I’d Rather Be in Philadelphia: Thinking About Death

William Claude Dukenfield was born on this day in 1880. He is, of course, better known as W. C. Fields. He started out as a juggler and traveled internationally with a comic mime act. Returning to the states Fields' quick wit became the basis for a monologue that accompanied his juggling. In 1915 he made his first short film. From there Fields began his famous career as a charming rogue and almost, but never quite buffoon. He was featured in some thirty-four films and numerous shorts. The one … [Read more...]


Well, after several false starts, Jan & auntie & I finally saw Atonement last night. Jan had already read the book. And she had warned us it has a sad ending. Then an hour or so before seeing the movie a friend suggested as I go in to the theater to recall that line from Truman Capote, which goes something along the lines of "The only unforgivable sin is betrayal." Of course I delighted in such a layered saying, coming as it does from someone for whom betrayal was stock in trade. … [Read more...]

Sunday Afternoon

Well, I guess this proves it is not good to have a little time on one's hands. Thinking, wow, a free hour! I'd been meaning to reformat the blog a bit. And now, several hours later, I have. Hope you like it.In the process I lost all my blog links!. Never was very mechanically minded. As you might notice I've tried to restore them. In the process I've put a few up I've been meaning to for a while, but fear I've lost some I really like...I've also decided to go commercial. At least I've gone so … [Read more...]

Just Sitting

Off for a day long sit with our Zen sangha in Worcester.Probably all for the best, considering the old Zen saying "Once you open you mouth, already you're wrong..."Of course that's never slowed me down.So, more anon... … [Read more...]


This is K. D. Lang's beautiful interpretation of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. (Thank you, Charlie!) For those who notice such things, this is the third version to grace this blog...And thanks to Ms Kitty, here are the words."Hallelujah" by Leonard CohenNow I've heard there was a secret chordThat David played, and it pleased the LordBut you don't really care for music, do ya?It goes like this,The fourth, the fifth,The minor fall, the major liftThe baffled king composing … [Read more...]

Worship in the Liberal Church: A Challenge to Ministers

The following letter was written by Thomas Schade, minister at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, and published on the Unitarian Universalist Minister's chat. I found it very compelling and believed it should have a wider reading. So, with Tom's permission, here it is.My Beloved Colleagues,When will we start correlating the theories that we espouse about the religious life and the condition in which we find our churches and congregations?On the one hand, our worship life is … [Read more...]

It Was Said

I guess, based upon how often I cite it, Thomas Merton's little volume Wisdom of the Desert: Some Sayings of the Desert Fathers must be one of my most important spiritual books. Here's another anecdote from ancient Egypt.It was said of one of the elders that he persevered in a fast of seventy weeks, eating only once a week. This elder asked God to reveal to him the meaning of a certain Scripture text, and God would not reveal it to him. So he said to himself: Look at the work I have done without … [Read more...]

The Task

As if god were an old manalways upstairs, sitting aboutin sleeveless undershirt, asleep,arms folded, stomach rumbling,his breath from open mouothstr4ident, presaging death...No, God's in the wilderness next door- that huge tundra room, no walls and a sky roof -busy at the loom. Among the berry bushes,rain or shine, that loud clacking and whirring.irregular but continuous;God is absorbed in work, and hearsthe spacious hum of bees, not the din,and hears far-offour screams. Perhapslistens for … [Read more...]

Unitairan Universalism: A Primer for Nonbelievers

Not long ago I was sucked into a bit of a conversation about atheism based on some comments I made on this blog. If you're interested in that you need only scroll down a ways. My interlocutor goes by the nom de web "dr rieux." I found him a delightful and thoughtful Unitarian Universalist of the humanist atheist stripe, who by his rigor and heart witnessed how that branch of our little band has not lost its juice.While noodling around to see what else he has written I found his introduction to … [Read more...]


Leonard Cohen's wisdom, this time sung by Allison CroweI think I want this sung at my funeral. … [Read more...]