“Unsanctifying Human Life”: Wrestling with Peter Singer’s Ethics


Our human population has septupled (increased sevenfold) in a mere two centuries — from approximately 1 billion in 1800 to more than 7 billion today. The resulting environmental impact of our species is jeopardizing the entire planet’s climate. We have not, however, always been aware of our potential to have a cataclysmic effect on Earth. As Elizabeth Kolbert wrote about in her Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sixth Extinction, prior to fossil discoveries in the 1700s, we humans didn’t know that a … [Read more...]

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


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...]

Tectonic Shifts in the Global Religious Landscape since WWI


The Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism set a high bar. To list only a few examples:the inherent worth and dignity of every person; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence.One of the reasons for such high goals is that many of the theological ancestors of contemporary UUs had an optimistic view of human potential. Whereas some theological conservatives preached a pessimistic view of human na … [Read more...]

Why Does Unitarian Universalism Have Such a Long Name?


This post is the final entry in a four-part series on Unitarian  Universalist history. In part one, I explored the question, “Why Unitarianism?” The Unitarian half  of Unitarian Universalism emerged out of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, and has roots stretching back to the beginning of the Jewish and Christian traditions. And, in short, my answer to “Why Unitarianism?” is that its foundation in six diverse sources makes it a religious movement that is particularly suited for the plural … [Read more...]

Why Unitarianism?

This post is the first in a two-part series reflecting on Unitarian Universalism. Next week, I plan to write about "Why Universalism?" For me, the move from Liberal Christianity to Unitarianism Universalism has been an important paradigm shift in our multi-religious, multi-polar, postmodern world. Before the advent of modern technology, which has made us increasingly globalized and interconnected, it was easier to justify a belief that there is One, Unchanging, Right Way of Believing and Being … [Read more...]

Evolutionary Religion


A tradition has arisen in many progressive congregations of having a worship service near Charles Darwin’s birthday (February 12) with an annual focus on the ways that evolution impacts, influences, and informs the practice of religion in the twenty-first century. A related tradition around Darwin’s birthday is an annual surge in “Religion versus Science” stories across all forms of media. For the most part, these “Religion versus Science” debates produce more heat than light.The most promine … [Read more...]