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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Can bloggers meet in broad daylight?

Okay, Philocritics, we've chatted up a storm about a party with all your favorite Boston-area liberal religious bloggers, and I think we've largely agreed that the last Saturday in April — April 30 — looks promising. So now we actually have to plan the thing.

Response to the party idea has come primarily from other Unitarian Universalist bloggers and my UU readers (which shouldn't be surprising, I suppose), so maybe I'll float the idea of a more ecumenically intentional gathering at the Progressive Christian Blogger Network. Since we Unitarian Universalists don't apply creedal tests for fellowship, of course, all friendly Philocritics are welcome to attend. Unfriendly Philocritics will have to defeat me in games of frisbee golf before gaining admittance.

I like the idea of our party being a family affair, with partners and children. I like the afternoon idea, knowing that ministers don't exactly spend Saturday nights out dancing. I like the idea that Chalicechick might convince Scott to join her in a weekend roadtrip all the way from Washington, D.C. Friends, that's the power of blogging right there.

So here are the burning questions before us: Who has a nice park or perhaps a nice parish hall with a convenient lawn? (Being a person of faith, I'm hoping that the last Saturday afternoon in April might actually be warm enough here in Massachusetts for us to be outside, enjoying the warmth of that strange orb, the Sun.) Who makes the best potato salad? Who actually knows how to plan a good party? This is your chance to shine.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 31 March 2005 at 8:24 PM

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April 1, 2005 08:38 AM | Permalink for this comment

Oh! Forgot to mention: You do not need to be a blogger to be a Philocritic. Fans and friends of this site are welcome, even if they're part of that most populous breed, the Lurkers.


April 1, 2005 10:30 AM | Permalink for this comment

Why don't we converge on the Boston Common with coolers and have a big ole picnic? That way everyone knows exactly where it is, can drop in and leave and go do other cool tourist things if they're from out of town (and CC and BITB should know they're welcome to stay at Peacebang's Parsonage). No one has to have a house or backyard big enough, and we know there's public transportation available.

Does that sound like an idea?


April 1, 2005 12:48 PM | Permalink for this comment

My church's parish hall and front yard, approximately equidistant from the South Shore, MetroWest, and downtown, are available that day from noon to 3:30 or so. At 4, the Youth Slumber Party begins.

Not sure if that works or not. (Although it tickles the fancy to imagine the unassuming youths showing up with their sleeping bags, only to find themselves ambushed by a batallion of clergy waiting to give them the business, especially if the clergy are led by a tall guy sporting Geneva bands and preaching salvation!)

Scott Wells:

April 1, 2005 07:34 PM | Permalink for this comment

I suppose I'm the tall guy, but (assuming I make it) I'll be in my civvies!


April 2, 2005 02:37 PM | Permalink for this comment

Civvies will be fine, I'm sure. (Just don't show up in your skivvies.)

Actually, the minister of the Congregational church next door (the faction that left us in a huff in the 1830's) has a pair of Geneva tabs that somebody in his congregation sewed for him, but they look a bit improvised and he doesn't like to wear them very often. If you showed up with some spiffier ones, who knows, it might just draw them all back to the mother church.


April 2, 2005 10:07 PM | Permalink for this comment

Come on, fellas. Stay on topic. What's going on with this partay? Milton? Public Gardens? Who's going to be our Julie McCoy the Cruise Director on this?

Scott Wells:

April 2, 2005 10:19 PM | Permalink for this comment

I think the Public Gardens (Peacebang) and strong starch (Fausto) are the right ideas.


April 2, 2005 10:26 PM | Permalink for this comment

If we do decide to have it at the Public Garden, then we must do it under the Channing statue across from the Arlington Street church.

Can anybody get us into the Arlington Street parish hall in case the weather isn't friendly?


April 2, 2005 11:26 PM | Permalink for this comment

My anxiety about meeting in downtown Boston is that it would be difficult for people who don't already know each other to figure out which group is actually us, although I do love the idea of meeting at Channing's monument. It's one thing for me to stand in the sun the whole time so people can watch for the glint of my orange hair, but there's a lot of people wandering around the Public Garden.

If someone wants to make a gorgeous Philocritics banner -- with the proper dimensions for the General Assembly banner parade, natch -- then we could have a flag for people to see and I'd be tickled watching it wave.

It seems easier to point people to a location where there wouldn't be three dozen other picnics all happening in the same place at the same time. If we head out to the 'burbs, of course, we could carpool people from the city.


April 3, 2005 08:17 AM | Permalink for this comment

I can make a banner, and if I drive up I will likely plan to be there earlyish.

I kinda like meeting under the Channing statue in theory, but I haven't been to Boston in forever and don't know what I'm talking about.



April 3, 2005 10:34 AM | Permalink for this comment

The Channing statue 1) faces the street and 2) is under a bunch of trees with no nearby lawn. Not to mention being the most heavily traveled corner of the Garden. I don't know if they allow picnicing in the Garden (despite its name, the Public Garden is actually privately owned). I can check that out.

In the Common, on the other hand, we could search for the plaque commemorating that other early religious liberal, Mary Dyer.

Seriously, the Common has much nicer large grassy areas with nearby shady patches (if any leaves are out in four weeks). We could meet just across the street from the UUA, which could prove to be attractive if anyone needed a bathroom. (Of course, a UUA employee would need to accompany you each time!)

On the whole, though, in a yard, church- or private, there might be more seating options, and easier bathroom setup, maybe even modest kitchen facilities and running water. Not to mention a place to be if it's raining.


April 3, 2005 04:02 PM | Permalink for this comment

Apr. 30th is fine ....
again, i'll bring the chips


April 3, 2005 08:07 PM | Permalink for this comment

I am like a sheep and will follow. However, Chris' logistical concerns seem worthy of our consideration. Also, Also, how many people are we talkin' about? Is Milton nice (is that where that Fausto Fella lives?)? It does seem to me like a more peaceful spot that the Common would be helpful for those of responsible for those pesky kids but they dig the city, too.

How about the Arboretum (Sp?)? More space... a big hill we could put Scott on holding Chris on his shoulders...


April 3, 2005 08:36 PM | Permalink for this comment

Milton has a very nice lawn between the sanctuary and the children's chapel, so if the minister wouldn't mind having us and there's no scheduling conflict, we wouldn't overwhelm anyone's living room. Fausto, whaddya think?

P.S. Go Red Sox! Baseball blogging resumes! David Ortiz scores!


April 3, 2005 10:20 PM | Permalink for this comment

I bet if I buy the minister a martini or two and take her shoe shopping, she could be talked into it. As long as we don't have potato sack races or something while she's trying to officiate a wedding. Heck, she might even come! She's a reader of our blogs, anyway. And a F.O.P. (Friend of Philocrites), BITB, Peacebang, Sparkle, Unity and Prophet Motive.

Shall we get this plan rolling? Are we giving up on The Common? We don't want to do anything as corny as Walden Pond, do we?

Scott Wells:

April 3, 2005 10:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

Oh, heavens, I forgot that The Dear One was now in Milton.


April 4, 2005 10:46 AM | Permalink for this comment

The potato sack race MADE my wedding.



April 4, 2005 10:57 AM | Permalink for this comment

You know, I also forgot our wonderful colleague in Milton and I feel very bad about it too...

I say Milton if the parson says its fine and if she and her lovely family would attend. It has been a long winter, no?

Rock On,


April 4, 2005 11:53 AM | Permalink for this comment

Like I said, the Milton parish hall is available from noon to 4. No weddings scheduled yet--just a discussion about the meaning of "covenant" until noon and a youth slumber party (which may yet get postponed; apparently there isn't exactly a frenzied mob banging down the doors for the lucky chance to serve as chaperones) beginning at 4.

I'll reserve it. If we find something better I can always cancel. Since the parson will be leading the covenant discussion, there's probably a good chance of persuading her at least to stick around for lunch if we want to start that early. We may get pre-empted if a paying customer materializes, but that seems unlikely at this late date. (I don't want to get drafted for the party planning, though. That kind of thing doesn't seem to be my special gift.)

Oh, and speaking of baseball, interested fans should keep watching the sermon page at for the parson's reflections, preached yesterday, on the theology of said pastime. They will get posted eventually. In the meantime, suffice it to say that you don't hear terms like "safe", "home" and "sacrifice" in football or hockey.

Can Red Sox Nation, which was for so long a prophetic witness against the forces of oppression, successfully pull a Constantine and transition to a new role as leader of an established domination system? Process theologians worldwide will be watching to see.


April 5, 2005 10:25 PM | Permalink for this comment

So, I reserved the parish hall and mentioned the picnic to the parson and she went all Dionysian on me (well, for her, anyway) and allowed as how she'd like to join us. Mentioned something about wanting to be a "blogger groupie".

Y'know, though, if the day dawns and it looks beautiful and warm and we all have each others' cell phone numbers in advance, there's no reason why we couldn't do something as corny as switching to Walden at the last minute.


April 6, 2005 07:23 AM | Permalink for this comment


I'm all about the Dionysian.



April 6, 2005 06:16 PM | Permalink for this comment

okay then... how do i get to the milton parish hall via north station? i'm bringin the chips, ya know


April 6, 2005 06:56 PM | Permalink for this comment

In a forthcoming post, I'll make the formal announcement of our party, invite people to email me so I can collect email addresses, and set up something like a rideshare program for the bunch of folks who will be in Boston looking for rides. Perhaps even set up a signup for potluck sorts of things! Thanks for setting up the location for us, Fausto!


April 7, 2005 02:39 PM | Permalink for this comment

I put in my paperwork today! I have Friday the 29th off!

who loves a roadtrip.


April 8, 2005 01:17 PM | Permalink for this comment

Aaaaaargh, I would so love to go to this. But something tells me I should study for finals the following week.

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