Originally, this was going to be a response to Dr. McCain's comment on a previous post and then I saw how long it became, anyhow enjoy it in all its glory. ;)
I had a feeling a Macnatic (I say this in good humor) would respond. Oh to see the world through rose colored glasses.
Don't get me wrong Macs are good machines and OS X is a good operating system. Although, Apple did themselves no favors by making them look like a fish bowl aka iMacs. However, OS X can have as many problems as XP. I have used Power PC's and I had no trouble crashing them. I have a tendency to push computers to their limits and beyond and when you do that you can have some spectacular crashes.
XP is very user friendly, contrary to popular Maclore. It is very intuitive in how it operates, but then I am not the average user so I may not be the best judge. Most problems with XP are not so much that the system is not user friendly is that it is plagued by dumb users. Macs would have the same problem if an equivalent number of people used them.
As far as costs go XP PC's and Macs are pretty close cost wise, if you go name brands. I don't, but then again I am not the average user. The last name brand I bought was a laptop. I build my own desktops. The one I am currently posting with I spent ~250 to build, just to be fair I already owned XP and Office Professional. Speed wise I would say it is slightly slower to the mini mac which runs ~600 according to the online apple store.
Maintenance wise I may not be the best judge because I tinker with my systems. However, tinkering aside I have not had to invest much time into maintaining the system nor have I had to spend any money outside of maintaining security software.
Now to be completely unfair to Mac with the PC, I can easily go completely open source by using Linux which cost wise more churches should look into as it is much cheaper to make a donation than to buy a bunch of Macs or PCs w/ Windows. Now while Linux is no where near as pretty as OS X (which looks a lot like Vista by the way) it is very stable. Like Macs, Linux has the ability to run Microsoft Office (which I believe saved Mac from extinction) plus it can run many other Windows based programs. Feature wise it is not as rich as Windows or OS X, but give it time. Most distros have a 6 month upgrade cycles. With that kind of turn around and the growing popularity of open source you can expect them to quickly catch up with Windows and OS X in the feature department. Look at Firefox it has long since put IE to shame, but then again that may not have been to hard. ;)
Just for grins I thought I would see what kind of open source machine I could get for 600, the base cost of the Mini Mac. This is what I found.
AMD 64 FX2 dual core @ 2.1 gig
2 gigs ram
512 ram Radeon video card
160 gig SATA drive
cordless Logitech keyboard and laser mouse
HP Photosmart C4280 All in one
-price before tax $594.95 and that is before all the rebates of which there is about $150.