“Help, Thanks, Wow,” Part 3 of 3


This post is the third and final part in a series of three posts inspired by Anne Lamott's book Help, Thanks, Wow Ann Lamott’s initial claim was that, “Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me,’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’” But more than a decade later, she wisely added a third essential prayer: “Wow.” And cultivating a prayerful sense of awe at the stunning beauty of the universe is another spiritual practice about which many religious progressives can agree. … [Read more...]

“Help, Thanks, Wow,” Part 2 of 3


This post is the second in a series of three posts inspired by Anne Lamott's book Help, Thanks, Wow The second of Lamott’s “three essential prayers” is thanks. Religious progressives find ourselves on more universally safe ground here on the value of expressing gratitude. As the 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank You,’ that would suffice.” And choosing to emphasize the positive and focus on the good parts of your life can be transf … [Read more...]

“Help, Thanks, Wow,” Part 1 of 3


This post is the first in a series of three posts inspired by Anne Lamott's book Help, Thanks, Wow Anne Lamott is a social justice activist and bestselling author, known for her autobiographical books. I first encountered her through a book she published more than a decade ago titled Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, which helped establish her reputation as a provocative and hilarious writer on spirituality. From that book, one of the lines that resonated most with me was her c … [Read more...]

Why Jung Threw the Yijing (or I Ching) and Why Might You?

This year the Chinese New Year will begin on what we call January 31st on our Gregorian (or “Western”) calendar. And when I was considering a good date to explore both the history and potential contemporary meaning of the I Ching, one of China’s contributions to the classics of world religious literature, a time close to the Chinese New Year seemed auspicious. And when considering criteria such as “longevity, domestic significance, and global spread,” scholars rank the I Ching in the same league … [Read more...]

Protesting as Prayer & Life as a Work of Art: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Second of Unitarian Universalism's Six Sources is “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” In that spirit, I want to share some stories about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972).Rabbi Heschel was one of the great prophetic figures of the twentieth-century. To many observers, it was as if one of the biblical prophets had been reborn in our own day. Instead of … [Read more...]

If You Eat at Restaurants, a Look “Behind the Kitchen Door”

Behind the Kitchen

Sara Jayaraman’s book Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013) is this year’s Unitarian Universalist Association Common Read, a book chosen annually for all UUs to read, discuss, and potentially act on. The book is dedicated “To the more than 10 million restaurant workers nationwide, who struggle daily to feed us.” I recommend this important book as well to all who eat in restaurants and care about the fair treatment of restaurant workers.And early on the author tells the stor … [Read more...]

What Is Yours (Not) To Do?


Two of my favorite quotes have been coming to mind recently as I reflect on the fresh start of a new calendar year. The first quote is from the Roman Catholic monk Thomas Merton, who was both a contemplative, cloistered in a monastery, and an activist, heavily involved in corresponding and meeting in person with those at the forefront of creating social change in the 1960s. In his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander: There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist...most … [Read more...]

The Promise and Perils of More Yoga in the New Year


My primary new year's resolution for 2014 is "do more yoga." Periodically over the last decade, I've done a fair amount of yoga, primary Ashtanga, which is one of the more athletic forms of yoga, usually done in heated room, and (to oversimplify) keeps a flow by inserting sun salutations in between poses. Part of why I'm drawn to yoga is that it is a both a meditative exercise and an embodied spirituality that gets me out of my head. It is also a great counterbalance to my running … [Read more...]

Slowing Down for the Holidays

present shock

The word“holiday,” it turns out, is a conflation of the words “holy” and “day.”You can see the root words visually, of course, by simply turning the “i” in holiday into a “y.” And, indeed, the original intention of a holiday is to celebrate a holy day,a day “set apart” from our normal routine. And at its best, holidays can be a form of sacred time.Holidays have the potential to be sacramental holy days that reconnect us with the Sacred, the Divine, or the Holy (as we understand and experience … [Read more...]

Best of 2013: Books, Music, Film, and More

The following is a compilation of my recent “Top 10″ and “Best of” posts for 2013. Enjoy! Top 10 Best Books Read in 2013  Top 10 Best Albums Listened to in 2013 Top 10 “Netflix Instant” Streamed in 2013 Best Netflix DVDs Watched in 2013 Best Podcasts of 2013  Happy holidays to you and yours! Related Posts 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 Theological Seminary, and the minister of the  … [Read more...]