“Who’s In Charge Here?”: The Dance between Shared Ministry and Authority


Unitarian Universalists are heirs to a proud tradition of heretics bucking unjust authority. As in the ancient adage often attributed to Augustine, “An unjust law is no law at all.” Americans also have historic anti-authoritarian roots. As a nation we recently celebrated the 237 anniversary of our Independence Day, when we commemorate bucking the authority of the British monarchy: the slogan “No taxation without representation” is rooted in the same idea that, “An unjust law is no law at all.” As … [Read more...]

“Standing Your Sacred Ground”: Highlights from Eboo Patel’s Ware Lecture

Yesterday was the second full day of this year’s annual Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly. The banner event for me and many others was Eboo Patel’s Ware Lecture. Before sharing the parts of Dr. Patel’s speech that resonated most with me in the moment, I would like to briefly say more about both the history of the prestigious Ware Lecture and about Eboo Patel. The Ware Lecture This lectureship has been given annually (formerly at the meetings of the American Unitarian Assoc … [Read more...]

How to Motivate Members of Your Congregation to Do More


At each year's Unitarian Universalist Association annual General Assembly (GA), multiple official events happen concurrently from 7:00 a.m. to almost midnight each day. Yesterday was the first full day of this year's GA, and by far the most helpful and practical event I attended was a workshop led by Mark Bernstein, a Regional Consultant for Growth Development, on "Beyond Contentment: Motivating Members to Do More." My understanding is that a video recording of his presentation will eventually b … [Read more...]

Spiritual and Religious: Highlights from Lillian Daniel among the UUs


Lillian Daniel is the author of the new book When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church. This morning she delivered a keynote address at the Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Association’s annual “Ministry Days,” which precede the Unitarian Universalist Association’s annual General Assembly, which is being held this year in Louisville, Kentucky.I personally have an interest in the ways that Unitarian Universalism is poised invite those … [Read more...]

Pragmatic Buddhism, Westernized Dharma, 21st-century Sangha


When I was about fifteen years old, I accidentally ran into some of the classic early meditation experiences described in the ancient texts and my reluctant spiritual quest began. I did not realize what had happened, nor did I realize that I had crossed something like a point of no return, something I would later call “The Arising and Passing Away.” I knew that I had had a very strange dream with bright lights, that my entire body and world had seemed to explode like fireworks, and that aft … [Read more...]

Wendell Berry, Climate Change, and Earth Breathing


Wendell Berry is the author of more than fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, and for more than forty years, he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya Berry, in Kentucky. Berry is also a well-known environmental activist, and he will be present to participate this summer at the annual Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, which this year will be in Louisville, Kentucky. Berry will be joining thousands of Unitarian Universalists from around the continent on Thursday, June 20 at a … [Read more...]