“The Selma Awakening”


I have posted previously on “Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall: Claiming Our Social Justice Story” in which I invited us to reflect on the activist legacy in this country. And today during the 50th anniversary month of the Selma to Montgomery Marches, the core questions I will be inviting us to reflect on is when the calls come to take action for social, economic, and environmental justice, will we stand up, will we speak up, will we show up? To begin to set the stage historically, when you think o … [Read more...]

The Generosity Path


The Jewish tradition, with its tremendous respect for all we have inherited from previous  generations, reminds us that we often find ourselves “living in houses which we did not build, drinking from wells which we did not dig, and eating from trees which we did not plant.” In that spirit, I invite you to take a few moments to recall:a time when someone offered you tremendous generosity. It could have been a gift of time, intelligence, money, caring, or simply presence. Remember who that pe … [Read more...]

Chocolate for Lent


Lent (the forty-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday) has a bad reputation in some quarters as solely negative and dour time. However, the season of Lent is not only a challenge to give up a bad habit (to loosen attachment to the aspects of our lives that unduly occupy our attention), but also an invitation to take on a spiritual practice to refocus ourselves on something positive and healthy. You might take time each day of Lent to:slowly and contemplatively read from a sacred s … [Read more...]

An Honest Heretic: Religion, Science, & Dr. Joseph Priestley


The future free-thinking minister-scientist Joseph Priestley was born in 1733 to a strict Calvinist family, but by his early twenties he was already experimenting boldly with both theology and science.  For the purposes of this post, I will be drawing from the an excellent, accessible, and lively introduction to Priestley, Steven Johnson’s 200-page book The Invention of Air. (If that book leaves you interested in learning more, there is also a recent two-volume biography by Robert Schofield from … [Read more...]

Rosa Parks: The Rest of the Story


One of many reasons why the film Selma is so riveting is that it focuses much more on the behind-the-scene dynamics of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches than the more familiar public events. And the often-hidden background is what I would like to focus on in this post. Among the many important and significant figures that made Dr. King’s leadership possible, I would like to share with you about “Rosa Parks: The Rest of the Story.” I’ll be drawing from an important new biography published in 2013 by … [Read more...]

Building Your Own Ethics


I have posted previously about “Building Your Own Theology.” And this idea that you can “build your own theology” — as opposed to ascribing to a pre-existing theological system designed in the past or by someone else — is connected to what is meant when Unitarian Universalism is described as a theologically liberal religion. I should add that when we talk about Unitarian Universalism as a theologically liberal religion, that does not necessitate political liberalism. Irrespective of one’s politi … [Read more...]