“How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible”

This past Tuesday was Election Day. But overshadowing any voting this week is the countdown to Election Day 2016, when the ballot will include the candidates seeking to become the 45th President of the United States. So as our nation increasingly turns its attention to November 8, 2016, I would like to explore some of the roots of the partisan divide in our county using The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible by David Sehat, an Associate P … [Read more...]

Betting on Earth’s Future

Before the 16th-century Scientific Revolution, it used to be more reasonable to hold the worldview that we humans were at the center of “life, the universe, and everything.” According to the ancient Ptolemaic model of the universe, our planet was stationary, and the sun, moon, and stars revolved around us. But after Copernicus’s 1543 book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, our planet was shown to be merely the “third rock from the sun.”  And we have come to see in the centuries since — … [Read more...]

The Transient and the Permanent in Christianity: Theodore Parker and the Transcendentalist Revolt

“[I invite you to] imagine you are in Boston some summer Sunday morning in the mid 1850s. You decide to go hear Theodore Parker, the famous Transcendentalist minister, preach to the 28th Congregational Society. Having never been, you arrange to accompany a friend who attends regularly. As the two of you turn the corner from Tremont onto Winter Street, you are struck by the sheer size of the crowd gathered there. The sight of nearly three thousand people massing for a routine religious service i … [Read more...]

“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...]

Can You Be Both a Religious Liberal and a Political Conservative?

Religious Liberals (sometimes called "Religious Progressives") are open to growing, changing, and evolving based on new evidence, insights, and experiences. In contrast, Religious Conservatives tend to resist changing, growing, and evolving even when new facts come to light. Theological conservatives tend to preserve traditions, current social structures, and long-standing community ties that can be undermined if innovation comes too rapidly. But can you be a religious liberal and a political c … [Read more...]

“Find Out How Much Love the World Can Hold”

The singer-songwriter Dar Williams has a song called “After All.” (If you aren’t familiar with Williams, I recommend her album Out There Live.) The opening lyrics are, “Go ahead, push your luck / Find out how much love the world can hold.” She continues: Once upon a time I had controlAnd reined my soul in tight…So I stopped the tideFroze it up from insideAnd it felt like a winter machineThat you go through and thenYou catch your breath and winter starts againAnd every … [Read more...]