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New England's Lost Places #3: A HERO’S HOME

On August 8th, 1775 the British ship “Falcon” had chased a Salem based schooner into Gloucester harbor. The schooner was in trouble because it became grounded on the flats between Pearce’s Wharf and Five Pound Island. The Falcon attempted to board the schooner but were turned away when two swivel guns and multiple muskets prevented the schooner from being captured. the British captain in turn fired his cannons into Gloucester and dispatched men at Fort Point in order to burn the town. They were unsuccessful and were captured by the townsfolk but not before two of their own were killed - Benjamin Rowe and Peter Lurvey. Two hundred or so years later we tend to forget that these people had real

New England's Lost Places #2: Native American Structures

High on a footprint shaped hill in southeastern Massachusetts stand a number of interesting stone structures and effigies (No, I’m not going to tell you where it is). It is up to speculation as to what these structures are but they are pre-colonial. It is a well documented fact that Native Americans constructed various structures like these for a variety of purposes. In this area there are six stone cairns in close proximity to each other. I found This area also has a number of other structures and effigies along the ridge line. I am presently trying to document those that I find. It is a slow process because of my limited time and the leaf cover that obscures some of the smaller structures.

New England’s Lost Places #1: DOGTOWN

O come and roam with me today, Where nature undefiled holds sway, And where its majesty profound, In primal grandeur may be found, Then let’s to Dogtown Common lie, Where nature’s scenic grandeurs lie, We’ll bid the city streets adieu, And some old road our way pursue. Scotti and Lee Cox Cellar “hole” #9. Site of John Clark’s Home. Recently, my family and I took a short trip north to Cape Ann to visit an area I explored when I was attending seminary. Dogtown always fascinated me with its sparse yet strange history and colorful legends. Though not much is left, it interests this old amateur archaeologist for some odd reason. Dogtown is an abandoned settlement near Gloucester, Massachusetts. I

THINGS I DID & THOUGHT ABOUT: PART DEUX

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood. Henry Miller Well, I thought I would quickly plop down a quick update of where I am in this whole sabbatical and dissertation writing process. First sabbatical stuff that has nothing to do with my dissertation. I’ve found..: ...that I really enjoy listening to sermons. I feel built up. It is kind of a weird experience. Since I have been preaching at EBC 11 years, this is the first time I have had a chance to be “preached to” for more than one week consecutively. I am also looking forward to preaching again. ...that since I’ve stopped being a pastor, I have had more chances to share my faith, personally, than in the pa

READING ABOUT ME

Sabbatical has been a blessing in many ways. I have had time to rest, read, learn, get some work done, and play. The other day, while I was reading a book called “Revolution in Leadership,” I came across this paragraph: Too often ministers adopt one of two inappropriate ways of dealing with emotional toil. The first approach simply allows the emotions to be drained out of the minister after taking hit after hit emotionally, with no allowance for emotional refueling. The result is emotional exhaustion. The most telling symptom is lack of joy. The second unhealthy approach to handling the emotional turmoil involves the minister intentionally defending his or her emotional life. This is done t

SABBATICAL EPIPHANY

HOW OFTEN DO CHURCHES CLOSE DOWN? THE ANSWER IS MORE SURPRISING THAN YOU THINK. Have you ever come across something that you thought was true but you found out that it isn’t quite true at all? That was my experience today. It is not a major pillar of our faith that I’m talking about but a truth that is usually backed up by anecdotal evidence and personal experience. You might have heard it this way: In America, churches are closing at an alarming rate! In fact, I actually had that statement in my thesis proposal. It was fine because I knew it was true. Everyone knows it. The problem is that I had to have a citation for the fact “that everyone knows.” So to the internet I went, to research

SABBATICAL: The Saga Continues

It was a good week. No crises. No fires to put out. No trauma (except when I opened the car door onto my face and almost knocked myself out...don’t ask). I went away with my wife this weekend for a much needed reboot on our marriage. It was good to be alone and talk. We don’t have much time anymore to do that with my schedule and the new job she has encroaching in on our time together. We also spent a little too much money eating out. So much for this month’s budget. My sabbatical work is hurting my brain. As I read more and more, I find that concepts, theories and the like become one big pile of mush in my head. So this week I’ve begun to outline chapters for my dissertation. The outlines

DISSERTATION PROPOSAL REFLECTIONS AND RABBIT TRAILS

I’ve just returned from a week long class designed to help me finish my dissertation proposal. Having finally finished the proposal and having it pass through the first hoop, I have come to the conclusion that the class was designed to do more than help me finish the proposal. “What” you may ask? Well I’ll tell you - It was surely designed to break us. Why else would sane men stay up to all hours of the night to make sure periods were in the right place in the bibliography (when compared to the footnotes). Does that superscript go before or after the quotes? Is that a fifth level or a fourth level? Where’s my Turabian 7th edition?!IIII Where’s my Turabian 7TH EDITION! That’s the 6th, THE

SABBATICAL WEEK ONE: THINGS I DID & THOUGHT ABOUT...

Instead of the usual banter, this blog will follow my adventures while on a sabbatical from my church in order to write my dissertation. NO it won’t say “Slept till noon” every day. I’m one week (or so) into this sabbatical thing and I still feel like it is life as normal. I find that even though I’m not involved in the day to day work at church, I still am thinking a lot about what is going on there. I’m not worried about the church. I am confident in the leadership and congregation but it is very difficult to stop thinking about church things when everyday for the past 11 years that was what I did. So though my body is separated from the church physically, it proves to be a challenge to s

THE DEATH OF INTEGRITY, BIRTH OF HOPE

It is eight days before the presidential elections and it is politics as usual. A recording of Senator Obama (who has repeatedly said that he would support the Constitution of the United States) has been revealed where he states that that he believes the Constitution, is in fact, “fundamentally flawed.” Oh yeah, and that $250,000 taxation threshold he promised, was lowered to $200,000 this weekend. Senator McCain, who would cut earmarks and “name names” voted for the bailout bill loaded with earmarks. Maybe he just wanted to hear his name named! It seems that integrity and truth-telling in general is passe. Let’s be honest; it is dead and most people know it. Most Americans expect lies. It

WHO YOU REALLY ARE

“Character is what you are in the dark.” Yesterday the Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized for "crude and hurtful" remarks he made about Sen. Barack Obama after an interview with a Fox News correspondent. An open microphone picked up Jackson whispering, "See, Barack's been talking down to black people ...” Have you ever been there before? I sure have. I’ve been caught saying out loud what is in my head. My usual response is “Well, I didn’t really mean that.” The truth is - I did. Now I am not advocating saying everything you feel out loud. The Scriptures are clear that we are to mingle truth with love and keep a tight reign on our tongue. What I am saying is that what you think inside is who

JESUS MESSED UP MY LIFE

Jesus messed up my life. Don't get me wrong, I love my Lord but when I signed on for this 'following' Jesus stuff, I was under the impression that everything would be okay...no problems, always full of joy and a place in heaven. No one told me about the things Jesus said like "In this world you will have trouble." or "the world will hate you on account of me." When I chose to follow Jesus (and it is a choice)God gave me a new nature - a nature that wants to please the one who died for me. But I still have this old nature - the old man (pictured above, who desires to kick Jesus off the throne of my life. If I were to stop here, you could conclude that Christians are nutty (In fact, the Bible

HIGH PERFORMANCE

There are a whole bunch of high performance Christians in our churches today...and that is not a good thing. When I think about high performance, a dragster comes to mind. Those vehicles are sleek, they shine, people get impressed just by looking at them. When they start to move, there is smoke and fire and off they go. And boy do they go ... but for how long? A short distance and then they are done. Those sleek vehicles are not very good for a long race. They don’t have the inner capacity for the long haul. Unfortunately, the same is true for many believers. they look good on the outside, the do the right Christian things. Other Christians may be really impressed with their ‘service for the

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