Aung San Suu Kyi on Non-Violence

Thinking of Aung San Suu Kyi, in prison on her sixty-fourth birthday...The good and wise Danny Fisher has gathered various notes on this day.The Agence France-Presse reports on global plans to mark the birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's Nobel Peace laureate and Prime Minister-elect who is currently standing trial before the ruling military junta.Reuters reports that "Britain wants further targeted international financial sanctions to increase pressure on [Burma] to free opposition leader … [Read more...]

Far, Far From Home

I see that Richard Boone, star of the television series Have Gun - Will Travel which ran on the cusp of the nineteen sixties, was born on this day in 1917. I was nine when the series began and fifteen when it ended. My father loved it, and therefore it was on our television every week for the duration.And, yes, I loved it, too...I'm not sure this story of an erudite gunfighter had any particular effect on me, other than as part of the ubiquitous American western mythology. And the truth be told … [Read more...]

One More Voice Against Ahmadinejad and in Favor of a Democratic Iran

On a more important note, I see around the UU blogosphere a desire for our denominational president to speak out on the current crisis in Iran.I agree.Iran is a terribly important regional power. What it does has repercussions around the area. And should they ever get the bomb, well, much further afield, as well...I think the cautious position taken by our American president generally a wise one. I think if he's seen to be pushing too hard for the opposition all it can do is fan nationalistic … [Read more...]

On Wearing a Clerical Shirt

I've just had to go out and purchase a clerical shirt to visually demonstrate I'm a minister for this Saturday's Providence Gay Pride parade. This is our first time at this parade as the First Unitarian Church and I want there to be no doubt the church's minister is part of the deal...And, monkey mind that I am, this set me to thinking a little about these things, titles, costumes, all that.In my Zen life while I'm conscious of both the responsibilities and the very provisionalness of the roshi … [Read more...]

Visiting a Graveyard With a Zen Scholar

Professor Jim Austin, author of the monumental survey of brain science research as it relates to Zen and I have had a small correspondence going on for years. He doesn't actually approve of the internet and I have long since misplaced my quill and parchment, so our communication has over these years been on the sparse side. But I've always loved the connection.Then, as things happen, he sent a note saying he was going to be in Providence and wondered, if, well, perhaps I had time for a cuppa...I … [Read more...]

The Scandal of the Zen Teacher and Where it Takes Me

I've had a brief exchange of notes with someone concerned about the large number of scandals related to Zen teachers. He suggested the ratio is almost one to one. A bit of an exaggeration, but a real question. He also puffed me up a bit suggesting that Barry Magid and I were among the few sane teachers he was aware of, so he was addressing this burning question to me. Flattered at being thought one of the sane ones, but also knowing I better fess up quickly, here's my response, slightly modified … [Read more...]

FORBIDDEN BOOKS: A Reflection on the summer, and the Reading of Summer Books

FORBIDDEN BOOKSA Reflection on the summer, and the Reading of Summer BooksA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford14 June 2009First Unitarian ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandText Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
 A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse---and Thou
 Beside me singing in the Wilderness---
 And Wilderness is Paradise (enough.)The Rubaiyat of Omar KhayyamIt is hard to believe that here we are, at the formal end of the church year. Of course, those halcyon days of yore when this meant that you … [Read more...]

Don’t be Afraid of Change: A Briefest Reflection on the Dynamic of Creation

Don’t be Afraid of Change A Briefest Reflection on the Dynamic of Creation A homily byJames Ishmael FordAt the14 June 2009Rhode Island Interfaith Pride Worship ServiceBeneficent Congregational ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandTextAnd Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.Ruth 1 … [Read more...]

Passing Thought About Anne Frank

On this day in 1942 Anne Frank turned thirteen.She was given a dairy...I'm doing a sermon on Sunday on "summer" reading. For many it is a delightful summer ritual, getting around to those books one has been meaning to, but for various reasons have not. Traditionally the reading is "light." But, of course, it doesn't have to be... So, I'm suggesting, for those gathering ideas for their summer reads, Anne's diary could be one. Sometimes something that has come to be considered a book for children, … [Read more...]

Blue Boat Home

Peter Mayer … [Read more...]