Letting Go of Fear & Celebrating Differences: Insights from Intersectionality

Intersection (photo credit: Carl Gregg)

This past Sunday was the 70th anniversary of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on the  Japanese city of Nagasaki toward the end of World War II. The weapon, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was released at 11:01 a.m. local time, causing tens of thousands of civilian casualties. (The even more devastating bombing of Hiroshima was three days earlier.) This anniversary of the only time to date that atomic bombs have been used in warfare comes at a time when headlines are being made worldwide concerning … [Read more...]

What Do We Mean We When Say, “Building the Beloved Community”?


In progressive religious circles, you will often hear calls to “build the Beloved Community,” but I’m not sure we always appreciate the full historic resonance of that phrase. The term “Beloved Community” was coined by the early twentieth-century American philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916). But most of us learned it not from Royce but from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who often spoke of the “Beloved Community” as his ultimate goal. As an early example, after the Montgomery Bus Boycott … [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...]

“What You Say Next Will Change Your World”: Practicing Nonviolent Communication


Each year at the annual Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, one of highlights is always the Ware Lecture, which has been given since 1922. Past Ware Lecturers include Reinhold Niebuhr, Howard Thurman, Saul Alinsky, Kurt Vonnegut, Elaine Pagels, Mary Oliver, Karen Armstrong, and many other luminaries. If you are interested, you can read most of the archived transcripts online on the UUA’s website. In 1966, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a Ware Lecture titled “Don't Sleep Thr … [Read more...]

The Right of Conscience and the Crystallization of Conscience


“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...]

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


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...]