Enter Rosie the Riveter

As it happens it was seventy-four years ago on this day, the 29th of May, in 1943, that Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. A bunch of years later it would inspire this sermon... A MEDITATION ON ROSIE THE RIVETERThe Divine Feminine and Liberal Religion and a Vision for a New World8 November 2009James Ishmael FordFirst Unitarian ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandTextThe spirit of God has sent me to bring good news … [Read more...]

Zen for Humans

A while back I posted on my blog a note about the anniversary of the convening of the council now called Nicea I. I opined how this could be seen as the end of the glorious mess that was early Christianity as the emperor Constantine began to remake the Christian church in his own image.One of the commentators at the blog opined that he saw some parallels between this and the creation of an organization of Soto Zen clergy in the United States. I tried to respond. But, I found my words were … [Read more...]

Tony Hillerman, He Who is Afraid of His Horse, is Born

It was a delight to notice that today is the birthday of Anthony Grove "Tony" Hillerman. Tony Hillerman is, of course, the author of the renowned Navajo Nation Police mysteries.Only two days ago I finished Song of the Lion, his daughter Anne's third installment of her continuation of his mysteries featuring Navajo police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee - now also including Bernadette Manuelito as a major character.Personally I feel Anne Hillerman, with Song of the Lion, her third … [Read more...]

William Flees the Pope & the Razor is Sharpened

"It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."Bertrand RussellIt was on this day in 1328 that the minister general of the Franciscan order and three other friars, including William of Occam, fled the papal court at Avignon. They were reasonably confident if they stayed they would be condemned as heretics and executed at the order of the pope.As it turned out that feared condemnation indeed followed, but … [Read more...]

My Heart Sutra: A Zen Teacher Reflects on the Spiritual Life

My Heart SutraWhen the heart of compassion walked through the gate of wisdom, she looked into the body of the world and each of us, seeing each of us and the world itself is boundless. And with this all suffering vanished.Dear one, all things are boundless; the boundless is nothing other than all things. Everything in itself is boundless; Boundlessness is all things. This is true of us and our feelings, experiences, and consciousness itself.Dear one, the stuff of the world is … [Read more...]

Recalling A. Durwood Foster

I’ve just received a communication from the Pacific School of Religion announcing the death of Professor Emeritus A. Durwood Foster.Writing for the school, Dr David Vasquez-Levy briefly outlines Professor Foster’s teaching career. He was “An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Foster was a graduate of Emory University and Union Theological Seminary. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar at Heidelberg, and was a visiting scholar at Gottingen, Columbia, Basel, Berlin, and Oxfo … [Read more...]

The Judgment of Paris

Hard to believe it was forty-one years ago.But, it was, on this day in 1976 at a Parisian wine competition, where renowned French wine judges were blindfolded and after sipping various vintages, declared several California wines among the best in the world.That moment has become known as the Judgment of Paris.And the world and California has never been the same... … [Read more...]

The People’s Palace: Hurray for the New York Public Library!

John Jacob Astor died in 1848. He dedicated a cool four hundred thousand dollars, estimated at about eleven million in today's dollars, to construct a library in New York's East Village. Other libraries were founded in the years that followed. The Lenox was funded by the state in 1870. It would become an amazing archive, including in its collections a fabled Gutenberg Bible. Finally in 1886 Samuel J. Tilden bequeathed the bulk of a nearly two and a half million dollar estate, roughly sixty four … [Read more...]

My Television Life

I am in some genuine ways a product of the dawn of television. I know this is generally considered a bad thing. And there is no doubt it brought with it a bucketful of difficulties. It was also something magical. I believe television was critical in knitting the country together. And, I guess, later in helping to unravel any false sense of ours being any kind of mono-cultural nation.We were poor people so we weren’t the first to get television sets. But, also as poor people we didn’t budget p … [Read more...]

A RAINBOW RELIGION: Or, Why Pride Day is a Unitarian Universalist Holy Day

A RAINBOW RELIGIONOr, Why Pride Day is a Unitarian Universalist Holy DayJames Ishmael Ford21 May 2017 Unitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaIf you wonder whether you’re an introvert or extravert, I have a small thought experiment that can clarify the matter for you. Simply ask yourself what you think of bed and breakfasts? If you like them, you’re an extravert. You may think you’re an introvert, but you’re not. Me, on the other hand, I draw up just short of rat … [Read more...]