The Feast of Barlaam & Josaphat, the Luminous Religion, & the Idea of a Buddhist Christian Church

Ss. Barlaam and Josaphat_2141_h480

The other day I was pleased to see my favorite gnostic church is establishing a congregation in the greater Los Angeles area. Among the things I like about them is that they at times, at least from certain angles look like they're trying to establish a Buddhist Christian church. A project I'm all for. I wish them well.From time to time I speak of my “physiology of faith.” I claim to have a Buddhist brain, a Christian heart, and a humanist stomach. My faith, my spirituality is informed by my d … [Read more...]

A Small Thanksgiving Day Afternoon Meditation

Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg

Our family thanksgiving gathering is actually going to be tomorrow at Jan's mom's home across the metroplex. Jan​ and I are the primary cooks. So, today has been largely about the kitchen.I'm doing one of those foolish things, cooking something for sharing without having done it before. The clan ranges from must have dead animal on the table three times a day to vegans. There have been tensions in the past. Jan's and my contribution is bridging all this as much as possible. So, one of three … [Read more...]

Among the Reasons America’s Only President To Never Serve as President, Didn’t…


Written by Benjamin Franklin in response to a call for scientific papers by the Royal Academy of Brussels. It does not, sadly, appear to have actually been submitted. Reproduced for academic purposes only...GENTLEMEN,I have perused your late mathematical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy, for the ensuing year, viz. “Une figure quelconque donnee, on demande d’y inscrire le plus grand nombre de fois possible une autre figure plus-petite quelconque, qui est aussi … [Read more...]

A Casablanca Thanksgiving


Due to the fact our American Thanksgiving is fixed to the fourth Thursday in November, the actual date floats around the last of the month. This year it coincides with the premiere of the 1942 film Casablanca, starring, as pretty much everyone on the globe knows, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Henries, and while he gets secondary billing, the show stealing Claude Rains. And, yes, a host of others deserving our recalling.As the Wikipedia article tells us "Although Casablanca was an … [Read more...]

A Prayer of Thanksgiving


First, that prayer."For the woman who came to my office with duct-taped slippers, clutching a bag that she said was once filled with gold, who then wrote out a check for Glide for one million dollars, saying that it's the least she can do for the place that feeds her. Lord, in your mercy." Karen Oliveto, Senior Pastor at Glide Memorial in San FranciscoPretty much all any of us can do in the face of goodness.Never earned.Can't be repaid.So, why not? A check for a million … [Read more...]

And a Blessed Evolution Day to You!


Some good news this year from the Pew Research Center for those who care about science and equally, about the long standing campaign against science, particularly biological science (okay climate science is right up there, as well) by organized fundamentalists of several religions, but mostly Christians. This with an assist in this country from a certain political party that has annoyed me sufficiently that I shall refrain from naming it here.Okay. That good news. About two thirds of … [Read more...]


A SONG OF THANKSGIVINGJames Ishmael Ford22 November 2015Pacific Unitarian Church Rancho Palos Verdes, CaliforniaI really love Thanksgiving. I mean I love the whole thing, soup to nuts. Well, that speaks to it, doesn’t it? Most of all I love the fact that the major focus is getting together with the family and eating. I just love the fact that Thanksgiving is about nothing so much as pleasure in the moments of our lives, respite in the rush and worry of existence. It is a c … [Read more...]

November 22nd. Pausing. Remembering.


Hard for me to believe it was fifty-two years ago. What a season of sadness. John, Martin, Malcom, Bobby. Shaped the rest of my life... … [Read more...]

A Big Fat Thumb’s Up for Jade Dragon Mountain

Jade Dragon Mountain

I've just finished Elsa Hart's debut mystery, Jade Dragon Mountain.Mystery queen Donna Leon blurbs it, "This debut historical mystery deftly combines ingenious plotting and suspense with a subtle understanding of China, its culture, and its people. The protagonist, Li Du, a librarian and intellectual, is well worth keeping an eye on."No doubt.For me pretty much everything I might want. China at the beginning of the eighteenth century. A librarian as hero. Jesuits. Representatives of … [Read more...]

Bilious Bale is Born

John Bale

John Bale, most of all a controversialist of the first water, hence the nickname "Bilious Bale," but also variously a Carmelite friar, an Anglican bishop, literary antiquarian, poet, and playwright, was born on this day in 1495.While his penchant for bile, scandalous parody, and outright denunciation spewed on the page threatens to overtake most everything else about him, the good bishop also wrote two editions of a catalog of the writers of Great Britain that are essential to the literary … [Read more...]