Wishing all a Blessed Fordicidia!


No, this is not a holiday I invented for me... Among the ancient Romans, as I understand, the whole month of April was dedicated to the celebration of female deities in a season generally focused on fecundity... And Fordicidia, observed on the 15th of April, was among the oldest of these many rites of spring observed in Rome. It did include an unfortunate rite of sacrificing a pregnant cow to our Mother, the Earth. The Wikipedia article draws our attention to a Chinese spring ritual … [Read more...]

The Great Ambedkar


Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born on this day in 1891 … [Read more...]



SHAKING OFF OUR CHAINS A Passover Sermon James Ishmael Ford 13 April 2014 First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode Island Text
 They thought they were safe
 that spring night; when they daubed
 the doorways with sacrificial blood.
 To be sure, the angel of death
 passed them over, but for what? Forty years in the desert
 without a home, without a bed,
 following new laws to an unknown land.
 Easier to have died in Egypt
or stayed there a slave, … [Read more...]

My Physiology of Faith


Thank you for asking. I claim, with a tip of the hat to Erasmus, a physiology of faith. My brain is Buddhist, my heart is Christian, and my stomach is Humanist. It all comes together and makes me a Unitarian Universalist. I am convinced in large part of the Buddha's basic analysis of the human heart, that we are profoundly wounded by our delusion that we and those we love are permanent and our grasping at what is constantly changing as if it were permanent, like someone trying to … [Read more...]

Happy B’Day, Guitar Junior!

guitar junior

Today is Luther Johnson's birthday. Everyone should listen to some blues in his honor... … [Read more...]

Happy birthday, Sid!


Among followers of the Mahayana, the Great Way school of Buddhism, of which the Zen schools are a part, the Buddha's birth is traditionally celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The Japanese adopted April 8th in the Gregorian calendar in 1873 as a good enough alternative, and this date, today, has become the day most convert Buddhists in the West pause to note the birth of the great physician. Among scholars there is no serious doubt about the … [Read more...]

Mr Hobbes Takes the Stage

thomas hobbes

Thomas Hobbes was born on this day in 1588. Among other things he addressed questions on the rights of the individual and with that how any particular state is an artifact, not divinely ordained. Celeste Friend writing at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says Hobbes "argues, radically for his times, that political authority and obligation are based on the individual self-interests of members of society who are understood to be equal to one another, with no single individual … [Read more...]

The Reverend Mr Theodore Parker Goes on Trial

Theodore Parker

It was on this day in 1855 that Theodore Parker, Unitarian Transcendentalist minister was put on trial for inciting a riot. A well known abolitionist, and a member of the Secret Six, who fostered any number of fugitives and in response to threats from pro-slavery northerners was known to keep a pistol in his pulpit. He was principal among those who gathered to prevent the arrest and return to slavery of Ellen and William Craft. They succeeded, giving the Crafts time to flee abroad. Interestingly … [Read more...]

Guitar Boogie

arthur smith

Today is the feast of fools. It is also Arthur Smith's birthday. A fool for the guitar. And ain't we better off for it? … [Read more...]

Recalling John Donne, If Briefly


John Donne died on this day in 1631. Donne was variously a lawyer, member of parliament, a satirist, a womanizer, which, incidentally, in good part cost him his inheritance, a fortune he ran through with astonishing speed. He was also a reluctant Anglican priest and eventually dean of St Paul's Cathedral. He was also one of England's greatest poets. Somehow I find it delicious that he has a feast day in the Anglican calendar. We need, I suspect, a few more saints like him... … [Read more...]