Shifting Sands

It has come time for me to admit I’m not up to the trip to India. My back has been paining me for three months and I don’t know what I’d do if I suffered a herniation in Bodhgaya. I’ve set up an appointment with my primary physician and expect a series of referrals which will eat up some significant part of the conclusion of my sabbatical. Although I hope to indulge a couple of smaller adventures before it all ends.India wasn’t the first or even the second thing I’d thought of doing while on sabb … [Read more...]

veiled wonder

Well, yesterday I awoke with a headache, scratchy throat and a runny nose.I have to admit election results proved quite a tonic, so I went to morning meditation and then after a quick nap took off to a luncheon meeting with two colleauges in the UU world.Then back to my little Hyde Park apartment where I slept right through early evening chapel.Today I've awakened with the cold settled into my chest. The headache, scratchy thorat & runny nose continue, as well...Going to meditation with a … [Read more...]

Vote the B*st*rds Out

Well the time has come, or nearly. For once I wish I didn't live in our beloved Newton, MA, arguably the bluest of the bluest communities in our great country. Thank God for our congressman Barney Frank. But I would like to cast my precious vote in another state, one where it might tip one race or another.While it is probably too much to hope for a sweep of both Senate & House, despite years of gerrymandering and other manipulations, it really looks like the Republican party is going to lose … [Read more...]

Catching Up

The trip to Ensenada was very interesting. We drove through Tijuana which has transformed in the thirty and more years since my last visit. I recall children trying to sell gum and cardboard shacks in the river basin and on the hillsides. Perhaps they exist, but not on the usual tourist routes. Tijuana is definitely a NAFTA winner. Then we followed the coast down to Ensenada, which as our driver said was a more “typical” Mexican city. It is a lovely small city whose economy remains dependent upo … [Read more...]

San Diego

It was cool and drizzly when I was picked up in front of my apartment in Chicago’s Hyde Park. A few hours later it was very bright and just a fraction on the good side of hot as I picked up my car in San Diego. A lovely adventure, at this writing, actually not quite finished.I settled into the motel, had dinner, and spent the balance of the evening reading and watching TV. The next day I drove out to the First Unitarian Universalist Church and conducted a day long exploration of Buddhism and Zen … [Read more...]

Early Morning Fretting

Very, very early tomorrow I’ll be climbing on a plane to Southern California where I’ll be doing a workshop on Zen & Unitarian Universalism and then preaching at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego. Perhaps signficantly, the sermon topic will be doubt as a spiritual practice.With my back being wonky for something over two months now, I’ve actually been looking forward to what should be a delightful experience with some dread. I’ve been thinking this trip will suggest how diff … [Read more...]

a cow, a lantern, confusion, and wind

As I was getting ready for my Chicago sojourn, Jan, the literary one in our family, told me I really would enjoy reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, as most of it takes place in what is now called Hyde Park, the neighborhood where Meadville Lombard stands. I said, okay. But actually I didn't bother to bring the book with me. Then a few days ago I stumbled upon a copy at the local branch of Powell's Books. Ten bucks for a hardcover copy. Too good a deal to pass on, I thought...My … [Read more...]

Why I am a Unitarian Universalist Buddhist

This is not a reprint of my UUA pamphlet, although it hits some of the same themes, recuring constantly for me. This particular reflection comes out of my visit yesterday to the Chicago Zen Center. Long established, with a creative and dynamic abbot, I believe this center shows a lot about where Zen in the west is today.Six of us from Meadville Lombard attended their early morning Sunday sit & teisho. I had the privilege of giving the talk.It was after the talk as some of us were preparing … [Read more...]

Masao Abe

I've just learned of the passing of one of my teachers, Masao Abe Sensei. During my sojourn at the Pacific School of Religion Professor Abe was a visiting scholar. I took several of the classes he offered and was one of a gaggle that provided secretarial services to the old teacher.He was the one who taught me that Zen practice and scholarship were not incompatable...Masao Abe, 91Leader in Inter-religious DialogueObituary by the Reverend Doctor James Fredericks, Professor Theological Studies at … [Read more...]

Six Weeks On

It’s now a tad over six weeks since beginning my sabbatical. I’m settled into my Chicago rhythms. Turns out I’ve only had to make minor adjustments to my plans for the class. I expected worse...My only formal college teaching experience before had been a day class at a Community College. I’m a great fan of Junior Colleges, as a High School dropout, California’s amazing Junior College system, and particularly evening school opportunities became my ticket into higher education. I suspect therefore … [Read more...]