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...]

Soon, soon…

Vernal Equinox Druid

It has been a brutal winter here in olde New England. More than a hundred inches of snow just north of where I'm living.And yes, darn you, they say we're facing another inch or two or three over night...But.But, in the last couple of days I've seen buds of various plants popping up, sometimes in the most unlikely places. One friend says he removed some snow and lo and behold there were several buds...And now I see in the traditional Chinese calendar this is Chunfen! It's the … [Read more...]

Stephen Fry, Master Criminal

Stephen Fry

I have a couple of English Facebook friends so I've been aware that a popular television show called, I think, Gearheads, I think about cars has had some major changes of personnel. Some scandal or other. I didn't pay close attention. Until I just saw that Stephen Fry is coming aboard as host. But then one of my English Facebook friends, or maybe its a friend of a friend made a snide comment about how he has a slew of speeding tickets (which seemed to me to be something of a requirement for a … [Read more...]

An obdurate, contumacious, and incorrigible heretic

burned at the stake

It was on this day in 1612 that Bartholomew Legate was burned at the stake in Smithfield, England.Three weeks later Edward Wightman would be the last person executed for heresy in England.Legate is of interest to me for several reasons, not least of which was the heresy for which he suffered was socinianism, that is believing and preaching the natural humanity of Jesus.Bartholomew and his brother Thomas were born into a merchant family specializing in cloth. Their spiritual … [Read more...]