There’s No Crying in Baseball

no crying in baseball

Just sayin' … [Read more...]

A Pause While Preparing for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board Meeting

szba with James as dosho

One of the signal honors I've had in my life has been to be appointed to the governing board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. The SZBA is far and away the largest gathering of priests in the Japanese derived Soto Zen lineages in North America. It sees its mission as supporting the work of Soto Zen as it sinks its roots into our lovely if sometimes rocky North American soil.In a few hours I'll be joining the Board in its annual face to face meeting. My colleagues have insisted that due … [Read more...]

On Being a Religious Liberal: A Small Meander Through the Fields of the Heart

william ellery channing

I was corresponding with a Catholic priest about something or other, and almost as an aside he drilled down on what my theology was. I replied I'm a "liberal Buddhist," a subset of "religious liberal."He replied how he was confused how a political position is collapsed into a religious term.I replied it is a term of art, and dates back several hundred years. "Liberal" in this sense means anti-supernatural and rationalist. And that "liberal religion" is synonymous with "rational … [Read more...]

Book of Mormon Published

Book of Mormon

It was on this day in 1830 that the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York.It purports to be the record of the lost tribes of Israel and what happened when they came to the Americas.The prophet Joseph Smith claimed he was presented with golden plates and special spectacles that allowed him to translate them from "reformed Egyptian." And it has since become the primary theological source for the foundations of the Church of Later Day Saints.Those who find the historicity of … [Read more...]

Mencken’s ghost blows a smoke ring and knocks the ash from his cigar


"Why aren't these unindicted co-conspirators--President What-Me-Worry, who pratfall'd his way into the history books, and Uncle Darth, the cold-eyed war 'droid who lined his plutocratic pockets with the rich pickings of Halliburton contracts in the dock or, at the very least, in the stocks, pelted with overripe eggs by jeering schoolkids on a history-class field trip? Now we have Adorably Giggly Dubya, Painter of Light, and Elder Statesman Cheney, tough-talking voice of battle-tested … [Read more...]

Of Kings and Priests: An Idle Aside With No Discernible Conclusion

Rama IV

It appears the late seventh, early eighth centuries Byzantium was in a state of chaos with a succession of failed rulers, ending only with the ascension of Leo III.What I find of mild interest is that the Emperor Leo overthrew, Theodosius III, was allowed to take on holy orders (according to the good folk at Wikipedia, on this day in 717) rather than the more usual quiet and often brutal execution, or simply being cast into a dungeon, sometimes with food being occasionally served, sometimes … [Read more...]

We Speak No Americano

Just, well, just because... … [Read more...]

Smelling of the Zephyr

colored eggs (egyptian)

As it turns out this is the Egyptian national holiday, Sham el-Nessim. It appears to go back to the very mists of antiquity, although when Egypt went Christian the Coptic church got into the act and the date was fixed in relation to the Eastern observation of Easter. With the Muslim conquest they embraced the holiday, and today it is celebrated as a national event by, it appears, all Egyptians...Wikipedia cites Edward Lane's book Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, modern in … [Read more...]

THE MIDDLE WAY OF LIBERAL RELIGION A Meditation on Unitarian Universalism’s Fourth Principle

UU wordle

THE MIDDLE WAY OF LIBERAL RELIGION A Meditation on Unitarian Universalism’s Fourth PrincipleJames Ishmael Ford22 March 2015First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandTextAs a faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism makes sacred the right and responsibility to engage in this free and responsible quest as an act of religious devotion. Institutionally, we have left open the questions of what truth and meaning are, acknowledging that mindful people will, in every age, d … [Read more...]

Third Step East: Zen Masters of America

Third Step East

I'm so pleased to see that Richard McDaniel's Third Step East: Zen Masters of America, to which I contributed a forward, has been released! I recommend it to anyone interested in the foundations of Zen in North America. It is comprehensive, clear, and generously written.The official press release summarizes the scope of Rick's study:In "The Third Step East: Zen Masters of America", Richard Bryan McDaniel continues the story, begun in his earlier work, of the spread of Zen from India to … [Read more...]