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...]

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...]

The Life Tradition versus the Death Tradition in Christianity

ashes

A man died. The people who knew him gathered to share memories. Finally, a portrait was commissioned. But as generations passed, the painting did not seem fine enough. The heirs of the portrait, who had become wealthy, created a new golden frame, immense, carved with motifs from the portrait and encrusted with jewels. People began to feel that the old portrait of that dark fellow with the haunting eyes pulled the effect down. As it began to peel from age, they extended the frame inward. One day … [Read more...]

Conscience, Civil Disobedience, and Holy Obedience

poster final art flattened and small (2)

In 1973, Gene Sharp, who is now in his 80s, published a trilogy of books on The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Volume 2 includes a list of “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” outlines each method, and gives information about its historical use. The intent is to inspire the imaginations of future activists seeking to use nonviolence to transform our word for the better.The New York Times, writing about Sharp’s influence, has said: Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his pr … [Read more...]

All Bodies Count: Memorial Day, Fallen Soldiers & Civilian Casualties

conscience

My father who fought in WWII, he tried to tell me that, “War is not as glamorous as they make it out to be.” But I was too stubborn and bull-headed to listen. When you are young, you want to get that experience for yourself . . . and, boy, I asked for it. I really found out. I saw more than I really wanted to see…. You [see] how war affects the civilians in the area. Every house you look at has bomb craters or bullet holes in it . . . .  It makes them put their humanity aside to make it in a war … [Read more...]

Another World Is Possible: Repealing the Death Penalty

Collage at UU Cherry Hill, NJ

Inconsistency: Since 1978, less than 1% of Maryland’s 13,000+ murders resulted in a death sentence. Are those individuals truly the “worst of the worst” or simply those with the worst lawyers, wrong skin color or wrong geographic location? Most capital prosecutions occur in Baltimore County, which is more than 13 times more likely to seek the death penalty than Baltimore City. However, only 6% of Maryland’s homicides occur in Baltimore County.Racism: Blacks charged with killing a white victi … [Read more...]


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