Living Authentically

LIVING AUTHENTICALLYA Sermon byJames Ishmael FordDelivered on the3rd of December 2000at the First Unitarian Society in Newton, MA(I was reviewing some past sermons when I stumbled upon this, written eight years ago. Generally I hate what I've written in the past, always hoping my next effort will finally be worth hearing. This seemed a bit better than most, although it would no doubt profit by being cut by about a quarter. That said, I thought it worth posting here...)The other day I was … [Read more...]

Thomas Starr King

Some years ago Jan, auntie & I were in Washington DC, doing some serious national tourism. Among the many interesting, sometimes moving, sometimes, well not, are the collection of one hundred statues from the states, two each.We wandered around until we found the one we most wanted to see, Thomas Starr King.A Universalist minister who ended up serving the First Unitarian church in San Francisco, King was a person of enormous importance in tilting California to the abolitionist side as it … [Read more...]

Zen Master Seung Sahn on Zen Meditation

Correct Meditation Zen Master Seung Sahn(As regular readers of Monkey Mind probably know the streams of Zen within which I practice derive through Japan. What people who do not practice Zen may not understand is how different the styles of Zen can be based a great deal upon what nations within which they took their shape. Nonetheless Japanese Zen is Zen, Korean Zen is Zen, Chinese Zen is Zen. This is one reason, among many, why I am fascinated with the first tentative outline forming of a … [Read more...]

Perkins School for the Blind

When Mrs Keller was at her wits' end, frightened at what appeared to be her daughter's fate, she wrote a letter to Perkins.They sent her Anne Sullivan.On this day in 1829 Perkins School for the Blind incorporated.Go here for the story. … [Read more...]

Some Words on Talking

Hanshan is one of my favorite poets. Well, the poet or poets anthologized as Hanshan is a favorite of mine. Generally thought of as ninth century, the poems may come from the entire range of Tang China. According to legend he lived as a semi-hermit in a cave called Hanshan, Cold Cliff or Mountain, in the Tiantai mountains in modern Zheijian province. He is claimed by both Buddhists and Taoists. Although in the stories, it's the monks of the Buddhist monastery that feed him.The poems are a … [Read more...]

God as Verb

Just a link to an interesting reflection at an interesting group blog. … [Read more...]

Second Chances

F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have said "There are no second acts in American lives." I rummaged around the web and found numerous references to this quote, most noting, if not as eloquently as in an Esquire article from 1999: "This half aphorism, found in notes for a never-finished novel, (is) perhaps the most oft quoted of Fitzgerald's work, largely because it is trenchant and almost perfectly wrong." Like many lovely lines that in one context or another catch the imagination, it sounds … [Read more...]

Baruch Spinoza

In my web explorations I've recently stumbled upon Caute, a blog by a Unitarian minister in Great Britain. It is interesting and thoughtful, exploring radical religion through a liberal Christian lens. I highly recommend it.However, this entry is not about Caute, even though that could be an interesting reflection, his thinking is so compelling; but rather this entry is inspired by a link I stumbled upon at the Caute blog.Baruch Spinoza is one of my heroes. As Jorge Luis Borges (another hero, … [Read more...]

The Dawn of Freedom of Religion in the West

Today is the anniversary of King John Sigismund's Edict of Torda in 1579. It established the right of ministers to preach the gospel as they best understood it, and, as well, for congregants to reserve their own opinions in these matters. In contemporary Unitarian Universalism (as in one or two other places) this has come to be called "freedom of the pulpit" and "freedom of the pew."It represented a major shift in thinking that was, perhaps of course, already beginning in various parts of … [Read more...]

The Gospel According to Thomas, Logia 22

Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father's) domain."They said to him, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) domain as babies?"Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be … [Read more...]