A Brief Meditation on the Nation State


According to Wikipedia when on this day Aetheistan, who was king of England obtained a promise from Constantine II of Scotland that the Scotts would not join with the Vikings in their continues conflicts, one can argue the beginning of the formation of the United Kingdom. Doubly interesting as we race toward the September Scottish referendum on whether to continue within the United Kingdom. Not a bad moment to reflect, if just for a moment or two, on the nation state. I have to admit I'm … [Read more...]

Things Can Always Be Worse

burr hamilton duel

Actually, I can think of circumstances where things probably can't get worse, at least for the participants. It was on this day in 1804 that hostilities between Vice-President Aaron Burr and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton boiled over into a duel. Burr shot Hamilton who lingered for a day before dying. As I consider our current national political crisis with a gerrymandered House representing a minority and declining segment of American public opinion but for the time safely … [Read more...]

A Little Tiny Meditation on Holy Wars and the Human Heart

siege jerusalem

While I'm always just a little suspicious of dates that have passed through numerous cultures over a long period of time, some set today as the day in 1099 when a month and a day after the Crusader army arrived at Jerusalem, in response to a vision of a priest they marched in procession around the walls of the city. They made their way to the Mount of Olives where the mad monk Peter the Hermit preached, exhorting them to take the city. The assault would take place five days … [Read more...]

Jackie Robinson Seventy Years Ago, Today


It was on this day in 1944 that Lieutenant Jackie Robinson refused to go to the back of the bus. Wikipedia recounts the incident. "While awaiting results of hospital tests on the ankle he had injured in junior college, Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus. Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but after reaching the end of the line, … [Read more...]

A Pause to Note Liberation Day


Today, the great American holiday the Fourth of July is somewhat dampened on the Eastern coast of the country. Hurricane Arthur is in the midst of its lumber north toward Canada. Here in Mansfield, roughly a third of the way up from Providence heading north to Boston it is overcast. The rains are due in a couple of hours... On Facebook one of my friends, and one I like to think of in a genuinely friendly way even though, as best I recall we've never actually met in meatworld, is lamenting the … [Read more...]



TRYING RELIGION: EMBRACING THE NEW UNIVERSALISM A Meditation on the First & Seventh Principles of Unitarian Universalism as a Saving Message, Together With a Buddhist Midrash Delivered at the 2014 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly 28 June 2014 Providence, Rhode Island by James Ishmael Ford Senior Minister First Unitarian Church of Providence I’ve heard that the larger Unitarian Universalist Association is having some trouble with membership. We’ve always been a … [Read more...]

What If & What Is & a Big Thank You to the Universe

Jan & James in restaurant

One of the great time wasters is that little exercise called "what if." I know. I've wasted more than my share of those precious minutes racing down the hour glass of my life pondering what if. Usually it is a deeply personal enterprise. What if I hadn't done that? What if I had done that? What if? Then there are those big historical things. What if the Spanish armada had defeated the rag tag English fleet? And, then there's one of my favorites. I see that the Emperor Julian was … [Read more...]

Terasa Cooley, James Ishmael Ford, Unitarian Universalism, Love Reaches Out, General Assembly, & Providence’s WaterFire

terasa cooley

Terasa Cooley & James Ford being interviewed about Unitarian Universalism, General Assembly, and Providence's famous WaterFire. … [Read more...]

LOVE REACHES OUT A Meditation on the Small & Great Cycles of our Lives

pilgrim seeing through

LOVE REACHES OUT A Meditation on the Small and Great Cycles of our Lives James Ishmael Ford 22 June 2014 First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode Island I am deeply aware that starting the next time I stand in this pulpit, everything will be the last time I do it as the parish minister of this congregation. And, actually, the last time I do it as a parish minister. Water communion, Christmas, Amnesty International Letter Writing Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Maundy Thursday … [Read more...]

A Small Meditation on World Humanist Day


As of six ten this morning we have crossed into Summer! And, for the humanist community a day of celebration for rationalism and naturalism. Looks like a very good match to me. In the Unitarian Universalist world there is a tension between the theists and the humanists. In past decades when the humanists were in the ascendancy as a group they weren't always kind to the theists. Sadly, as the tables appear to have turned and theists appear to be in the majority, certainly among the younger … [Read more...]