Why “Spiritual And Religious” Is More Radical Than “Spiritual But Not Religious”


Almost two years ago Lillian Daniel, the Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, wrote a short blog for the Huffington Post — a mere 374 words — titled, “Spiritual But Not Religious? Please Stop Boring Me.” For whatever confluence of reasons, that blog post went viral and was expanded into a book she published this past year titled When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church.This past summer, the Unitarian … [Read more...]

How to Respond to Hard Religious Questions from Your Kids


Note: This article is a guest post from Lora Powell-Haney, the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland. It is part of a special Patheos Symposium, Passing on the Faith: Teaching the Next Generation. Read more perspectives here. Sometimes a life path has its beginning steps in truly mundane places. My current work as a religious educator may very well have begun 11 years ago, on a trip around the Washington Beltway.My sons, three y … [Read more...]

Embracing Pluralism, Building Bridges, and “Common Action for the Common Good”


“I am large, I contain multitudes.”  (Walt Whitman)“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah.” (Rumi) —Epigraphs to Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim,  the Struggle for the Soul of a GenerationM. Scott Peck in his bestselling book The Road Less Traveled writes that one “somewhat oversimplified” definition of sanity is the ability to be in touch with and to cope with reality. Conversely, one definition of insanity is being out of touch with or being unable to co … [Read more...]

Conscience, Civil Disobedience, and Holy Obedience

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In 1973, Gene Sharp, who is now in his 80s, published a trilogy of books on The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Volume 2 includes a list of “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” outlines each method, and gives information about its historical use. The intent is to inspire the imaginations of future activists seeking to use nonviolence to transform our word for the better.The New York Times, writing about Sharp’s influence, has said: Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his pr … [Read more...]

“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...]