The Great End of Religious Instruction: The Legacy of William Ellery Channing

I first heard of Unitarian Universalism in college. Our UU student group was called the Channing Circle. But I had no idea who Channing was. Less transparently, I came to discover that some of the oldest and largest UU congregations also owe their names to Channing. All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington, D.C and the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City (both of which are close to a thousand members each) as well as the 1,800-member All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma — tha … [Read more...]

Islamophobia & Democracy Are Incompatible; Muslims Are Beloved Neighbors

I was honored to speak tonight at the Frederick Islamic Center for the Solidarity with Our Muslim Neighbors rally. The following were my brief reflections: Thank you all for showing up to support our Muslim neighbors here in Frederick, Maryland. The normal everyday lives our world’s 1.6 billion Muslims is rarely seen on the news, film, or tv. Islamophobia, like homophobia, includes the word phobia because it is a fear that is exaggerated out of proportion to the reality of who our Muslim n … [Read more...]

Resisting Trump: One Book, One Podcast, One Daily Action

 As dire as our political situation may be, as I heard a colleague say recently, it is vital to remember not only that we must pace ourselves for a marathon (not a sprint), but also that "this is a relay race." We are in this struggle together, and we need to hand off the baton to maintain resistance and resilience for the long haul. To empower your discernment of what your part might be in understanding and responding to such a time as this, the following are the resources I am finding … [Read more...]

How Ordinary Spirituality Can Transform Your Life

Richard Linklater is the director of such contemporary cinema classics as Dazed and  Confused (about a last day of high school in the 1970s), School of Rock (about Jack Black inspiring a classroom of fourth graders to enter a Battle of the Bands), and the Before Trilogy (about the relationship over time between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy). Of those films, the Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight) is where we first began to see Linklater’s willingness to risk pl … [Read more...]

Cesar Chavez: How David Can Win in the Age of #Trump

For seven years, I had the privilege each summer of being a counselor at a two-week Summer Institute for incoming college freshmen. The title of the program was “You Bet Your Life: Theological Explorations of Vocation,” and our goal was to equip these young people with tools, frameworks, and experiences to begin discerning both their gifts and how they might best be able to change the world for the better. (We are “betting our life” with each choice that we make on how to spend our time and talen … [Read more...]

Comparing Religions: Reflexive Re-Readings

I would like to share some highlights from the conclusion of religion professor Jeffrey Kripal’s book Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms about where we find ourselves here in the early twenty-first century on the other side of the comparative process, having compared the world’s religions in light of both modern science and our own direct experience. In particular, I would like to focus on Kripal’s final chapter, “Reflexive Re-readings: Looking at the Looker.” To begin unpacking that title, th … [Read more...]