Modern Uncertainty: “Meeting the Universe Halfway”

A member of the congregation I serve emailed me recently on the topic about modern uncertainty:In the nineteenth century, Robert Browning could write, “God 's in His heaven — All’s right with the world!” There was a high level of certainty that we were on the path to an earthly paradise. At the dawn of the twentieth century, quantum effects disrupted the view of science that nature was predictable at the most basic level. Wittgenstein questioned whether there indeed were any philosophical q … [Read more...]

Gender Liberation

Last summer, when The United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, we celebrated a watershed moment in the struggle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual equality. And as significant as that victory was, the struggle for equal rights — for equal protection under the law — is not yet complete. Even though same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states, “Twenty nine states lack anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation or gender identity, and there is no federal law protecting ac … [Read more...]

The Nightmare of Orlando Haunts, But the Dream of Stonewall Lives On

(The following is a transcript of the speech I delivered Tuesday in Frederick, Maryland at a Candlelight Vigil for Pulse Victims in Orlando.) President Obama, in his “Second Inaugural Address,” said: “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” In that speech, we heard our nation’s highest elected official “name-check the waters … [Read more...]

Why We Should Choose both Religion and Science

As a teenager, when I went to events with my theologically conservative youth group, there were often t-shirts for sale with anti-science slogans like, “I believe in the big bang. God spoke and bang it was.” There was an orientation toward protecting the past: a perception that all the paradigm-shifting religious events had already happened thousands of years ago, and that our role was to defend our belief in those miraculous occasions against emerging understandings which saw these ancient sto … [Read more...]

Best Podcasts for Election 2016

Slate's Political Gabfest - one of my favorite weekly podcasts for a few years now that becomes all-the-more-interesting in a presidential election season. "Voted 'Favorite Political Podcast' by iTunes Listeners. The Gabfest, featuring Slate's Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks." FiveThirtyEight Elections - my new favorite weekly political podcast from the "data wizards" at … [Read more...]

“God Bless America (and No Place Else?!)”: The Uses & Abuses of Civil Religion

Memorial Day has sometimes become merely a three-day holiday weekend, symbolically marking the beginning of the summer vacation season. But the original intent of Memorial Day is an annual time to honor and remember all who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces—not to be confused with Veterans Day in November, which honors all military veterans. For me, Memorial Day includes remembering my great-uncle Wilber, who was killed in action during World War II. And when I think about h … [Read more...]