DREAMING OUR FATHERS Norbert Capek & the Unitarian Universalist Flower Communion

DREAMING OUR FATHERS Norbert Capek and the Unitarian Universalist Flower CommunionJames Ishmael Ford18 June 2017 Unitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaA StoryNorbert Capek was born in Bohemia, in what is today the Czech Republic in 1870. He was raised Catholic. But following a religious exploration he became a Baptist minister. Norbert was a social activist and realizing the governmental authorities had begun to investigate him, he and his wife and their children … [Read more...]

(Zen) Buddhism and the Unitarian Universalists

While rummaging around my blog, I stumbled upon this paper I delivered back in 2014. It's about some details of the meeting between Buddhism, really mostly the meeting of Zen Buddhism and Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists. I consider it an important subject. It certainly has been in my life.A MEETING OF THE WATERSA Preliminary Report from the Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist EncounterA Paper Delivered at the Fraters of the Wayside Inn Sudbury, Massachusetts27 January … [Read more...]

COME, HOLY SPIRIT, COME! A Universalist Meditation for Pentecost

COME, HOLY SPIRIT, COME!A Universalist Meditation for PentecostJames Ishmael Ford4 June 2017 Unitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaOne of the lovelier things that can happen for a writer is when something they’ve composed takes on a life of it’s own. In my Unitarian Universalist life this has in fact happened twice. Maybe twenty years ago I wrote a little piece called “An Invitation to Western Buddhists.” It was basically a suggestion that convert Buddhists who wer … [Read more...]

Thomas Jefferson, America’s Second Unitarian President. Sort of…

Thomas Jefferson was born on this day, the 13th of April, 1743 at the family estate in Virginia.In my circles there is an ongoing debate as to whether Thomas Jefferson was a Unitarian. Actually the short answer is simple enough. Yes. However, a slightly longer answer is yes and no.Jefferson's theology was a mix of deism and Unitarianism and he declared in a letter written late in life that if there were a Unitarian church in Virginia, he would be a member. That said, Jefferson had been … [Read more...]

Ah… And, a Blessed Darwin Day to You!

One of my favorite koans, those Zen presentations of reality and invitations into the fullness of our hearts and minds is gathered as case twenty in the twelfth century Chinese anthology the Book of Serenity.The monk Fayan visited Master Dizang who asked the young student of the way, “Where have you come from?” Fayen replied, “I wander from here to there on my pilgrimage.” The master asked, “What is the point of your pilgrimage?” Fayan answered, “I don’t know.” Master Dizang replied, “Not kno … [Read more...]

BENDING TOWARD JUSTICE Theodore Parker’s Religion, and Ours

BENDING TOWARD JUSTICE Theodore Parker's Religion, and OursJames Ishmael FordA Sermon5 February 2017 Unitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaTheodore Parker was born on the family farm in Lexington, Massachusetts, on August the 24th, 1810. His paternal grandfather, John, was in command of the Minutemen on that day thirty-five years earlier. When the Minutemen confronted the British regulars, he declared, “If they mean to have war, let it begin here.” And there it … [Read more...]

Recalling John Biddle, Unitarian Saint and Martyr

One of those memories I treasure for the years I served at the First Unitarian Society in Newton, Massachusetts, was the pulpit. I was always careful when speaking of the church and various things about it to say "our," after all it was our church. But, I always said, "my" pulpit. Even though I held it in trust, it had been presented to me within that trust and it was "mine" for eight years.As an object it was a wonder to behold. Among the delights of the thing were the carved figures that … [Read more...]