A Feast for Bill & the Poetry of Reality


The Anglican church observes a feast in honor of William of Ockham on this day, the 10th of April. I so love the Anglicans...While he is important for a number of reasons, the big one is philosophical parsimony, named "Occam's razor" for him.Without it, we really wouldn't have modern science.To shift the metaphor for just a second, I've found his principle of not adding unnecessary extras a north star for a lot of my thinking. For me the razor has cut through so much nonsense that's … [Read more...]

Bonhoeffer Dies


It was on this day in 1945, as the allies were closing in and just two weeks before the collapse of the Nazi regime, one day after a trial before an SS judge, at dawn the Reverend Dietrich Bonhoeffer was stripped naked, marched to the place of execution, and hung. It is unclear whether he had been tortured before, but historians are increasingly of the opinion that he was, possibly for as long as six hours.A leader of the Confessing Church, Bonhoeffer had been convicted of joining in a … [Read more...]

Happy birthday, Billie!


Eleanore Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday was born on this day in 1915. … [Read more...]


empty tomb

THE MIND OF EASTER, THE HEART OF EASTERA Zen Buddhist MidrashJames Ishmael Ford5 April 2015 First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandToday is Easter. The most holy of Christian holidays.The Gospel of Mark is generally considered the oldest of the canonical gospels, the time-hallowed stories of Jesus and his ministry. The sixteenth chapter of Mark tells the story of Easter in its most unelaborated version.And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary … [Read more...]

Inside the Stone Crypt: A Zen Meditation on Holy Saturday

Jesus in tomb

As I write these words, my auntie, who has lived with us for the past twenty-three years is in the next room, dying. The hospice nurse believes we have a couple of hours. I was looking at various things, and noticed I'd written a reflection on Holy Saturday a couple of years ago. Felt appropriate to reprint it today, another Holy Saturday...Today is Holy Saturday, perhaps the strangest and with that among the more compelling days of the Christian calendar.Jesus is dead. With that in the … [Read more...]

A Good Friday Meditation on the Shooting of Jesse James by Robert Ford

Jesse James

I see how we have the confluence of a minor historical event in American history, the day that the outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed by Robert Ford in 1882 (no apparent relation, for those who care), and this year Good Friday in the Western Christian calendar, falling into the same moment.The trigger for a connection to me is how my grandmother, a Missouri native, believed to the day she died that the James boys were driven to their crimes by the banks and the railroads and their … [Read more...]

Becoming as a Little Child: Yamada Mumon’s Zen


A lovely clip of an interview with Yamada Mumon Roshi by Trevor Leggett, together with a snippet of dokusan with him, from my friend Dosho Port. … [Read more...]

The Power and Beauty of Human Memory: A Brief Meditation on the Christian Communion


It was on this day in 1717 that Benjamin Hoadly, the Anglican bishop of Bangor preached a sermon before a congregation that included the king, George the 1st. It was in large part a response to the late Anglican divine George Hikes posthumously published "Constitution of the Catholic Church, and the Nature and Consequences of Schism." Pretty inside baseball stuff for Anglicans and their tension as both Catholic and Protestant. The bishop's rejoinder, the sermon preached today nearly three … [Read more...]

Healing the Heart

salus hygieia_

In the hubbub around the Jewish and Christian religions' major holidays this week, we should not forget today, at least by Ovid's reckoning is also a time to recall the Roman goddess Salus.Her origins disappear into the mists of antiquity, but she is the patron of health, welfare, and prosperity, or as Wikipedia puts it of "safety and well-being." Somewhere along the line she was identified with the Greek goddess Hygeia, and as Salus-Hygeia her icon would include a snake and an offering … [Read more...]

There’s No Crying in Baseball

no crying in baseball

Just sayin' … [Read more...]