The Hindu saint Ramakrishna was born on this day in 1836. He looms large in my spiritual biography.My father was a ne’re-do-well, who kept our little family moving from one town to the next, frequently just ahead of the law. And, occasionally, not just ahead. The sole anchor of our chaotic lives was my maternal grandmother’s fundamentalist Baptist faith, which I clung to as a life-raft in my childhood. But, as I entered my adolescence, a childhood faith, couldn’t sustain… Read more

While noodling around the web I stumbled upon Allen Ginsberg reciting his “Ballad of the Skeletons,” while accompanied by Paul McCartney (music by Philip Glass). (And! A quickie warning! The song contains some rough language…)I loved it. It immediately reminded me of one of my favorite Zen figures, Ikkyu, who wrote:Students, sit earnestly in zazen, and you will realize that everything born in this world is ultimately empty, including oneself and the original face of existence. All things indeed emerge… Read more

I’ve just learned that the Reverend Carl Thitchener has died. Carl was a respected colleague and he will be missed. First, here is a reflection by Carl on heresy, a favorite theme of Unitarian Universalists… Rev. Carl Thitchener talks about the meaning of”heresy”– choosing what to believe — in the tradition of Unitarian Universalist religious thought. Also an interview with Dan Brigham about UU churches. Finally, here is a brief biographical sketch provided by the Reverend Jory Agate at the… Read more

Egypt has loomed large in Western consciousness pretty much for ever. I think of the great spiritual speculations, particularly as it devolves into the more murky aspects of occultism. But, also, the more obscure aspects of Egypt’s influence on more “normative” spiritualities through the Desert Fathers (and Mother’s, even if they didn’t get quite the press…), and particularly the Nag Hammadi discoveries, all race through my mind. Rich stuff, no doubt…By my calculations there have been two major events that… Read more

The 2008 Unitarian Universalist Blog Awards have been announced.I have, echoing our former governor in this Commonwealth, won a bronze and a silver. Third place behind the always readable Chalice Chick and the best named blog going Sexuality and Religion for political commentary. The other, a distant second to the amazing Peacebang, for best of class in religious writing or theological commentary.Oh well…I do encourage a visit to the list, particularly for those among my readers who are not Unitarian… Read more

I just find this so interesting… Read more

The Hound of Heaven Francis ThompsonI fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter. Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated, Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears, From those strong Feet that followed, followed after. But with unhurrying chase, And unperturbèd pace, Deliberate speed,… Read more

Susan Brownell Anthony was born on this day in 1820.The family were Quakers and when the denomination split during the Hicksite controversy they followed the “inner light” to the liberal faction. Her father was an abolitionist and political and justice issues were constant subject of household concern. As a young adult she worked as a teacher. She also became involved in the Temperance movement and began attending worship services at the Unitarian church in Rochester, New York, which she eventually… Read more

Hi Dudley,I feel your question touches on the central point I feel called to explore in this blog.Here are the facts on the ground as I’ve come to understand them. I am here. My life is filled with many experiences, many joyful, many sad, some terrible, indeed. While often bittersweet, sometimes bitter, I find life is nonetheless, lovely. And, I know that this all ends. I’m in no rush, but I know my death will come, eventually. No doubt.Out of… Read more

“The thread that binds these five pieces together is my concern to articulate a view of Buddhism that honours the Asian traditions while interpreting their insights in the light of secular modernity. The Agnostic Buddhist is the edited transcript of a talk I gave at Rochester Zen Center, New York, in 1996. It serves as a personal introduction to my agnostic approach to Buddhist thought and practice presented in Buddhism Without Beliefs. Six years later James Shaheen, editor of Tricycle,… Read more

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