What Does It Mean that We Are Sapiens? Reflections on Darwin Day

This past Sunday was Charles Darwin’s birthday. He was born a little more than two hundred years ago on February 12, 1809. (Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln also has the same birthday and birth year.) In recent years, Darwin’s birthday has become known as International Darwin Day, an annual opportunity to celebrate the principles of “perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth” that guided his life. A tragedy of the ongoing “Creationism vs. Evolution” debate is that coming to ter … [Read more...]

How to Cultivate a Culture of Dignity

The opening lines of the Roman Catholic Catechism affirm that, “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God.” The First Principle of Unitarian Universalism makes an even more radical claim for “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” irrespective of anything else. In 1961, when the American Unitarian Association consolidated with the Universalist Church of America to form the Unitarian Universalist Association, we originally had Six Princip … [Read more...]

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...]