Today is one of those interesting markers that writers of what if fantasy like to explore.This morning in 1066 Harold sat upon the English throne.By evening William of Normandy had become the “conqueror.”What it, what if…Among the what is, however, was that my direct paternal ancestor, father’s father thing, going back to somewhere in the frozen northern lands was part of William’s motley band. And they did okay, apparently, out of this little war. Another war at another generation a… Read more

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Yesterday evening as we were setting up for the Zen group, I was in the large room we use for storage just outside the parish hall. I’d bent over to pull a pile of zabutons, the large square cushions used as a base for Zen meditation, out from under a steel and glass desk. It had until a month or so ago been in my office, part of the furniture I’d inherited from a previous minister of the church. After… Read more

One of the greats of our culture…Here Paul Simon joins Miriam Makeba…Happy Birthday, Paul! Read more

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THE ART OF CONVERSATIONA Reflection on Spiritual Practices in Liberal Churches James Ishmael Ford 11 October 2009 First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode Island Text I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning,… Read more

Forrest Church: Liberal Man of God By Ted Sorensenformer presidential adviser The death of Unitarian minister Forrest Church, a good man at a time when good men and women are very much in need, presents an appropriate moment to reflect on his life. I knew him well for many years, as I knew his wonderful parents before him. Although we came from different backgrounds and worked in different professions, we had much in common: We both came as young, idealistic… Read more

I’ve just heard* from my friend and colleague in the Zen way, Jay Weik, that John Daido Loori, Jay’s former teacher, Zen roshi and abbot of the Mountains and Rivers Zen Order died this morning at nine thirty.In the Blue Cliff Record, case fifty-five, we get a pointer on this matter. Here’s the case in John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland’s version.Daowu and Jianyuan went to a house to offer condolences. Jianyuan struck the coffin with his hand and asked, “Alive… Read more

Hypatia of Alexandria is one of the great although nearly forgotten figures of the Western spiritual tradition, whom I first stumbled upon in my seminary years. I wrote a paper on her which as it is now lost I’m sure was quite insightful… I personally am equally fascinated by her pupil, Synesius and his curious and compelling Christianity… While I have no idea how good the movie is, I have hope for it as there are already people lining up… Read more

When one receives Dharma transmission in the Japanese Soto lines among the lovely and impressive documents one gets most of the time are a pile of papers (well, in my lineage they’ve been collected into a small handwritten book) called kirigami. Mostly they’re odds and ends focused on liturgical matters. However they also include various admonitions to the new Dharma successor. The most striking for me was the assertion that (Zen) Buddhism will last only as long (Zen) Buddhists bow…. Read more

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