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...]

An Honest Heretic: Religion, Science, & Dr. Joseph Priestley

Air

The future free-thinking minister-scientist Joseph Priestley was born in 1733 to a strict Calvinist family, but by his early twenties he was already experimenting boldly with both theology and science.  For the purposes of this post, I will be drawing from the an excellent, accessible, and lively introduction to Priestley, Steven Johnson’s 200-page book The Invention of Air. (If that book leaves you interested in learning more, there is also a recent two-volume biography by Robert Schofield from … [Read more...]

Rosa Parks: The Rest of the Story

Parks

One of many reasons why the film Selma is so riveting is that it focuses much more on the behind-the-scene dynamics of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches than the more familiar public events. And the often-hidden background is what I would like to focus on in this post. Among the many important and significant figures that made Dr. King’s leadership possible, I would like to share with you about “Rosa Parks: The Rest of the Story.” I’ll be drawing from an important new biography published in 2013 by … [Read more...]

Building Your Own Ethics

CIS

I have posted previously about “Building Your Own Theology.” And this idea that you can “build your own theology” — as opposed to ascribing to a pre-existing theological system designed in the past or by someone else — is connected to what is meant when Unitarian Universalism is described as a theologically liberal religion. I should add that when we talk about Unitarian Universalism as a theologically liberal religion, that does not necessitate political liberalism. Irrespective of one’s politi … [Read more...]

How to Make 2015 a “Year of Well-being”

Thrive

A colleague reminded me recently of a quote from Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God that is resonant with this time of year: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” What was 2014 for you? “A Year of Questions,” “A Year of Answers,” or somewhere in between? From a different perspective, the online magazine Slate spent last year tracking what various people were outraged about. If you follow the news regularly, it’s probably not surprising to hear that ther … [Read more...]

Best of 2014: Books, Music, Film, & Podcasts

Photo Credit: Carl Gregg

The following is a compilation of my recent “Top 10″ and “Best of” posts for 2014. Enjoy!Top 10 Best Books Read in 2014 Top 10 Best Albums Listened to in 2014 Top 10 Best Netflix Streamed in 2014 Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2014 Thanks for reading in 2014, and happy new year to you and yours! Related Posts Best of 2013: Books, Music, Film, and More The Best of 2012: Books, Music, Film, and More The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. graduate of San Francisco … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2014

MomandDad

The following are the podcasts I’ve enjoyed listening to the most consistently since this time last year. This list is also in alphabetical order because agonizing over a precise order would take out all the fun: Buddhist Geeks – A short podcast, averaging only about 20 minutes: “after a few years, and well over a million downloads of the show, it became clear that Buddhist Geeks was something closer to a movement or community, rather than just a podcast.” Their general perspective has signific … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Netflix Streamed in 2014

Broadchurch

This list is not my favorite new releases of the year. Instead, it is the best of the content I watched since this time last year. It also does not include films that I saw in the theater. In addition, this list is in alphabetical order because agonizing over a precise order would take out all the fun: Broadchurch Series 1 of this critically-acclaimed in the U.K. is now available streaming in the U.S.: The ratings in Britain this spring were very strong — just shy of what “Downton Abbey” earne … [Read more...]

Winter Solstice Spirituality: “Learning to Walk in the Dark”

DarkTaylor

My favorite season is summer, but I aspire to love the winter. Winter and I are on better terms we used to be, there’s still work to do. As with many other people, when the seasons change, I can feel a difference in how I relate to the world. For the past few years, I’ve kept an exercise log. And I noticed recently that, starting around mid-November — as the days started growing darker and colder —  I stopped exercising for almost a month while hardly noticing. I’m now back in the game, but the … [Read more...]

Did the Exodus Happen? And What It Means Today

Exodus

Ridley Scott, is the director of such classic films as Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Gladiator. So when I heard that Scott, who is a self-described atheist, had been given a $140 million budget to make a film of the biblical Exodus story, my curiosity was piqued. It’s been almost sixty years, since Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, so we were probably due for a update using twenty-first century special effects. Now, if you, like me, are a huge religion nerd, then this fil … [Read more...]


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