The Earth Challenge & the Spiritual Practice of Earth Breathing

(This post continue my reflection from yesterday on #ClimateMarch: Balancing People, Planet, & Profit.) In reflecting on climate change, I don’t want to exaggerate the costs of valuing the triple-bottom line of  “people, planet, and profit” over profit alone. Australia and Germany are already prime examples of how nations can lead in both economic growth and environmental responsibility. What we truly cannot afford is to continue allowing companies to rake in short-term profit from fossil fu … [Read more...]

Balancing “People, Planet, & Profit” #ClimateMarch

In my last post, as part of reflecting on the Easter story from a twenty-first century perspective, I shared a challenge from the evolutionary evangelist Michael Dowd. He says that instead of dating the most significant turning point in history as B.C. (“Before Christ”), we should start thinking in terms of B.C. as “Before Copernicus.” Before the Scientific Revolution, it was more reasonable to maintain that we humans were the point of creation—that we were the reason anything even existed in the … [Read more...]

How the Christian Gospels Became Increasingly Pro-Roman & Anti-Jewish

(This post is a continuation of yesterday's post on Is the Bible “History Remembered” or “Prophecy Historicized?”) To give you a thumbnail sketch of how the canonical Christian Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John came to be, Jesus died around the year 30 C.E. The earliest of the four Gospels is Mark, written four decades later around 70 C.E. The next two were Matthew and Luke, written around 80 C.E. The last to be written chronologically was John, written around 90 C.E. or later. If, ins … [Read more...]

Is the Bible “History Remembered” or “Prophecy Historicized?”

From the theologically conservative Christianity of my childhood, I learned to read the Bible literally—as a record of history as it had actually happened. And although I would occasionally question details that did not make sense, I was also influenced by the signifiant number of people around me who seemed to unquestioningly accept the Bible as factual. Only later did I come to see that likely many more people in my childhood congregation did have questions about the Bible’s historicity, but di … [Read more...]

What Happens If We Withdraw Our Consent to Be Governed?

This post is a continuation of my post from yesterday on "What Protests Do (& Don’t) Accomplish." Overall, in working for social change, one crucial principle to keep in mind is from the second sentence of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence—that governments are not naturally occurring. We created them, and we can change them. In Jefferson’s words: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This view is sometimes called the … [Read more...]

What Protests Do (& Don’t) Accomplish

On Saturday, January 21, five 56-passenger buses—carrying 280 people—departed the parking lot of the congregation where I serve as minister for the Women’s March on Washington: an unforgettable day of peaceful protest amidst an estimated 500,000 people in the streets of D.C. If you add in all the sister marches, the total rises to more than 3 million people acting for peace and justice. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended the march, but as successful as the #WomensMarch was on ma … [Read more...]

A Spiritual Practice for Responding to Relentless Bad News

Like Alice in Wonderland, it feels as if we have passed through the looking-glass. Or maybe we have slid into an alternate dimension of The Twilight Zone. Donald Trump has become president of the United States. And as the pundits say, elections matter. All manner of bad news has followed from Trump's election: bad news for the climate, bad news for human rights, bad news for democratic and Constitutional norms, bad news for all who value honesty and integrity. In these days of relentless bad new … [Read more...]

Is There a Hidden Political Allegory in The Wizard of Oz?

Frank Baum's classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900. He wrote thirteen additional Oz books, and the film adaptation staring Judy Garland was released in 1939. Broadway's The Wiz opened in 1975 on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the original book. I've recently been exploring the allegorical interpretations of that mythology through Ranjit Dighe's The Historian's Wizard of Oz: Reading L. Frank Baum's Classic as a Political and Monetary Allegory. The al … [Read more...]

Why Eugenics Is Wrong and Why It Still Matters Today

(This post is a follow-up to my post from yesterday on "Eugenics, Then & Now: Immigration, Health Care, & Illiberal Progressives.") The supporters of the eugenics movement were primarily “progressives, intellectuals, and professionals” who strongly believed in both Darwinian Evolution and the power of modern science to reshape society for the better (Cohen 71). Without getting into all the intricacies of genetic engineering, one vital distinction is whether one is making this choice for … [Read more...]

Eugenics, Then & Now: Immigration, Health Care, & Illiberal Progressives

Last week, we explored the life and legacy of one of our famous Unitarian ancestors, the Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. When Holmes died in 1935, his obituary was featured on the front page of the New York Times under the headline, “Chief Liberal” (Cohen 317). But as we explored last week, although Holmes did occasionally help lead the court to a strong defense of civil liberties and individual freedom, he was not as progressive as his admirers sometimes let themselves think. An … [Read more...]