The Day the Holy Spirit Came to the Unitarian Universalists

I've told this story a couple of times. And, it has come to have a bit of a life of its own. I've run across it reprinted mostly citing my authorship here and there over the years. This week I'm at the Russell Lockwood Unitarian Universalist Leadership School, helping out on faculty. I repeated it near the conclusion of my section on UU history. The response reminded me it might be time to share it again.So, here you go...On June 25, 1984, Unitarian Universalists from across the United … [Read more...]

john a powell on the Human Journey

At one of the workshops at the Unitarian Universalist Russell Lockwood Leadership School, where I am right now serving among the faculty, the Reverend Jan Christian cited something from an interview with john a powell (he prefers to use the lower case for his name) conducted by Krista Tippett.The interview concludes with Professor powell telling a story. Jan read that anecdote to us. Now I find I can't shake it. So, I rummaged around the web, found it, and, well, here it is.I went to … [Read more...]

Jah! Rastafari! A Song of Redemption

As anyone vaguely familiar with this blog is aware of, I am fascinated with religions. Love most all of 'em. And I particularly adore the minority faiths. Well, many of them.So, here we go. Another moment to celebrate Jamaica's gift to the world. 'Tis the Emperor Haile Selassie's birthday. He was born one hundred and twenty-four years ago. While not the founder, in fact he remained a Monophysite Orthodox Christian to the end, best anyone knows. And, I would add, another religion high on my … [Read more...]

I Am Your Voice. I Alone Can Fix This. Sure Looks Like Someone is Running for Dictator

I understand Mr Trump's acceptance speech was well received, at least according to the over night polls.I had a different experience.The text of Mr Trump's speech is resplendent with references to how he will fix things. He, Donald Trump, personally. He's John Wayne. He's Jim Stewart. He's the man on the white horse. He's not running to be president. He's running to be our dictator.He promises, give him the job, and he will do the job. That job is murky, mud dark. It has something … [Read more...]

A Feast for Carlos: Recalling Independent Catholic Archbishop Carlos Duarte Costa

Normally in Christian denominations, a significant figure is recalled on the anniversary of their death. Here, is an exception.Carlos Duarte Costa was born on this day in 1888. He was a prominent Brazilian Roman Catholic clergyman, eventually Bishop of Botucatu. He crossed those higher in the ranks challenging clerical corruption and clerical celibacy. And, was eventually excommunicated by Pope Pius XII. (Himself controversial for his dealings with the Nazi regime during the second world … [Read more...]

And the Freeway Comes to California

As it happens it was on this day in 1940 that the Pasadena Freeway opened for traffic. A stretch of historic route 66, it ran between Los Angeles and Pasadena. It is in fact the first stretch of route 66, the great mother road of the country, to become a modern limited access highway.The Pasadena Freeway is generally considered the first freeway to come to the West and specifically to California. Now, technically, some would point out it is in fact a transitional construction between the … [Read more...]

Not One. Not Two. The Zen of Sister Elaine

I once had the honor of blurbing one of Sister Elaine's books, The Flowing Bridge: Guidance on Beginning Zen Koans. I wrote,“Who would have thought one of the most formidable Zen masters in the West would be a retired Roman Catholic nun living in Toronto?”Born in 1924 and a Juliard-trained violinist, Elaine joined the Canadian Catholic religious congregation Our Lady’s Missionaries in 1953. Sent to Japan in 1961 she received permission to enter a Rinzai Zen monastery where she studied f … [Read more...]

Contrary to What You May Have Heard, the New Ghostbusters is No Bust: Great Summer Entertainment

Yesterday, Jan & I went to see Ghostbusters.Bottom line, we left the theatre smiling.Ghostbusters is what Hollywood does best.Of course I was well aware of the controversies surrounding the reboot of the 1984 classic comedy. But, I noticed that much of the hubbub had nothing to do with whether the movie was good or fun or whatever. It was about how girls were taking over boy’s territory. I missed the worst of it, I gather. I don't wander too much into those corners of the interwebs. … [Read more...]

The Vermillion Thread, Through a Glass Darkly, & Amazing Grace: A Small Pointer on Zen Practice

Yesterday Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler, who with his brother Hondo Dave Rutschman, maintains the wonderful blog No Zen in the West posted a reflection on bias that I commend to anyone interested in the questions associated with the spiritual life, meaning, purpose, direction. That stuff.Jiryu takes a head on run at a pretty common Zen trope “seeing things as they are.” It is a rare Zen teacher who avoids it. Certainly it is part of my bag of tricks. Jiryu makes a flat out statement, no, no. No … [Read more...]

Mr Emerson Starts a Revolution

For most of America, Transcendentalism was a literary movement. However, in fact it was a theological and spiritual revolution within American Unitarianism and only incidentally a literary phenomenon. AS it is with movements of various sorts there are any number of moments that could be named the “beginning” of Transcendentalism. The 1836 publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Nature is probably the most common.However, I would suggest as Transcendentalism was never really about one perso … [Read more...]