Just Mercy: “Each of Us Is More Than the Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done”

Each year the Unitarian Universalist Association selects one book as a “Common Read” that all UUs are encouraged to study, discuss, and respond to. Previous Common Reads have included:The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Behind the Kitchen Door (justice for restaurant wor … [Read more...]

Remembering, Changing, Inventing: How Stories About Jesus Were Told

One of my favorite college classes was “Jesus and the Gospels.” Ironically, one of my strongest memories from the class was not a lesson the professor intended. During a series of presentations toward the end of the semester, one student—instead of following the assignment to use historical-critical research methods—used the opportunity to denounce everything we had learned that semester as heretical and concluded by quoting Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. … [Read more...]

Beyoncé, Black Panthers, & W.E.B. Du Bois: Developing “Double Consciousness”

W.E.B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963) was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University. He was one of the co-founders of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And he was a fierce activist for racial equality for many decades. If you want to learn more about Du Bois, there is an excellent new book by Gary Dorrien titled The New Abolition W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel (Yale University Press, 2015). But perhaps the best entry … [Read more...]

Celebrating Darwin Day: “Perpetual Curiosity, Scientific Thinking, & Hunger for Truth”

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. In recent years, his birthday has become known as International Darwin Day, an annual opportunity to remember his life and be inspired to act on the principles of “perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth” that he represents. But even more than 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s landmark book On the Origin of Species, there remain large parts of humanity unconvinced of Darwin’s genius. Polls here in the U.S. consist … [Read more...]

The Spirituality of Doubt

One famous definition of faith from the Christian tradition is Hebrews 11:1, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Etymologically, the root of the word faith is related to trust. Faith trusts that something is (or will be) the case even though there is not verifiable proof. In many cases, the evidence for faith-based claims is internal, subjective, and unpredictable — as opposed to external, objective, and easily repeatable in laboratory conditions, whic … [Read more...]

Rewatching “Groundhog Day” as a Spiritual Practice

The comedic icon Harold Ramis died a little less than two years ago at the far too young age of 69. My introduction to Ramis was in the eighties, through his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in the two Ghostbusters movies, which he co-wrote. He is also remembered fondly by many as the writer-director of Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993), and Analyze This (1999). But critics agree that it is Groundhog Day that stands outs as his “masterpiece.”  Starring Bill Mur … [Read more...]


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