The Fellowship Movement

According to my handy This Day in Unitarian Universalist History today is the sixty-third anniversary of the establishment of the Fellowship Movement, one of the signal events in the development of liberal religious communities in North America.The article reads on this day in 1945 "The American Unitarian Association voted to establish fellowships, or lay-led groups. The fellowship movement encouraged individualism and in many cases stressed social commitment. Although many fellowships grew into … [Read more...]

Finding the Middle Way All Over the Place

This week has been a mad dash, starting with a return from a brief trip to California, and woven with the dying of a loved member of the congregation. Along the way I had to prepare for an evening conversation on Confucianism, which I was expected to know a little more about than the others present. I'm not sure I succeeded. But, I did find the subject rather more compelling than I thought I would.In particular I was taken with the text The Doctrine of the Mean. It's authorship is traditionally … [Read more...]

Salt Satyagraha

On this day in 1930, Mohandas Gandhi began his march to Dandi, beginning what has come to be called the Salt Satyagraha.This event could be seen as the moral turning point in the world court of public opinion for Gandhi's nonviolent campaign to win independence for the Indian people.It was also a concrete example of the great circle where Henry Thoreau’s nonviolent resistance, at least in part inspired Mohandas Gandhi, who in turn would inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.The video above is from the … [Read more...]

Variation on a Theme

I stumbled upon this the other day and thought it worth putting into my daybook. It echoes both the Obama presidential campaign, with its lovely defiance of the status quo, bubbling with hope for the human condition together with that pesky koan "Stop the distant temple bell," an invitation to explore boundaries, truth, and, very much who I am, and what I can be...Variation on a Theme by Rilke (The Book of Hours, Book 1, Poem 1, Stanza 1)by Denise LevertovA certain day became a presence to … [Read more...]

Remember James Reeb

On this day. … [Read more...]

Thinking About Universal Reconciliation

I notice how today is the feast of Gregory Nyssa. Brother to the bishop Basil and either brother of, or rather more likely husband of the deacon Theosebia. (Her story is worth following all by itself...) A Christian bishop, Gregory was a central figure in the evolution of the idea of God as a trinity, and so might be thought as an unlikely candidate for me to reflect on.  But, following Origin, he was also an early advocate of Apocatastasis. Apocatastasis is a Greek word meaning something along … [Read more...]

Another Version of the Heart Sutra

For my four hundreth posting, putting up another version of my favorite spiritual text seemed somehow particularly appropriate... … [Read more...]

A Taoist Gospel

Here are some parallel sayings from the Tao Te Ching and the Christian Gospels. They were compiled by Holmes Welch, using translations for the Tao Te Ching by Lin Yutang, except for two, as marked, from Arthur Waley, and the Bible in the King James version, for his study the Parting of the Way: Lao Tzu and the Taoist Movement (pages 5-6). While it is easy to complain there are long stretches here and whatever else might be true the cultural matrices that inform the sayings are too different to … [Read more...]

Omar Khayyam

I was looking at Google's history for today and saw that right near the beginning of the list how on this day in 1079, Omar Khayyam and other astronomers are traditionally said to have presented what has come to be called the Iranian or Persian calendar to the Sultan Jalaaldin Malik Shah I. For me just seeing his name fired a cascade of memories, particularly of my long gone youth, while working in Holmes Book Company in Oakland, California. Sitting on my lunch break, eating those terrible … [Read more...]

Living Authentically

LIVING AUTHENTICALLYA Sermon byJames Ishmael FordDelivered on the3rd of December 2000at the First Unitarian Society in Newton, MA(I was reviewing some past sermons when I stumbled upon this, written eight years ago. Generally I hate what I've written in the past, always hoping my next effort will finally be worth hearing. This seemed a bit better than most, although it would no doubt profit by being cut by about a quarter. That said, I thought it worth posting here...)The other day I was … [Read more...]