Appropriate Language for that Inappropriate Language

I've been asked by a member of the Commission on Appraisal who first opined that Section C-2.3, "Sources," needs a conclusion, and so wanted to know what I thought a suitable ending sentence might look like if they deleted what I've said is an unacceptable sentence.That original sentence reads:“Grateful for the traditions that have strengthened our own, we strive to avoid misappropriation of cultural and religious practices and to seek ways of appreciation that are respectful and welcomed.”I hav … [Read more...]

Cultural Misappropriation and the Proposed UUA By-Laws

In an earlier post I expressed my profound concern with a line in the proposed revision of the Statement of Principles and Purposes of our Unitarian Universalist By-Laws. It is so important for the continuing life of our Association I feel a need to expand a bit on my feelings and thoughts regarding this matter. While we are a fiercely non-creedal people, and indeed the draft contains an “escape clause” in section C-2.6 “Freedom of Belief;” this statement is enshrined in the Association’s By-Laws … [Read more...]

Church Life Continues

Today continues the mad dash of church start up.I've already had a quick visit over early morning coffee with our congregational president.I'm soon (like in ten minutes) off to visit with the interim minister of the Beneficent Congregational Church in downtown Providence. Roughly a million years ago they were a schism from the First Church, which would in turn evolve into being First Unitarian. From the stories I hear both sides claim to have been the "liberal" part of the break up. Which I find … [Read more...]

Church Life

We are well and duly launched at the First Unitarian Church!Our inaugural Sunday with its water "communion" was a lot of fun, not so travelogue and much more recollections of home, neighborhood, and region. And the deeper purpose was met, I thought. It really did feel like a gathering of the streams back into the main current...There was some beautiful music. And a couple of prayerful moments, too rare among us, I usually feel. And we brought it in at an hour!I awoke with my brain bubbling...We … [Read more...]

Emerson on Sunday Worship

Two inestimable advantages Christianity has given us; first; the Sabbath, the jubilee of the whole world; whose light dawns welcome alike into the closet of the philosopher, into the garret of toil, and into prison cells, and everywhere suggests, even to the vile, the dignity of spiritual being. Let it stand forevermore, a temple, which new love, new faith, new sight shall restore to more than its first splendor to mankind. And secondly, the institution of preaching,--the speech of man to men, … [Read more...]

The Science of Zen Meditation

While I have to admit to having only the most passing interest in the scientific investigation of meditation, even my own beloved Zen meditation, that doesn't mean I don't think it important.And some good news for those with such a turn of mind, there is a fast growing literature.Neuroscientist James Austin has done yeoman's work surveying that literature in his two books Zen and the Brain and Zen-Brain Reflections. Anyone interested in the subject will find a wealth of information in these s … [Read more...]

Going to Walden, and Returning…

On this day in 1847 Henry David Thoreau ended his sojourn at Walden pond.This was a fruitful time for him. He wrote A Week on the Concord and Merimack Rivers (considered to be unreadable by many...) and vastly more importantly kept the dairies that would become the classic Walden.By now most every one is aware how he kept quite a lifeline out to the world during this time, the cabin was near the edge of town and quite close to his family home. He regularly returned home and even in the woods had … [Read more...]

I Am Not a Bad Man

Disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff declared before his sentencing judge "I am not a bad man."I've been thinking about this.I am strongly inclined to feel we are defined by what we do.And, in fact, his actions are a mixed bag. He does have a long track record of charitable and generous gifts to others. And he corrupted politicians and defrauded clients. He was a central figure in further fouling our national political scene. He did very bad things, even if they were "white collar."And it … [Read more...]

The Philosopher’s Song

(warning: some rude comments here...) … [Read more...]

Governor Palin’s Speech

It was an interesting run up. I was mildly surprised at how flat Governor Romney's speech was. Perhaps he is getting tired of his far right sheep's clothing. I would think it should be beginning to itch...But then there was quite a save. I was reminded again of how smart Mayor Giuliani is. Witty, sharp, very, very New York. He provided a perfect set up for Alaska's governor. I suspect much better than the announced video, which was lost due to time run over.And I was more than a little impressed … [Read more...]