Unitarian writer (with Swedenborgian inclinations) Lydia Maria Child was born on this day in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1802.Child was a popular writer and an independent scholar. Her 1829 household manual, the Frugal Housewife was a run away best seller. She also made a mark as a social justice activist advocating for women’s suffrage and Native Americans. She was editor of the journal the “National Anti-Slavery Standard” and in 1833 wrote An Appeal in Favor of That Class of American Called… Read more

Anyone who has dipped into this blog from time to time has probably run into one version or another of this song, Leonard Cohen’s spiritual masterpiece. What follows are three more versions as well as links back to those others I’ve previously posted.Jeff Buckley’s coverJohn Cale’s cover.Allison Crowe’s coverK. D. Lang’s cover (where I also copy the words to the song)Rufus Wainwright’s coverAnd, of course, the master himself Read more

Well, this weekend Auntie, Jan & I are in the Pioneer Valley, while a colleague takes the pulpit at home.We’re staying in an ultra budget motel so there is no web access. But, after a hard morning of haunting Halfmoon Books (a small but very well stocked used shop, my favorite in Northampton) and Raven Used Books (even smaller, but no slouch, either, particularly as they seem to have access to Buddhist subject remainders), auntie & I have settled into… Read more

One of my literary heroes is Archie the cockroach. In times past he would leave typed messages for the journalist Don Marquis, detailing his reflections and his adventures with his friend Mehitabel the cat. Of course, being a cockroach, Archie could type only by leaping from key to key. His messages lacked both upper cases and punctuation marks, and Marquis saw they had the sense of free-verse poetry. (Indeed, Marquis believed Archie was a cockroach because in his previous life… Read more

A few minutes ago I learned Governor Romney is withdrawing from the race, leaving the field pretty much to Senator McCain. Already the knives are coming out and the governor himself is suggesting a vote for any Democrat is a vote for the Jihadists, and his continuing to run for the presidency would only support the Democrats and others who would “aid a surrender to terror…” This is going to be an ugly race.And here’s an important, very important point… Read more

Let religion be to us life and joy.Let it be a voice of renewing challengeto the best we have and may be;let it be a call to generous action.Let religion be to us a dissatisfaction with things that are,which bids us serve more eagerly the true and the right.Let it be the sorrow that opens for us the way of sympathy,understanding, and service to suffering humanity.Let religion be to us the wonder and lure of thatwhich is only partly known… Read more

To be brutally honest, we need no religions. The truth has no name, not Zen, not Sufi, not Unitarian Universalist. However, within each of these ancient ways, these and so many others, there is a secret band of sisters and brothers of the true way. They have many names, but need none. They follow the universal path. They sing the universal songs. They show the universal way. So, when people ask me what is a koan and I say it… Read more

Someone once observed, “The loneliest hour she ever spent was the coffee hour following worship services.” I’m haunted and distressed by this. It should never be. A genuine and lively church is built upon the friendly touch and kind word. We come together in all states and conditions, and we need mutual support. There are times when we particularly need others, and our religious community should be one of the first places we can turn to when we have such… Read more

I write these words on a day marked by two significant American political events. One is how today has become our first defacto national primary election. When the dust settles it is likely the Republican Party will have its candidate, and it is possible the same will be true for the Democrats. The second event of significance is that Adlai Stevenson was born on this day one hundred and eight years ago. He was the last declared Unitarian (there has… Read more

As Jan & I drove home from Perkins School for the Blind (where she works as research librarian) we discussed the primary election tomorrow. We’ve both been with Senator Clinton for most of this ride. But, with much hesitation, and a little sadness, we’ve agreed that tomorrow we will cross over and both cast our votes for Senator Barack Obama.Personally, I’m driven by four issues. The first is health care. The second is the Supreme Court. Third is how we… Read more

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