddy: Science and Health 291:12.

Having missed worship on Sunday, I took in a testimony meeting last night at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in my neighborhood. It is a massive brick building, but gated tight as a tomb outside of worship. Living here three and a half years, I’ve been pining to go inside.

The service follows a very predictable sequence of organ prelude, hymn, several appointed readings from the Bible (always the King James Version), readings from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (including the line, above), another hymn, silent and the Lord’s prayer, testimony of how Science affected the lives of the people here, last hymn, and postlude. The service was exactly 59 minutes, 30 seconds. Very restful.

Two things of note.

1. The building was immaculately clean. No dinginess anywhere. No falling plaster, no peeling paint. I didn’t even see dust. The building was a typical big-city Christian Science auditorium — I would say “Akron plan” but I didn’t see the classrooms that typify that style — which few congregations of any denomination could regularly fill. The folk there put up “screens” of houseplants and mums to shrink the sense of space, and these plants were perfectly fresh and well cared-for. The posters and pamphlets (free; no dunning visitors for a quarter, here) were fresh, current, and appropriate. I was very happy to be there, even if Christian Science theology gives me a rash.

2. I confirmed the time of the service by going to Christian Science websites. Given their historic care to journalism, their rigorously standardized and thematic form of worship, and attention to personal study and testimony, Christian Science is perhaps the perfect religion for the Web.

Their public outreach is through Spirituality.com, a brilliant bit of forethought. Plus, they have seen the power of blogging and have a set of rather hit and entreprenurial types how share their faith through featured blogs, though it looks a bit “packaged.”

See here.

There are lessons to learn here.