Church Visits

Visiting Churches: Chris Thompson (stainedglass) is an amateur Alaskan biblical scholar and student of religion, especially as it relates to popular culture. He regularly attends national and regional American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature events to interact with and learn from worldwide religion scholars. Through unannounced mystery visits to churches in Anchorage and South-Central Alaska, he observes how guests (visitors) are treated during this initial church visit. Research indicates guests first visit perceptions affects further spiritual growth and religious attitudes as they search for a church home. Chris' church visits focus primarily on Christian churches. This blog contains accounts of those visits, and related posts about religion in culture. Chris looks for the following in his visits:

•Genuine welcome, true Christian hospitality

•Friendliness and warmth

•Effective, well-delivered, Bible-based, main teaching

•Music deepening the worship, not just entertainment

Google map of churches Chris Thompson has visited.

Follow my Church Visits posts on Twitter

Chris Thompson’s email: churchvisits@gmail.com

Significant 2013 Church Visits Posts

Top Ten Issues Local Churches Must Address in 2013

Ten Things Churches Did That Blew Me Away In 2012

Guest Post: Why Theology Matters to Musicians

Church Visits: What's it like visiting a church with a guest-friendly service? - 7/5/2014 2:08 pm

Church Visits: 10 excuses people give for not attending church - 6/28/2014 11:21 am

Church Visits: Religious pluralism in Alaska here to stay - 6/21/2014 8:28 am

Church Visits: Welcoming churches can reverse attendance slump - 6/14/2014 9:21 am

Crosspoint Community Church Revisit – May 11, 2014 - 6/13/2014 1:44 pm

Church Visits: 5 easy ways to increase your biblical literacy - 6/7/2014 5:23 pm

Church Visits: Cardinal Dolan discusses the pastoral challenges facing Pope Francis - 5/31/2014 1:07 pm

Beast Feast: Great Food and Conversation - 5/30/2014 10:10 pm

Lenten Reflections: A Catholic Perspective

Follow my blog posts at Twitter.com/ChurchVisits. Become a Church Visits follower, and receive instant notice (Tweets) when I add posts.

As part of an ongoing series of Lenten Reflections, I asked Fr. Leo Walsh, Pastor of St. Benedicts Parish, to share his thoughts. He kindly pointed me to his brief Ash Wednesday homily which can be heard, in its entirety, by clicking here .

Father Leo presents a clear, Catholic perspective on Lent in this homily which is delightfully introduced by his recounting the Irish joke below.Fr. Leo Walsh, St. Benedict's ParishFr. Leo Walsh, St. Benedict's Parish

There was an Irishman in Dublin, which you’ll find a lot of Irishmen there I’m told. And he walked into the pub one evening, and he walked up to the bartender and he says, “I’ll have 3 Guinness” and the bartender says “sure”.

So the bartender pours 3 of them, and he takes about 7 minutes to pour Guinness, you know, properly, and then he notices the fellow does something particular and he goes over by himself to a table. He puts 2 on the other side of the table and 1 in front of himself and takes a sip of 1, and then the other, and he continues this pattern until all 3 are complete and then he goes up to the bartender again, and he says “I’ll have 3 more Guinness”.

And the bartender says, “Sure! I can pour them individually… that way they’ll be fresh.”

The guy says, “Oh no, you don’t understand”, he says. “ I've got a brother in America, and a brother in Australia. We used to come here when we were lads, and uh, and this is my way of remembering them.”

He says, “Ah, grand, you’ll have them.” So he gives them the 3. And this goes on for several months.

And finally one day, the fellow comes in, kind of a hang-dog look on his face, and he says, “I’ll have 2 Guinness.”

The guy looks at him with that sad face and says, “Ach, you’ll have them, and with my sympathies."

He says, “What’ya mean?”

He says, “Well, I can only assume that one of your brothers has died.”

He says, “Oh no, that’s for me. I gave up Guinness for Lent”.

Thanks to you Father Leo for sharing your excellent Lenten thoughts with Church Visits readers.



JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service