Why a Little Biblical Literacy Might be a Good Thing

Could avoid a few embarrassing moments, at the very least. Such as, perhaps, not purchasing this tile. Or, at least, if you do, know what you're getting yourself into... … [Read more...]

Finding Your Sacred Book

I remember a select little group with which we traveled and camped together for some days; this group had undertaken to liberate some captive League brothers and the Princess Isabella from the hands of the Moors. It was said that they were in possession of Hugo's horn, and among them were my friends the poet Lauscher and the artists Klingsor and Paul Klee; they spoke of nothing else but Africa and the captured princess, and their Bible was the book of the deeds of Don Quixote, in whose honor … [Read more...]

Such is Life: Ned Kelly is Shot & Arrested

It was on this day in 1880 that Ned Kelley, an Australian bushranger, or outlaw who had in his life captured the public imagination as one unjustly persecuted and driven into outlawry was captured. The capture itself was momentous, as Kelly and his gang were dressed in home made armor. His associates were all killed, he was captured, was tried, convicted, and hung.His last words are reputed to be, "Such is life."I find some interesting parallels to the stores my grandmother told of the … [Read more...]

Independence Day: Resurgence: Bad Movie. Liked It.

Yesterday Jan & I went to see Independence Day: Resurgence. We knew it was supposed to be a bad movie. Of the one hundred and twenty-five professional reviewers counted on Rotten Tomatoes only thirty-four percent liked it. And, indeed, it is a bad movie.But, the flaw in the reviews could, to my mind, be found in Rotten Tomatoes’ “critics consensus.” “It's undeniably visually impressive, but like its predecessor, Independence Day: Resurgence lacks enough emotional heft to support its end-of- … [Read more...]

En the Ascetic is Banished

Way back when I was first studying Zen in the San Francisco Bay Area I met the leader of a group called the Kalias Shugendo. If even if a fraction of his claims were true, he led an amazing life. Of course, it has occurred to me that he could have been a fabulist start to finish. Even in those days when I tended to believe anything anyone claimed about themselves, he felt a little off. For example I noticed all his references to being in Tibet, along with allusions to connections to the CIA, and … [Read more...]

TAPROOTS FOR A NEW UNIVERSALISM Zen Buddhism & Unitarian Universalism, Encounter, Conflict, New Visions

TAPROOTS FOR A NEW UNIVERSALISM Zen Buddhism & Unitarian Universalism, Encounter, Conflict, New VisionsJames Ishmael Ford24 June 2016Delivered as the Conrad Wright Annual Lecture Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society At the 2016 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, Columbus, OhioI never tire of telling this story.In 1844, a chapter from the Sadharmapundarika-sutra, the seminal Mahayana Buddhist text the Lotus Sutra was published in the Boston … [Read more...]

Love: A Zen Meditation

I've been thinking a lot about love of late.I recall an etymological dictionary that suggested the distant ancestor of love was "lub," a word meaning desire. It kind of works, don't you think? Of course desire is a dangerous thing, a variation on the very thing that old Gautama Siddhartha marked out as the cardinal cognitive error in human consciousness - grasping, specifically grasping after that which is in motion as if it were permanent. A fool's chase that ends, always, in grief.At … [Read more...]

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered: Or, the Perfect Curse for an Author

A few days ago Facebook offered for my consideration and possible reposting a picture from a couple of years ago. What I'm pretty sure the robot that picked it out was unaware of was that it was taken of a stack of copies of a book I'd written that was now being remaindered.If you're unaware of the term, Wikipedia explains. "Remaindered books are printed books that are no longer selling well and whose remaining unsold copies are liquidated by the publisher at greatly reduced prices." For an … [Read more...]

And Yet it Moves: the Poetry of Reality

As it happens, it was on this day in 1633 that Galileo Galilei, threatened with torture and worse hanging in the air formally recanted his heretical view that the earth circled the sun.Legend has it that after his formal recantation, which earned him the mercy of a life-time of house arrest instead of the rack and hot irons, he was said to have muttered, "And yet it moves."That is the interesting thing about science. It is concerned with things that happen whether one believes in them … [Read more...]

Reinhold Niebuhr Steps onto the Stage

Reinhold Niebuhr was born on this day in 1892. He and his brother H. Richard Niebuhr would become two of the most significant of American Protestant thinkers, whose influence extended deeply into our culture. Speaking of the birthday boy, I think more for the good than ill, although it could be and is argued otherwise. I would add they had a sister, Hulda Niebuhr who would also become a professor of religious education, mostly at the Presbyterian McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. … [Read more...]