hopefully self-serving public service announcement.

Time to vote for the UU Blog Awards... … [Read more...]

Charles Darwin the Unitarian, Sort Of, And Agnostic Saint

Charles Darwin was born on this day in 1809.Both sides of his family, the Darwins and the Wedgwoods were all Unitarian. Although it should be noted his grandfather Erasmus was a freethinker, as was, it appears, his father. He was baptised Anglican, but his mother took him to Unitarian services throughout his childhood. At this time admission to Cambridge and Oxford required one to at least nominally conform to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, and so like many theological noncomformists … [Read more...]

Lydia Maria Child

Unitarian writer (with Swedenborgian inclinations) Lydia Maria Child was born on this day in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1802.Child was a popular writer and an independent scholar. Her 1829 household manual, the Frugal Housewife was a run away best seller. She also made a mark as a social justice activist advocating for women's suffrage and Native Americans. She was editor of the journal the "National Anti-Slavery Standard" and in 1833 wrote An Appeal in Favor of That Class of American Called … [Read more...]

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

Anyone who has dipped into this blog from time to time has probably run into one version or another of this song, Leonard Cohen's spiritual masterpiece. What follows are three more versions as well as links back to those others I've previously posted.Jeff Buckley's coverJohn Cale's cover.Allison Crowe's coverK. D. Lang's cover (where I also copy the words to the song)Rufus Wainwright's coverAnd, of course, the master himself … [Read more...]

At the Haymarket Cafe in Northampton

Well, this weekend Auntie, Jan & I are in the Pioneer Valley, while a colleague takes the pulpit at home.We're staying in an ultra budget motel so there is no web access. But, after a hard morning of haunting Halfmoon Books (a small but very well stocked used shop, my favorite in Northampton) and Raven Used Books (even smaller, but no slouch, either, particularly as they seem to have access to Buddhist subject remainders), auntie & I have settled into the Haymarket Cafe, she to sip a hot … [Read more...]

Reflections on the Liberal Church: In the Face of it All, Together With it All: Joy

One of my literary heroes is Archie the cockroach. In times past he would leave typed messages for the journalist Don Marquis, detailing his reflections and his adventures with his friend Mehitabel the cat. Of course, being a cockroach, Archie could type only by leaping from key to key. His messages lacked both upper cases and punctuation marks, and Marquis saw they had the sense of free-verse poetry. (Indeed, Marquis believed Archie was a cockroach because in his previous life he had been a … [Read more...]

A Few Words of Caution to My Progressive Friends

A few minutes ago I learned Governor Romney is withdrawing from the race, leaving the field pretty much to Senator McCain. Already the knives are coming out and the governor himself is suggesting a vote for any Democrat is a vote for the Jihadists, and his continuing to run for the presidency would only support the Democrats and others who would "aid a surrender to terror..." This is going to be an ugly race.And here's an important, very important point for my progressive friends.Despite what … [Read more...]

Let Religion Be To Us Life and Joy

Let religion be to us life and joy.Let it be a voice of renewing challengeto the best we have and may be;let it be a call to generous action.Let religion be to us a dissatisfaction with things that are,which bids us serve more eagerly the true and the right.Let it be the sorrow that opens for us the way of sympathy,understanding, and service to suffering humanity.Let religion be to us the wonder and lure of thatwhich is only partly known and understood:An eye that glories in nature’s majesty and … [Read more...]

A Sufi Explains How to Answer Zen’s Koans

To be brutally honest, we need no religions. The truth has no name, not Zen, not Sufi, not Unitarian Universalist. However, within each of these ancient ways, these and so many others, there is a secret band of sisters and brothers of the true way. They have many names, but need none. They follow the universal path. They sing the universal songs. They show the universal way. So, when people ask me what is a koan and I say it is not a thorny question, and they push, and ask, so what is it, I … [Read more...]

Reflections on the Liberal Church: Caring

Someone once observed, “The loneliest hour she ever spent was the coffee hour following worship services.” I’m haunted and distressed by this. It should never be. A genuine and lively church is built upon the friendly touch and kind word. We come together in all states and conditions, and we need mutual support. There are times when we particularly need others, and our religious community should be one of the first places we can turn to when we have such a need.Even when there isn’t a pressing ne … [Read more...]