Eliot’s Apostolic Labors

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I have been reading an excellent secondary source which recounts the life of John Eliot, apostle to the Indians, especially his apostolic labors in beginning the town of Natick, MA from a group of Praying Indian converts living in Nonantum. Nonantum and Natick by Sarah Sprague Jacobs partakes of the unfortunate triumphalism of the nineteenth century, seeing only what we gave to the native peoples of this land and not what we gained from them, but otherwise gives an inspiring account of Eliot’s heroism and bravery in the face of amazing obstacles.

Here is just a taste of Jacob’s account which resounds with later American history when the Gospel was also brought to the people by traveling preachers called circuit riders, who braved similar circumstances to fulfill the call of the Lord to preach. Continue reading

New England’s Pentecost

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June 7, 2014, Eve of the Feast of Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church

meetinghouseA few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of visiting the site of John Eliot’s first and oldest mission to the native Massachusett/Algonquian people of eastern New England: the first Meetinghouse of the Praying Indians of Natick, MA. Across the street from the meetinghouse, in a tiny, but lovely little brick structure lives the Bacon Free Library, and inside the library is a precious relic from New England’s religious heritage: a second edition original of John Eliot’s Bible translation into the language of the native people of Massachusetts! It sounds a bit odd from what we know of the subsequent history and relationship between the English Puritans (along with later settlers) and the Native Americans that there was a translation made of the whole Bible into a language only spoken by a relatively small section of humanity. When I spoke to the President of the Natick Historical Society, that is what she marveled at the most: Where did Eliot get such advanced ideas of toleration and outreach to such a disadvantaged and foreign people? The miracle of Pentecost is a direct answer to this most profound question: Continue reading

Remembering on Memorial Day

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Meeting a small group downtown today for our flagship tour, the Faith-based Freedom Trail. This is giving a shout out to all of America’s veterans and men and women currently in uniform on this Memorial Day.

I have very fond memories of Memorial Day parades in my small hometown in the Midwest. Now that I live in the city where it all began, I am deeply humbled and grateful for the sacrifice of all our founding fathers and those who continue to sacrifice to ensure our liberties.

America’s freedom and independence from one of the greatest and most intimidating empires in the world is a powerful and inspiring story to tell. And we here at Boston Pilgrim Tours remain committed to telling the often overlooked role that faith has played in that story.

Making Field Trips Faith-full

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IMG_4589Spoke at the MASSHope Homeschool Convention this afternoon in Worcester, MA to a group of leaders for support groups. The topic was Making Field Trips Faith-full meaning how to look at the usual field trip destinations through the eyes of faith. Other talks are brewing in my brain. Contact me today to speak to your youth group, leadership staff, or other social gathering!

Alive on a Friday Night

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Park Street Church  Alive with Activity on Friday Nights

Park Street Church Alive with Activity on Friday Nights

A church meeting on a Friday night?! Most mainline congregations in this country fight just to keep people in the pews at the regularly scheduled “church time” of Sunday morning. But why would any church in its right mind schedule a gathering on Friday night when most Americans are thinking about pizza and a movie? Because the right mind for the Church is the mind of Christ who fills all time and existence with Himself, just as the famous Church on Park Street in Boston has done with a time slot usually reserved for worldly indulgence. Continue reading

Tea Time in Boston

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Today marks the 240th anniversary of what has come to be known as the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773. We had the good fortune of taking our home school to the new living history museum that has been built in Boston Harbor to commemorate the historic event (free to all on this historic day). The old museum was closed in 2001 and later suffered a fire in 2007. But the new living history museum that has been built in its place is better than ever before. Continue reading

Winter Hibernation

Interesting how the tour guide season follows the same season as baseball. Just as the World Series concludes, and the off season begins, so too,  the tour guiding season for 2013 goes into winter hibernation.

Thanks to all of my friends and colleagues who helped us launch the first official season for Boston Pilgrim Tours. Please pray for us, as we study and plan to return in the spring with even more faith-based offerings for our dear city of Boston.

Overcoming Faith-a-Phobia

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bunyan_timorousThere is one great tendency that has stood out for me over the years of my pilgrimage as a transplanted Midwesterner and adopted Bostonian. It is this northeastern fear of things related to faith and religion. I have been trying for years to nail down the origins of this quintessential New England trait, and it stumps me what to make of it.

Of course, Boston Pilgrim Tours exists to alleviate this unnatural pathology in all of its various forms. We are doing well as a city with a plethora of tours dedicated to culture, history, and even architecture. But we stop short when it comes to belief. I have been on many a tour of churches, mosques, or synagogues in which the house of worship is treated as a kind of museum piece to be dusted off and admired purely for its historical place. Never a hint of living, breathing faith. Those on the tour who might be aware of a particular denomination along with its proclivities of practice and confession share their knowledge to the group almost apologetically, as a private fetish of which they ought to be ashamed or at least not overindulgent. Continue reading