Why You Should Give Yourself Permission for Self-Care: Cautionary Tales from UU History

"Self-care in Nature —Lincoln Park" (photo credit: Carl Gregg)

There was an article in a recent issue of The New York Times Magazine titled “Mary Cain Is Growing Up Fast” about an 18-year-old young woman, who is a promising professional middle-distance runner from New York:In fifth grade, she ran a 6 [minute, 15 seconds] mile…. In ninth grade, Cain won the New York State 1,500-meter championship, breaking the freshman girls’ record. The summer after her sophomore year, she flew to the Junior World Championships in Barcelona and ran the 1,500 in 4 [minu … [Read more...]

Letting Go of Fear & Celebrating Differences: Insights from Intersectionality

Intersection (photo credit: Carl Gregg)

This past Sunday was the 70th anniversary of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on the  Japanese city of Nagasaki toward the end of World War II. The weapon, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was released at 11:01 a.m. local time, causing tens of thousands of civilian casualties. (The even more devastating bombing of Hiroshima was three days earlier.) This anniversary of the only time to date that atomic bombs have been used in warfare comes at a time when headlines are being made worldwide concerning … [Read more...]

The Spirituality of Embodiment: “The Science of Yoga” and Befriending Your Body

Running as Spiritual Practice (photo credit: Carl Gregg)

One way of classifying the various methods of self-improvement that one can pursue is to divide the different paths into four major categories: body, mind, spirit, and shadow. As I list some examples, drawn from a book titled Integral Life Practice, I invite you to consider where your proclivities lie, and how your attraction to practices in one or more of these categories may have shifted over time.  If left to my own devices, I’m most naturally drawn to practices around the mind: “reading and … [Read more...]

“Are You Living the Life You Chose?”: How To Discern Your Call

Chicago (photo credit: Carl Gregg)

The new album from the singer-songwriter Jason Isbell includes a song with the lyrics “Are you living the life you chose? Are you living the life that chose you?” I’ve been reflecting a lot recently about discerning how we are called. Last week, I spent four days in Chicago being trained as a facilitator for a new three-year conversation within the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association on the topic of “Where Leads Our Call?” I should note here at the beginning that some of you will likel … [Read more...]

Why a 40-Hour Work Week? (It’s Decreased Before. It Could Again.)


Peter Rollins in his book The Divine Magician tells the following "Parable of a Fisherman and a Rich Businessman":[The businessman], while returning to work after lunch, saw a fisherman get up from the side of a river with a bucket of fish. “Where are you going?” asked the businessman. “To the market to sell these fish,” replied the fisherman. “And how long did it take you to catch those?” “A couple of hours.” “Well, what are you going to do for the rest of the day?” “Oh, I don’t know … [Read more...]

Top Ten Highlights from The Cornel West Reader


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...]

Practicing Forgiveness


When I think about forgiveness, one experience that comes to mind is from when I was in seminary. I had stopped by the office of one of my professors to make what I thought was a simple request that barely affected him. I was shocked when he responded loudly and harshly — not only refusing to accommodate me, but also using this opportunity to tell me all the inadequacies he perceived in me as a student and as a human being. I was stunned, and sat there until the yelling stopped and he said I c … [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...]

What Is “The Fourth Turning of Buddhism”?


Ken Wilber (1949-) is a contemporary American philosopher who has written a host of books related to what he calls his Integral Theory. And in general I find many of his frameworks for thinking about the world both helpful personally as well as particularly relevant for navigating our pluralistic, postmodern world. As the name “Integral Theory” implies, Wilber seeks to integrate the best of all available sources of knowledge and experience related to any given field. If you are interested in lea … [Read more...]

Betting on Earth’s Future


Before the 16th-century Scientific Revolution, it used to be more reasonable to hold the worldview that we humans were at the center of “life, the universe, and everything.” According to the ancient Ptolemaic model of the universe, our planet was stationary, and the sun, moon, and stars revolved around us. But after Copernicus’s 1543 book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, our planet was shown to be merely the “third rock from the sun.”  And we have come to see in the centuries since — … [Read more...]