IN PRAISE OF A DIVINE THAT MATTERS A Meditation on Faith and HopeJames Ishmael Ford3 May 2015First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandTextMy soul proclaims the beauty of God, my spirit rejoices because the Beloved looks with favor on the lowly. And so from this day forward all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. She is nothing less than that mercy found by all in every generation who are willing to … [Read more...]

Oh, Boy! It’s Beltane!


There are so many things that could be noted, some celebrated on the 1st of May. But, me, I'm going whole hog for Beltane!It's a holiday in the calendar of my ancestors, or, some of them, anyway. It's the beginning of summer and apparently in ancient Celtic cultures it is the time cattle were taken or driven to their summer pastures.There was a tradition of visiting holy wells, and also various things with flowers. Also a time of bonfires, the ashes of which have special powers to help … [Read more...]

Annie Walks on to the Stage

annie dillard

The Pulitzer prize winning writer Annie Dillard was born on this day in 1945.For me its her religious explorations that are most compelling. She's called herself "spiritually promiscuous," something I've been accused of on occasion. Although she did eventually find her grounding in Roman Catholicism, officially converting in 1994. Although the Wikipedia article on her notes that her website claims her religion as "none." I see no contradictions here...Anyways, as a special treat in … [Read more...]

THREE APPLES FELL FROM HEAVEN A Meditation on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide .

Three Apples Fell From Heaven A meditation on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocideby Janice Dzovinar OkoomianDelivered at the First Unitarian Church of Providence April 26, 2015Paree Louees: Good morning.Three apples fell from Heaven.One is for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; one is for justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and one is for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.Now, you might recognize these … [Read more...]

Do Not Deny, Do Not Forget


Today the Armenian community marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the terrible events that the world now calls the first genocide of the twentieth century. Somewhere between a million and a million and a half people were killed, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed and Turkey began the journey to what would become a nation state.The horror has been compounded by the denial of the Turkish state that the event happened, or, when pressed with endless evidence starting with the … [Read more...]

He Drew A Circle

Edwin Markham

Charles Edward Anson Markham, better known as Edwin Markham was born on this day in 1852. He was officially the poet laureate of Oregon between 1923 and 1931. He had also been called the poet of labor. And, what touches me most, the "poet laureate of Universalism."Beyond my spiritual circles it his poem "The man with the Hoe" that is perhaps best remembered, and it is the poem that earns him that association with labor. But, also he was invited to read his poem "Lincoln, Man of the People" … [Read more...]

On the Preservation of the Species: A Mind Bubble on Earth Day


As I hope everyone knows, today, the 22nd of April is Earth Day. Earth Day is observed both nationally and internationally, and deservedly so. While we face many problems within our human communities that desperately need to be addressed, we are also in the midst of an ecological catastrophe, the outer limits of which appear to be the extinction of our species. And one would think that would get our attention a tad more front and center than it does.Most days I go to the Wikipedia list of … [Read more...]

And a Blessed 21st of April to All!


Some days its impossible to choose which holiday you want to honor.For me out of the thicket of possibilities I find today, the 21st of April, boiling down to two:The foundation of Rome! Hard to want to pass on this one. I mean it evokes so many things, starting with my childhood and those stories from the book of the Apocalypse which my grandmother was fond of reading to me, and which I liked before I discovered H. P. Lovecraft. And after that seeing Rome as less the (lady of the night) … [Read more...]

LEARNING TO FALL A Meditation on the Stoic Way

marcus aurelius

LEARNING TO FALL A Meditation on the Stoic WayA Sermon by James Ishmael Ford17 April 2015First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandTextYou are composed of three things: body, breath and mind. The first two are yours to the degree that you are responsible for their care; only the third is truly yours. If you do not attach your sense of who you are to your thoughts, to what others say or do, to what you have said or done, to what you will say or do, to the … [Read more...]

Happy birthday, Spike!


Sir Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan was born on this day in 1918. He died in 2002. It has been argued without Spike there would be no Monty Python. A world too horrible to contemplate. So, thanks, Spike! Tons... … [Read more...]