The Universal and the Particular: a Reflection on Grace

Today is the feast of Seraphim of Sarov, a Russian Orthodox mystic and saint. As is the tradition within Christian churches, one's feast day marks one's death, in Searaphim's case on this day in 1833. It set me to thinking a little about how the universal is really ever only known within the particular. And the many traps thrown along that way, snares laid out both by the devil and by God...In the nineteen sixties I stumbled upon the Way of a Pilgrim, and found the wisdom of the Christian … [Read more...]

Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman died today.She was a persistent thorn in the side of the apartheid regime, calling for peaceful but relentless opposition to the evil...For thirty-six years, thirteen as the sole member of Parliament from the Progressive Party, she used her place to denounce apartheid and to call for a nonracial South Africa. And, finally, she stood at her old friend Nelson Mandela's side when in 1996 he signed the country's new nonracial constitution.A person of strong personality and contradictory … [Read more...]

Early Morning Ruminations on a New Year

About a million years ago I was young and studying Zen as an unsui with Jiyu Kennett, living in her monastery which was then located in Oakland, California. This was long before her notorious visions. The community would eventually acquire property in Mt Shasta, in far northern California, but this was well before that time, as well...The roshi had fallen in with Alan Watts who would eventually help her get her first book published. Watts had been given a copy of Aleister Crowley's … [Read more...]

The End of the Year

Well, it is almost over!Thank goodness...Now with scant hours to go, I wish you all the best for the new year,perhaps something big and splashy...and, if it seems right, perhaps with a little romance... … [Read more...]

Mourning the Loss of Republican Moderates in Unitarian Universalism

I notice that among many other things that happened on this last day of the year, that in 1999, Elliot Richardson died.For me he is most notable as the Attorney General who refused President Nixon's order to fire Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox as he was coming dangerously close to the president's deeply guarded secrets.Of course this was simply one marker on a distinguished career. Richardson was a genuine hero during the Second war, he served as Massachusetts's' Lieutenant Governor … [Read more...]

the Problem With Looking Within

Thanks to Ballard Street for this critical early (and continuing) insight into what one finds upon the meditative way... … [Read more...]

Book Babes

Bless all librarians.Thank you, Agnes... … [Read more...]

The Year 2008 in Review

Thank you JibJab... … [Read more...]

thoughts on the near east at the end of 2008…

It's been two years since Saddam Hussein was hung.While I am opposed to the death penalty on principle, I have to admit it is hard to mourn his passing.Still, noting the moment does set me to thinking a bit about Mr Bush's war.We sit at an interesting place, the confluence of the surge and the awakening has given the Iraqi government a bit of breathing room and provides us with a fig leaf to allow us for a second time to declare victory and to withdraw.I wish my nay saying and that of the left … [Read more...]

Christmas Eve 2008 at the First Unitarian Church in Providence

all photos by Richard Boober … [Read more...]