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...]

short

Jewish Readings of Christian Scripture: Parables as Deeds Not Creeds

Yesterday I posted about "Reading the Same Text Differently with Jews & Christians Read" about the ways Christians have often appropriated Jewish scripture in a way that does not fully appreciate the ways that Jews understand their own texts in very differently. In this post, I am turning the tables to consider Jewish readings of Christian scripture — in particular, Jesus’ parables. The inspiration for this post is a new book, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controv … [Read More...]

martin

Reading the Same Text Differently with Jews & Christians

This post is about the ways Christians have often appropriated Jewish scripture in a way that does not fully appreciate the ways that Jews understand their own texts in very differently. In my next post, I will turn the tables to consider Jewish readings of Christian scripture. Isaiah's Context (8th-century B.C.E.) Imagine that you are atttending a Jewish Saturday morning services. A young woman, who is becoming a bat mizvah (“a daughter of the covenant”), ascends the steps to the bimah (the el … [Read More...]

Palmer

The Meaning of the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) for Today

Parker Palmer, in his modern spiritual classic A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life relates the classic Daoist tale known as “The Woodcarver”:A master carver, made a bell stand of precious wood. When it was finished, all who saw it were astounded. They said it must be the work of spirits. The Prince of Lu said to the master carver: “What is your secret?” He replied: “I am only a workman: I have no secret. There is only this: When I began to think about the work you co … [Read More...]

Eve Was Framed

Eve Was Framed, the Serpent Was Right!

On August 13, 1971, the cover of LIFE Magazine featured an image of two women standing side-by-side. On the right, an classical painted image of a tall naked woman stands head-and-shoulders above a modern woman, who is fully dressed. The figure on the right is clearly the biblical figure of Eve, as she is covered only by a strategically-placed fig leaf and is holding an apple. The modern feminist beside her holds a sign that says, “EVE WAS FRAMED.” Eve was framed. But in this post, I would like t … [Read More...]

Blacwell

The Sacred in Music

Poetry and music engage us in ways beyond what can be contained in prose alone. Poetry uses language playfully to gesture beyond the more straightforward meaning of most texts, offering the possibility of breaking open fixed ideas to new possibilities. As Emily Dickinson once mused about the power of poetry:Tell all the truth but tell it slant — Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth's superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation k … [Read More...]

Jenkins

Tectonic Shifts in the Global Religious Landscape since WWI

The Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism set a high bar. To list only a few examples:the inherent worth and dignity of every person; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence.One of the reasons for such high goals is that many of the theological ancestors of contemporary UUs had an optimistic view of human potential. Whereas some theological conservatives preached a pessimistic view of human na … [Read More...]

Ross

Why Does Unitarian Universalism Have Such a Long Name?

This post is the final entry in a four-part series on Unitarian  Universalist history. In part one, I explored the question, “Why Unitarianism?” The Unitarian half  of Unitarian Universalism emerged out of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, and has roots stretching back to the beginning of the Jewish and Christian traditions. And, in short, my answer to “Why Unitarianism?” is that its foundation in six diverse sources makes it a religious movement that is particularly suited for the plural … [Read More...]


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