The Birth of the Universalist Church

John Murray

It was on this day in 1793 that "ministers, elders and messengers" from Universalist churches & societies in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York who had joined together in Oxford, Massachusetts at a convention moderated by the Reverend John Murray, voted to create the first General Convention of the Universalist Societies in the United States.The Universalist Church of America consolidated with the American Unitarian Association in 1961 forming the … [Read more...]

Embracing a New Universalism

universalism picture uu world

Embracing a new universalismWe find our completeness in knowing that we are woven out of each other and the cosmos itself. By James Ishmael FordThe spiritual tradition of Unitarian Universalism is rich. We are children of the West, heirs to the biblical traditions of Judaism and especially of Christianity. Just as truly, we are profoundly marked by the wisdom traditions of Athens and by earth-centered spiritualities. Because of our radical openness to both theism and nontheism, first … [Read more...]

We’re All Broken. And, a bit of What to Do About It.

Inaugural Preparations Around DC Ramp Up Days Away From Obama's Swearing-In

The violinist Itzhak Perlman was born on this day in 1945.One of the more beautiful memories I have of my years out here in New England is a time Jan and I and several friends were at Tanglewood and I got to see and hear the master in person.And both of these things, my memory of Tanglewood and the fact this is Perlman's birthday reminds me of that inspirational, but sadly, also, apocryphal story of Perlman losing one string while on stage, but continuing on perfectly. Snopes traces the … [Read more...]

The Passion of Emmett Till


It was on this day in 1955 that fourteen year old African American Emmett Till was brutally tortured and murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman in Mississippi. Pictures of what they did to the boy are available through a simple google search.The horror was magnified when an all white, all male jury acquitted the perpetrators, and we know they were because they later admitted it to Look Magazine.All of this was so terrible and at the same time so consistent with the … [Read more...]

Good Morning, Baltimore


Just, well, just 'cause... … [Read more...]

Tangling in the Vine of Obstacles

Dosho Port walking

There is, and appropriately so, a great interest in living into the Dharma through the interwebs. Lots going on. Many people offering what they have to offer. And, of course, people should be wary and careful. The web is wide open. Anyone with a computer and a modem... So, pirates and frauds. People with more notions than skills. And, credentialed guides with differing skill sets. All equally far and equally near.The one spot I consistently recommend people looking for access to the Zen … [Read more...]

The Great Moon Hoax

great moon hoax

On this day in 1835 the New York newspaper, The Sun, began a series of six articles that reported the discovery of a civilization on the moon by the renowned astronomer Sir John Herschel.While the true authorship has never been conclusively determined, and various names have been floated, as well as co-conspirators, in all likelihood it was the work of an English journalist Richard Adams Locke.Puts contemporary Facebook hoaxes to shame...And, interestingly, sufficiently spectacular … [Read more...]

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM: A Brief Meditation on “Yangshan’s Sermon From the Third Seat”

pilgrim seeing through

I have a friend who is an old Zen hand. Okay, lots of my friends are old Zen hands. This one has been engaged in the project for several decades, sat with most of the prominent teachers of our time, and has in fact completed the formal Harada Yasutani curriculum with one of them.He and I are visiting the cases from the beginning one more time. It's a leisurely affair, where we touch on the traditional points but we also use the cases as spring boards to discuss those often important aspects … [Read more...]

Teddy Gets a Ride

Theodore Roosevelt in Car

I read on Wikipedia that it was on this day in 1902 that Theodore Roosevelt was the first president of the United States to take a ride in an automobile.Digging a bit deeper I see that in fact that honor goes to William McKinley, who took his ride in a Stanley Steamer in 1900.What Roosevelt did was use it for publicity purposes, as part of kicking off a public tour of New England. He began it with this momentous ride in a government owned Stanley Steamer through Connecticut.I admit … [Read more...]

B. K. S. Iyengar Dies


I was driving into the office this morning when I learned from NPR that B. K. S. Iyengar died yesterday. He was ninety-five.Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar was born in 1918, and became one of the first of the modern teachers of Yoga in the West and remained until his death among the foremost of those teachers.Yoga in the west has been garnering some criticism for wandering rather far from its spiritual roots, and no doubt some of the criticism has been well earned. While he no … [Read more...]