Archives for March 2012

Meditation 6: The Things We’ve Handed Down

I'm exhausted and wondering how the hell bloggers do it. We've had such a long day here in Los Angeles. An orientation session where we got to know fellow participants on this Spring Break Service Trip; then a long drive out to California Lutheran University where we packed hundreds of meals for the young people we'll be serving later this week at Safe Place for Youth (Cal Lutheran has become a hotbed of Humanism ever since MA native Evan Clark came out here, founded a Secular Student Alliance … [Read more...]

Meditation 5: Love After Love

There are some rare days where, thanks to good friends or good will or just good luck, or all of the above, you can be thousands of miles from home and yet feel you have arrived at a safe haven, a place where you can be completely yourself, and your best self at that.Spring Break, for the past couple of years, has been one of those times for me. Living in university communities for basically my entire adult life, this week has always been a bit of an oasis for me, usually a time to travel … [Read more...]

Meditation 4: Virtues in the Void

I had a great discussion of Humanism tonight with the Pomona Student Union, in an event the Pomona students decided to call "Virtues in the Void". I was so impressed with the depth of the questions the students asked.Here are several-- the last few in particular will be provocative for anyone who is trying to explore what it means to be good without god:The title of “Chaplain” is traditionally associated with a religious identity, yet as a Humanist chaplain you work with non … [Read more...]

The Wisdom of Balance

Recently I participated in a radio debate with Dr. PZ Myers, a popular blogger on science and atheism, on the topic of "How Should the Atheist Movement Talk About Religion?" Give the program a listen if you haven't yet. It's a worthwhile hour-- Myers is a passionate, articulate, and entertaining voice for atheism, and I enjoyed the give and take with him.A few things surprised me about this particular conversation. It was the first time I've engaged with PZ live and in public, and he … [Read more...]

Meditation 3: The Peace of Wild Things

Right now the Humanist Community Project is in the midst of a 3-day intensive training seminar. We're helping 18 students who want to work as Humanist celebrants, officiating at Humanist wedding, funeral, baby welcoming, and other ceremonies. There are very few training opportunities for such folks in the US today, despite the fact that it is hard, complicated (and ultimately extremely rewarding) work, for which there is a great demand. Hopefully programs like ours can help grow Humanist … [Read more...]

Meditation 2: Erich Fromm’s Faith in Humanist Ethics

The word "faith" is making the rounds in Humanist discussion circles for the bazillionth time this week. Here's a reading on ethics by one of my favorite Humanist philosophers-- Erich Fromm, another psychologist from the mid 20th century. Fromm had many, many inspiring things to say about the Humanist's pursuit of a meaningful life. (And BTW, unlike a lot of other influential secular thinkers, Fromm actually used the word Humanism throughout his work! Sometimes we Humanists underestimate the … [Read more...]

Meditation 1: Prometheus and Rollo May

For a first meditation, I figured what better than the myth of Prometheus, as interpreted by Rollo May, one of my favorite humanistic psychologists. Let's just dive into May's words, from his 1975 book The Courage to Create:In ancient Greek civilization, there is the myth of Prometheus, a Titan living on Mount Olympus, who saw that human beings were without fire. His stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humankind is taken henceforth by the Greeks as the beginning of … [Read more...]


I’m Greg. You may have heard of me through my job-- I work as the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University. Which means I’m used to being introduced in ways that can seem overly formal. So one of the reasons I’ve decided to start this blog is to create a space where I can share something of myself, less as a Humanist chaplain and more as...just a human.I was born in New York City in 1977, and grew up in Flushing, Queens, New York-- one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse … [Read more...]