May I Dwell in the Heart

A Sermon byJamesIshmaelFord26 August 2006First Unitarian SocietyWest Newton, MassachusettsTextThis is what should be doneBy one who is skilled in goodness,And who knows the path of peace:Let them be able and upright,Straightforward and gentle in speech.Humble and not conceited,Contented and easily satisfied.Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,Not proud and demanding in nature.Let them not do the slightest thingThat the wise would later … [Read more...]

A Classic in the Ongoing God Debate

I was poking about the blogosphere today when I ran into a reference at Hadifa Sofia's Never Say Never to Your Traveling Self to a transcript of an old BBC debate on whether God exists between Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell.As an admirer of both I immediately followed Hadifa's link to the debate. Russell's An Outline of Philosophy was a very important book early on for me. And Copleston's History of Philosophy as a larger exploration was, if possible, even more important for me as I … [Read more...]

Well, they said its all about Attitude

As many probably know a recent study revealed New Yorkers live longer than the national average. Punch Lines, a collection of timely quotes in the Boston Globe's Saturday "Sidekick" supplement cite Dean Johnston and Tony V's version of New York's positive thinking for longer life: "Yo, Death! I got your death right here! Take a walk, shadow of Darkness!" Not a bad mantra for those seeking that longer life, I'm sure... … [Read more...]

Random Ruminations at the End of Summer Holidays

This past Friday was fullness itself. Jan and I began the early afternoon with a trip to Fenway Park to watch, for the first time in our (admittedly limited) experience, the Red Sox beat another team. This was doubly wonderful as the tickets were rainchecks from the spring. This was a pretty inconvenient time for us and this bit of deliciousness came with a cost. As soon as the game ended we got out of the park as fast as possible and drove as quickly as we could safely do completely across the … [Read more...]

Telling Stories

Over at Making Chutney readers are asked what they think of the Christian story. It caught my imagination. I even threw in about two cents worth of observation, if not actually on point.It’s a worthy question, no doubt. It seems to me there’s a lot of thought going into “story” as a spiritual expression.I think looking at stories can be valuable. I suspect we in fact live and breathe and have our being within stories. I’m a believer in the assertion the human is the metaphor bearing animal and st … [Read more...]

Tasting Vinegar

Danny Fischer conducted an interview with me and posted it at his very interesting blog on Buddhist Chaplaincy. I thought both of my readers might find it worth a gawk... … [Read more...]

George Lakoff on American Politial Centrism

While I'm not generally inspired by critics of political moderation, I've found this an important reflection.No Center, No CentristsBy George Lakofft r u t h o u t Guest ContributorWednesday 15 August 2007"Centrism" is the creation of an inaccurate, self-serving metaphor, and it is time to bury it.There is no left-to-right linear spectrum in the American political life. There are two systems of values and modes of thought - call them progressive and conservative (or nurturant and strict, as I … [Read more...]

Unitarian Universalists seeking High Office

It's been quite a while since there's been a UU American president. Actually a U, if one squints one can count four Unitarians who've occupied the nation's highest elective office. And if at the same time one is squinting one turns their head to the side, five. The last, however, was William Howard Taft. Which might be why we've come up short on the list for a while...But now a Unitarian Universalist has thrown his hat in for the Democratic nomination. Frankly Mike Gravel's run is a quixotic … [Read more...]

Up Until the Time of Your Death

UP UNTIL THE TIME OF YOUR DEATHWhat the Stoics Can Teach Us About a Life of WisdomA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford12 August 2007First Unitarian SocietyWest Newton, MassachusettsTextYou are composed of three things: body, breath and mind.The first two are yours to the degree that you are responsible for their care;only the third is truly yours.If you do not attach your sense of who you areto your thoughts,to what others say or do,to what you have said or done,to what you will say or do,to the … [Read more...]


Saturday evening Jan, auntie & I went to the movies. As we had auntie with us, we were looking for something in the “G” area, but that might entertain us, as well. After a little dithering we picked Hairspray.From its opening scene with Tracy Turnblad’s ebullient “Good Morning Baltimore,” its wickedly funny cameo of John Waters as a flasher and Tracy’s triumphant arrival at school sitting atop a garbage truck, it was obvious this was at the very least going to be fun.Nikki Blonsky played Trac … [Read more...]