Religious Mystic & Rational Humanist: The Mystical Humanism of Jeffrey Kripal

Dr. Jeffrey Kripal

For days, I had been participating in the annual Bengali celebration of the goddess Kali in the streets and temples of Calcutta (now Kolkata). One morning I woke up asleep, that is, I woke up, but my body did not. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed, like a corpse, more or less exactly like the Hindu god Shiva as he is traditionally portrayed in Tantric art, lying prostrate beneath Kali’s feet. Then those “feet” touched me. An incredibly subtle, immensely pleasurable, and terrifyingly … [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...]

“Atheism for Lent”: The Spiritual Practice of Doubt

A

A few months ago, I wrote a post on “Poetically Dwelling on the Earth as a Mortal,” which was in honor of my favorite undergraduate philosophy professor, James Edwards. Dr. Edwards was the most well-known, articulate, and matter-of-fact of atheist at my college. And suffice it to say that in the late 1990s in South Carolina there were very few “out” atheists. I had a few good friends in high school that were self-professed agnostics, but Dr. Edwards was — if not the first atheist I … [Read more...]

Evolutionary Religion

TGFE

A tradition has arisen in many progressive congregations of having a worship service near Charles Darwin’s birthday (February 12) with an annual focus on the ways that evolution impacts, influences, and informs the practice of religion in the twenty-first century. A related tradition around Darwin’s birthday is an annual surge in “Religion versus Science” stories across all forms of media. For the most part, these “Religion versus Science” debates produce more heat than light. The … [Read more...]

“Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall”: Claiming Our Social Justice Story

Zinn

Monday, January 21, 2013 was a High Holy Day in our nation’s "civil religion.” The second inauguration for our country’s first black president was itself highly symbolic, but that day in January had the additional symbolism of being both Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the anniversary month of Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.  What a stunning three-step sweep of history from President Lincoln’s 1863 executive order freeing all slaves, one hundred year later to Dr. … [Read more...]

Why Jung Threw the Yijing (or I Ching) and Why Might You?

Yijing

This year the Chinese New Year will begin on what we call January 31st on our Gregorian (or “Western”) calendar. And when I was considering a good date to explore both the history and potential contemporary meaning of the I Ching, one of China’s contributions to the classics of world religious literature, a time close to the Chinese New Year seemed auspicious. And when considering criteria such as “longevity, domestic significance, and global spread,” scholars rank the I Ching in the … [Read more...]