The Right of Conscience and the Crystallization of Conscience

Soul-Repair

“Crystallization of conscience” is the term the military uses for determining if a Conscientious Objector application is legitimate. I first heard that term when I was near the beginning of the seven-year period in which I served as the associate pastor and youth minister of a progressive Christian congregation in northeast Louisiana. Still early in my transition from seminary to full-time minister, I was reflecting a lot on how myself and the congregation were called to form the young people in … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day for All

Mamas

Julia Ward Howe is most famous for writing the Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1862. She was also a Unitarian, and the author in 1870 a proclamation calling for the first Mothers’ Day, which she envisioned as an International Day of Peace. How might Howe’s words from the late-19th century, inform our celebrate of Mother’s Day in the early twenty-first century? Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears! Say firmly: "We will not … [Read more...]

Brené Brown and the Gifts of Imperfection

brown

Laila Ibrahim, the Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, California testifies that even the best, healthiest, most empowering communities are also messy, imperfect, and flawed: I have been going to the same church for a very long time. For nearly thirty years most Sundays I have walked through our beautiful redwood doors. In all those years I have filled a variety of leadership positions, from [teaching the “Our Whole Lives” Sexuality curriculum] to … [Read more...]

Ehrman’s “How Did Jesus Become God?” and What Does Resurrection Mean Today?

Ehrman

I suspect that some people might be surprised to learn that in many Unitarian Universalist congregations both Christmas Eve candlelight services and Easter Sunday services are some of the highest attendance Sundays of the year. Admittedly, Easter could seem like an odd time to attend a Unitarian Universalist congregation. After all, the Unitarian half of our heritage arises from the heretica" view of affirming the humanity of Jesus and rejecting his divinity — or saying that any way in which Jesu … [Read more...]

Aronofsky’s Noah: from “Hope in Heaven” to “Hope in Grandchildren”

Friedman

You know the city Shurrupak, it stands on the banks of Euphrates? that city grew old and the gods that were in it were old.... In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamor. Enlil heard the clamor and he said to the gods in council, “The uproar of humankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.” So the gods agreed to exterminate humanity. Enlil did that, but Ea because of his … [Read more...]

Religious Mystic & Rational Humanist: The Mystical Humanism of Jeffrey Kripal

Dr. Jeffrey Kripal

For days, I had been participating in the annual Bengali celebration of the goddess Kali in the streets and temples of Calcutta (now Kolkata). One morning I woke up asleep, that is, I woke up, but my body did not. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed, like a corpse, more or less exactly like the Hindu god Shiva as he is traditionally portrayed in Tantric art, lying prostrate beneath Kali’s feet. Then those “feet” touched me. An incredibly subtle, immensely pleasurable, and terrifyingly powerful energ … [Read more...]


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