amen. … [Read more...]

Richer For It

I believe... that a very sizable number of adherents of every major world faith will agree that critical thinking and an openness to new ideas and problems are crucial for the health and continued growth of any religion. In the end, perhaps this is the highest expression of the humility so greatly valued in both Christian and Buddhist monastic rules: As any religion can be seen as ultimately more a means to the truth than an end, and as the nature of that truth might very well be more universal … [Read more...]

Comeback Chick

I was just visiting with a friend who is dealing with a pretty advanced cancer. He's one of the people I really admire. For all sorts of reasons, how he has lived his life, and now how he's dealing with very, very rough times.Anyway, in a conversation that touched on this and that, eventually we turned to politics. Let me tell you, if you want to get a handle on things, find a little perspective, have a conversation about an upcoming election with someone who stands a good chance on not living … [Read more...]

Millard Fillmore

Perhaps it's appropriate for a blogger who likes to mark the birthdays of significant Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian Universalists would be a day late in noting the two hundred and eighth anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore. Born on the 7th of January, 1800, Millard Fillmore was elected vice-president on the Whig ticket with Zachary Taylor and succeded Taylor upon his death, becoming the thirteenth president of the United States. He served out the last two years of Taylor's … [Read more...]


A JOYFUL NOISE Reflection onEncountering the Psalms asSpiritual PracticeA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford6 January 2008First Unitarian SocietyWest Newton, MassachusettsTextO come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his … [Read more...]

A Briefest Reflection on American Politics and Liberal Religion

Well, the Iowa caucuses are done and here in Massachusetts we're getting the media spillover from all the hubbub in New Hampshire that will continue for the next four days.I've been a passive supporter of Senator Clinton, and continue to think of the generally very good field of Democratic candidates she's the one who probably could serve us best in the upcoming next very dangerous years. At the same time I listened to Senator Obama's valedictory following his impressive win in Iowa and find it … [Read more...]

Getting Real With Religion

I'm more than comfortable with traditional religious language: god and soul are at the top of my list of useful terms. I resist those who try to insist that the definitions of these terms can only be determined by their most conservative adherents. Conservative and fundamentalist asserting such a position I understand. But when critics such as most of the recent spate of atheist authors do so it comes across to me like setting up a classic straw man. And, a serious missing of something wondrous … [Read more...]

Reflecting on Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Saints

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody died on this day in 1894. While I think it more appropriate for UUs to mark the birthdays of our revered ancestors, it is the ancient tradition of the Christian church to mark the days of significant people's passing (for obvious reasons if you follow normative Christian theology). Noticing Peabody's death in this context sent my mind to thinking of UU Buddhist saints. That is it set me to thinking about those people informed by Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism, or in … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday Isaac Asimov

Issac Asimov was born on this day in 1920.As a child of particularly constrained circumstances, it was discovering Science Fiction that allowed me my first glimpse of a world beyond. While my taste buds in fiction have taken me in other directions I remain eternally grateful to a handful of writers including in the first instance the likes of Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and very much Issac Asimov, and later Roger Zelazny and Philip K. Dick. They opened doors!Asimov joined imaginative … [Read more...]

Happy New Year 2008

I find as I contemplate the beginning of this new year, my mind turns to one Zen koan in particular. It's the sixth case recorded in that great Zen anthology the Blue Cliff Record and is called "Yunmen's Good Day." The heart of the case is pretty simple.Yunmen asked his assembly "I don't ask you about before the fifteenth of the month. Say something about after the fifteenth." He then gave his own response, "Every day is a good day."When we read them or hear them cited in talks koans often … [Read more...]