JULIA & SAMUEL A Meditation on Liberal Religion in an Age of Crisis

JULIA & SAMUEL A Meditation on Liberal Religion in an Age of CrisisJames Ishmael Ford19 October 2014First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandTextI went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, 'I must get up and write these … [Read more...]

Time To Observe International Necktie Day

beau brummell

Most of my male friend decry the very idea of the tie. "The symbol of my subjection to the Man," moans one friend. Me, I've always liked ties. In addition to my regular collection, I have bow ties, and even a nice little stash of bola ties from my days in our great American Southwest, waiting patiently until I age into (I believe the line is 80) being allowed to wear 'em outside of Arizona or New Mexico.My feeling has been the tie is about the only article of clothing in a man's wardrobe … [Read more...]

Empty Sky Jukai

Empty Sky jukai class

This weekend Jan and I visited with our old friend Zen Dharma Holder Doug Phillips and his sangha where thirteen people received jukai near the end of a three day sesshin with the Empty Sky Sangha, dharma companions of the Boundless Way network. What a great crowd! What a delight. The Dharma is doing just fine in old Connecticut... … [Read more...]

IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD, AND ONE OF ANOTHER A Meditation on Covenant as Spiritual Practice Among Unitarian Universalist Congregations

mayflower compact

IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD, AND ONE OF ANOTHERA Meditation on Covenant as Spiritual Practice Among Unitarian Universalist CongregationsJames Ishmael Ford12 October 2014 First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandText…

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and ad … [Read more...]

Roger is Convicted

roger williams

After annoying everyone for a lot of reasons for a long time, not least of which his insistence that there should be an absolute freedom of religious conscience and therefore an absolute separation between state and church, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts convicted him of sedition and heresy and ordered his banishment.The state of Rhode Island which he would found in his exile wishes to thank the great commonwealth of Massachusetts.Turns out freedom of religion is a pretty … [Read more...]

Celebrating Those Adventurers of the Heart


Thor Heyerdahl would have been one hundred years old today.And I'm glad to be able to celebrate my childhood hero. I was absolutely captured by his thesis of a Westward Polynesian colonization, and his famed raft Kon-Tiki through which he popularized his view and attempted to establish it as at least plausible.The Wikipedia article cites the mainstream of today's opinion about his thesis. The anthropolgist Robert Suggs is the harshest, asserting the "Kon-tiki theory is about as … [Read more...]



Saturday kicked off with the business meeting. It began with reports from our president Taihaku Priest, and our Administrative Coordinator Domyo Burk. As they were describing how the organization now counts something more than one hundred and fifty full members and, I admit I don’t recall the number but I think some fifty associates, it occurred to me that with its various problems North American Soto has achieved gender equity. Not only are Taihaku and Domyo both women, but as I looked out at t … [Read more...]

LOOKING OVER THE HORIZON: A Talk at the 2014 Soto Zen Buddhist Association Meeting

pilgrim seeing through

LOOKING OVER THE HORIZON A Talk at the 2014 Soto Zen Buddhist Association MeetingJames Myoun Ford Boundless Way ZenI was devastated to learn of Kyogen Carlson’s death in the days running up to the beginning of this gathering. An old and dear friend for me. And, of course, Gyokuko’s long beloved husband. Such a loss. And, truthfully, a loss for all of us here. There’s a reason Kyogen’s portrait has been placed here near the podium where we are conducting most of the business of this gath … [Read more...]


great vow sign

While compared to two weeks ago, I feel great, I continue to have enough discomfort in my lungs that I am careful and do miss some of the program at the retreat, driving up the hill and arriving just before nine a.m. local time, and returning to the motel right after dinner, about seven thirty in the evening. This includes missing the morning sit and breakfast, as well as the evening programs. In the morning, while I awake about the same time as they do up on the mountain, I’m moving at a slower … [Read more...]



I continue to function a tad less than optimal, tiring a bit more easily and in particular it still hurts a little if I try to take a deep breath. That said, still, a vast improvement over last week. I’m also grateful for staying in a motel at the foot of the mountain and driving up and returning after dinner rather than staying for the evening programming.Thursday morning kicked off with brief statements of welcome and some logistical details, sort of the usual for conferences of every s … [Read more...]