Love & Friendship: A Small Appreciation of Jane Austen’s Wicked Lady Susan Brought to the Screen

This has been my first week of retirement, actual retirement from that part of my life that generated a living. Now, while I have a lot of things to do, there is also a fundamental re-ordering of our lives at Casa Ford Seymour Ford, including the finding of new rhythms.Which leads to yesterday, where quite spontaneously we decided to go to a movie. A quick run through the options for a late matinee, our preferred time, we saw that Love and Friendship was playing at one of our near by … [Read more...]

That Time When We All Learned About the Trojan Horse

Eratosthenes of Cyrene, chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria was a polymath, a music theorist, poet, astronomer, geographer (generally considered the founder of that science) and mathematician. He calculated both the circumference of the earth and the tilt of its axis with astonishing accuracy. (He also calculated the circumference of the sun with much less success)Eratosthenes also developed a calculation for dating the sacking of Troy, which he figured began on the 11th of June … [Read more...]

Faustus Socinus Gets His Church & With that the Seeds of a Rationalist Christianity Are Cast Upon Fertile Ground

Unitarian Universalist minister and historian Mark Worth notes how today in 1565, the Minor Reformed Church of Poland, "a Unitarian denomination was established. Its leading theologian was an Italian, Faustus Socinus (or Fausto Sozzini), pictured here, and so they are known to history as the Socinians. The Socinians rejected the Doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, rejected the doctrine of Hell, advocated for separation of church and state, and rejected military service."It … [Read more...]

A Dream Over That Rainbow

Frances Ethel Gumm was born on this day in 1922. She would become the amazing star-crossed actress and singer, Judy Garland. … [Read more...]

Happy birthday to the Book of Common Prayer!

The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the use of the Church of England together with the Psalter or Psalms of David pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches; and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of bishops, priests, and deacons, better known simply as The Book of Common Prayer, or even more simply the BCP was published on Whitsunday in 1549. Or, by our more common reckoning, 9 … [Read more...]

Getting Real: A Zen Meditation on Despair & Purpose

This American presidential campaign season has been something of an emotional roller coaster. And, then I think, oh, my, we are only tailing in to the end of the primaries...Sadly, among many of my friends, the predominant emotions are anger and rage. Hope has tended to be in short supply. Fear on the other hand has rolled like wave after wave. And right below that, the deep sea for many has been despair.Good old Merriam-Webster defines despair as "to no longer have any hope or belief … [Read more...]

The Gospel of Unitarian Universalism for Contemporary Culture

One of the things I've loved about the advent of social media is how we can come to have relationships with people across the globe. For me among these one of my favorites is Adrian John Worsfold. He lives in England, a country I've only visited once, but thanks to Facebook, I've come to know him, anyway. His doctorate is in Sociology. As what I'd call a participant observer, Dr Worsfold brings a keen and searching eye to that phenomenon dear to my heart known as "liberal religion." Mostly his … [Read more...]

Marking Malcolm Boyd’s Birthday

Malcolm Boyd was born on this day in 1923. He would have been ninety-three.An Episcopal priest, he first gained public attention in the nineteen sixties as the “espresso priest” named for his participation in San Francisco’s poetic scene, frequently giving readings at the Hungry I, and later for his book “Are You Running With Me, Jesus?”The first sermon I preached in a Unitarian Universalist church some thirty years ago was titled “Are You Running With Me, Buddha?” A small tip of the hat. … [Read more...]

A Surreal Sanctuary From a Broken World: Clifton’s Cafeteria in L.A.

Last night Jan & I were watching the Newshour when they played a clip on Route 66. This included a passing reference to the famous Green Book, the segregation era guide for African Americans. Then within that passing moment the story also mentioned Clifton's as a Los Angeles restaurant that was listed in the book.As I am interested in stories of Southern California, and stories of Los Angeles in particular, and, okay, anything about food, I proceeded to do a little googling. Turns out … [Read more...]

Seventy-two Years Ago, Drowning in Blood, the World Changes

D DaySeventy-two years ago.Drowning in blood, the world changes.Here the moment is captured in a movie. The scene has justly been critiqued for only portraying white soldiers when there were a goodly number of people of color there including the storied and, significantly, segregated 320th Anti-Aircraft Barrage Ballon Battalion, five of whose medics where among the first wave, and one, Waverly Woodson, being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on that horrible … [Read more...]