Top Ten Highlights from The Cornel West Reader

CWest

Dr. Cornel West (1953-), the provocative activist, public intellectual, and professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, will deliver the Ware Lecture at the 2015 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly.This occasion prompted me to finish reading The Cornel West Reader (1999), which weighs in at more than 600 pages. The following are highlights for me from this anthology of West's prolific publications:1.  West draws from an immense variety of sources. The two epigraphs at th … [Read more...]

“Liberal Religion in the Public Square”

Reclaiming Prophetic Witness

Each year the Unitarian Universalist Association chooses one book as a “Common Read,” and encourages all UUs to read, discuss, and consider action in light of the contents. Previous Common Reads have included:The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, and  Behind the Kitchen Door (about just … [Read more...]

“The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene”

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Some of you may remember the controversy in the late 1980s when the film director Martin Scorsese released his screen adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel The Last Temptation of Christ. One reason I remember the uproar is because my father owned a video rental business, and when this film was released on VHS, local pastors in our hometown of Florence, South Carolina petitioned my dad to remove the film from the shelves because they perceived it as offensive. Although I can count on one hand t … [Read more...]

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

BrookFarm

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...]

“A God That Could Be Real”

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After Copernicus, we know that Earth is not at the center of the universe. Our planet is merely the "third rock from the sun" on the edge of one spiral galaxy, which in turn is merely one among more than a billion galaxies in the universe. After Darwin, we know that we humans are not "a little lower than the angels," but merely "a little higher than the apes." These are but two of the paradigm-shifting ways that science has de-centered traditional religious claims.In her new book from Beacon … [Read more...]

Chocolate for Lent

Chocolate

Lent (the forty-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday) has a bad reputation in some quarters as solely negative and dour time. However, the season of Lent is not only a challenge to give up a bad habit (to loosen attachment to the aspects of our lives that unduly occupy our attention), but also an invitation to take on a spiritual practice to refocus ourselves on something positive and healthy. You might take time each day of Lent to:slowly and contemplatively read from a sacred s … [Read more...]


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