Broadchurch

Top 10 Best Netflix Streamed in 2014

This list is not my favorite new releases of the year. Instead, it is the best of the content I watched since this time last year. It also does not include films that I saw in the theater. In addition, this list is in alphabetical order because agonizing over a precise order would take out all the fun: Broadchurch Series 1 of this critically-acclaimed in the U.K. is now available streaming in the U.S.: The ratings in Britain this spring were very strong — just shy of what “Downton Abbey” earne … [Read More...]

Camus

Winter Solstice Spirituality: “Learning to Walk in the Dark”

My favorite season is summer, but I aspire to love the winter. Winter and I are on better terms we used to be, there’s still work to do. As with many other people, when the seasons change, I can feel a difference in how I relate to the world. For the past few years, I’ve kept an exercise log. And I noticed recently that, starting around mid-November — as the days started growing darker and colder —  I stopped exercising for almost a month while hardly noticing. I’m now back in the game, but the … [Read More...]

Exodus

Did the Exodus Happen? And What It Means Today

Ridley Scott, is the director of such classic films as Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Gladiator. So when I heard that Scott, who is a self-described atheist, had been given a $140 million budget to make a film of the biblical Exodus story, my curiosity was piqued. It’s been almost sixty years, since Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, so we were probably due for a update using twenty-first century special effects. Now, if you, like me, are a huge religion nerd, then this fil … [Read More...]

AltJ

Top 10 Best Albums Listened to in 2014

This list is not my favorite new releases; instead, it is the best of the albums I listened to for the first time since last year. This list is also in alphabetical order because agonizing over a precise order would take all the fun out of remembering these albums:Alt-J, This Is All Yours: Judging from Alt-J's 2012 debut An Awesome Wave, here are the minimum requirements to earn the "next Radiohead" tag: be a British band that likes guitars and computers. And yet, with few other groups … [Read More...]

Exile

New Lectionary Trilogy for Progressive Christians

The season of Advent is upon us again, marking the start of a new lectionary year in Christian congregations. For Christian ministers searching for new resources for preaching the lectionary texts, a member of the congregation I serve has recently completed a trilogy of lectionary commentaries: Theology from Exile: Commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary for an Emerging Christianity: Volume 1, The Year of Luke Volume 2, The Year of Matthew Volume 3, The Year of Mark  This series is for “b … [Read More...]

MLKWare

“What You Say Next Will Change Your World”: Practicing Nonviolent Communication

Each year at the annual Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, one of highlights is always the Ware Lecture, which has been given since 1922. Past Ware Lecturers include Reinhold Niebuhr, Howard Thurman, Saul Alinsky, Kurt Vonnegut, Elaine Pagels, Mary Oliver, Karen Armstrong, and many other luminaries. If you are interested, you can read most of the archived transcripts online on the UUA’s website. In 1966, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a Ware Lecture titled “Don't Sleep Thr … [Read More...]

Brown

Top 10 Best Books Read in 2014

The following are the top ten best books I’ve read since this time last year. The list is in alphabetical order by the author’s last name because agonizing over a precise order would take all the fun out of remembering these books: Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are: All of Brown's books are short, accessible, and transformative: In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belo … [Read More...]

WeAreAllOne_350

Deeds Not Creeds, Behavior Is Believable

Each year the congregation I serve as minister holds an auction. As is customary, I put up for bid, an opportunity to hear me preach on whatever topic the highest bidder is passionate about, or thinks would be particularly important or meaningful for the congregation to hear. This year I was challengedto speak to a very human and common condition…which is the gap between our beliefs and our behaviors. In particular…speak to those beliefs…which, in your estimation, best define the UU movem … [Read More...]

Rasor

Can You Be Both a Religious Liberal and a Political Conservative?

Religious Liberals (sometimes called "Religious Progressives") are open to growing, changing, and evolving based on new evidence, insights, and experiences. In contrast, Religious Conservatives tend to resist changing, growing, and evolving even when new facts come to light. Theological conservatives tend to preserve traditions, current social structures, and long-standing community ties that can be undermined if innovation comes too rapidly. But can you be a religious liberal and a political c … [Read More...]

SpeaksforIslam

The Future of Islam

In August, I blogged about “Tectonic Shifts in the Global Religious Landscape” on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World World I. One hundred years later we see, in the words of historian Philip Jenkins, that the end of the Ottoman empire in the aftermath of World War I — and with it the “effective end of the Islamic caliphate” — radically affected Islam (26):As a political force, Islam in 1914 was inconceivably weaker than it is today. There were perhaps 240 millio … [Read More...]


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