A Briefest Thought About Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Today Jimmy Carter announced that the cancer he had spoken of in the past few days has in fact spread to his brain. It seems hard to believe he will live much longer. And so I find myself thinking of him...By most ways of counting Jimmy Carter was not a very successful president. Although it needs to be noted that America didn't enter into any armed conflicts during his tenure. The only American military who died beyond the ordinary accidents of life, were the eight tragically killed during … [Read more...]

On Being Required to Bring a Bible to a Workshop: A Small Meditation, Or, Perhaps, a Tiny Rant

hogarth preacher 1

I was just reading instructions for an upcoming training I will be attending, a condition of employment as an interim minister. The instructions included a requirement that we bring a Bible, or at the very least be prepared to grab a Gideon at the hotel. It will be used.A principal aspect of my spiritual discipline is to watch my reactions. In that moment as I read about bringing a Bible I felt a small flare of annoyance. Now, for those unfamiliar, I am a minister within the Unitarian … [Read more...]

An Outlaw is Killed, a Song is Born

John Wesley Hardin

As it happens it was on this day in 1895 that frontier outlaw and admitted mass murderer John Wesley Hardin was shot in an El Paso saloon. That kind of ends this blog entry's connection to the historic Mr Hardin.A bunch of years later in 1967 Bob Dylan, who had a long time interest in outlaw cowboys composed a song that, admittedly was only directly connected to Hardin through the rhythm of his name, becoming the enigmatic but haunting John Wesley Harding.For me, at least in part, the … [Read more...]

Feeding a Cold: In Quest of the Perfect Recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup


"And Tom brought him chicken soup until he wanted to kill him. The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is no bad thing to have for the funeral either." John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath.(My vegan and vegetarian friends may wish to avert their eyes from the following. I promise to return to my generally vegan, well certianly vegetarian friendly prose in due course...)Sadly, all is not peaches and … [Read more...]

So, Hurray for Miracles


The good folk at Wikipedia inform me that Vietnamese Catholics celebrate today to mark an apparition of Mary in late Eighteenth century Vietnam. As is not uncommon, the appearance occurred during hard times, in this case in a period of persecution against Vietnamese Catholics.Divine eruptions into the world, or, more baldly, stories of breaking the rules of nature as evidence of some holy principal seem to be as old as human beings. Certainly as old as human beings writing things down. I … [Read more...]

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


After a couple of sneak previews, it was on this day in 1939 that the Wizard of Oz officially opened at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Roger Ebert wrote, "'The Wizard of Oz' has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects and excitement, but we still watch it six decades later because its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them." Given that the film was released in 1939 when the world was already … [Read more...]

Rocky Turns Thirty-Nine


It was on this day in 1975 that the Rocky Horror Picture Show opened in London. … [Read more...]

Servetus is Arrested

Michael Servetus

It was on this day in 1553 that Michael Servetus was arrested in Geneva, by order of John Calvin.Servetus was a Spaniard who made his living first as a lawyer and later as a physician. He also thought deeply about the theological questions of his day.In his youth he traveled to Rome where he was appalled at the state of the papacy. This fired his decision to examine the scriptures with a lawyerly eye. From that examination he came up with a theological reflection that while not actually … [Read more...]

Margaret Burbidge Tells Us We are All Stardust

margaret burbidge jpg

Eleanor Margaret Peachey was born on this day in 1919, in Davenport, Greater Manchester, England, turning 96.She is better known by her married name Margaret Burbidge. She studied astronomy at University College, London, earning her bachelors in 1939 and her doctorate in 1943. She and her husband George, also a theoretical astrophysicist, worked as a team.The lists of her awards is very long. Among her accomplishments are many firsts for women in science.She, George, William Alfred … [Read more...]

Happy birthday, world!

Earth from the Moon

Thanks to James Ussher, late archbishop of Armagh and Anglican Primate of all Ireland, even the bums in the street know that the world was created sometime in the neighborhood of six p.m. on the 22nd of October four thousand and four years before the birth of Jesus.What may shock some is that there are in fact other dates also marking the creation of the earth. In fact according to the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, better known in some circles as the Mayan Long Count calendar, the world … [Read more...]