Jim Ford, and the Briefest on What’s in a Name?

Jim Ford

I was scrolling through Wikipedia's timeline for today when I saw Jim Ford was born today in 1941. Not me, the musician.My father was a black sheep and cut off from his family, and as a result I always notice Fords, and just because of names, James Fords when they pop up. So far none has ever proven to be a relative at least much this side of Adam and Eve. Actually, Jan and I gave each other genetic tests as a Christmas gift some years back and I discovered I'm point of fact in the Anglo … [Read more...]

If Reason Isn’t Going to Save Us, What, If Anything Will?


“It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” Bertrand RussellYesterday, one of my fellow Patheos bloggers, Connor Wood, over at Science on Religion makes some compelling arguments on why a world run on strictly rational grounds is probably doomed. Compelling, yes, although not completely convincing. Particularly as his assumption seems to be that without some outside force, like, say, a religion with its arbitrary c … [Read more...]

The Bible I find Helpful: Small Confessions


Yesterday I vented a little spleen regarding my negative feelings about the Bible.I noted how it "is filled with wildly disparate perspectives, folk tales, a blending of genuine history and wishful thinking, and contradictory ideas about what a god might be and what God is or is not, as well as head-jerkingly wildly conflicting ethical codes..."All true.And, I went on to say therefore the Bible really isn't all that helpful. But that isn't really so. Yes, I think anyone who … [Read more...]

A Tip of the Hat to the Count

Count Basie

William James Basie was born on this day in 1904. Better known to the likes of you and me as Count Basie. And a royal he was... … [Read more...]

A Briefest Thought About Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Today Jimmy Carter announced that the cancer he had spoken of in the past few days has in fact spread to his brain. It seems hard to believe he will live much longer. And so I find myself thinking of him...By most ways of counting Jimmy Carter was not a very successful president. Although it needs to be noted that America didn't enter into any armed conflicts during his tenure. The only American military who died beyond the ordinary accidents of life, were the eight tragically killed during … [Read more...]

On Being Required to Bring a Bible to a Workshop: A Small Meditation, Or, Perhaps, a Tiny Rant

hogarth preacher 1

I was just reading instructions for an upcoming training I will be attending, a condition of employment as an interim minister. The instructions included a requirement that we bring a Bible, or at the very least be prepared to grab a Gideon at the hotel. It will be used.A principal aspect of my spiritual discipline is to watch my reactions. In that moment as I read about bringing a Bible I felt a small flare of annoyance. Now, for those unfamiliar, I am a minister within the Unitarian … [Read more...]

An Outlaw is Killed, a Song is Born

John Wesley Hardin

As it happens it was on this day in 1895 that frontier outlaw and admitted mass murderer John Wesley Hardin was shot in an El Paso saloon. That kind of ends this blog entry's connection to the historic Mr Hardin.A bunch of years later in 1967 Bob Dylan, who had a long time interest in outlaw cowboys composed a song that, admittedly was only directly connected to Hardin through the rhythm of his name, becoming the enigmatic but haunting John Wesley Harding.For me, at least in part, the … [Read more...]

Feeding a Cold: In Quest of the Perfect Recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup


"And Tom brought him chicken soup until he wanted to kill him. The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is no bad thing to have for the funeral either." John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath.(My vegan and vegetarian friends may wish to avert their eyes from the following. I promise to return to my generally vegan, well certianly vegetarian friendly prose in due course...)Sadly, all is not peaches and … [Read more...]

So, Hurray for Miracles


The good folk at Wikipedia inform me that Vietnamese Catholics celebrate today to mark an apparition of Mary in late Eighteenth century Vietnam. As is not uncommon, the appearance occurred during hard times, in this case in a period of persecution against Vietnamese Catholics.Divine eruptions into the world, or, more baldly, stories of breaking the rules of nature as evidence of some holy principal seem to be as old as human beings. Certainly as old as human beings writing things down. I … [Read more...]

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


After a couple of sneak previews, it was on this day in 1939 that the Wizard of Oz officially opened at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Roger Ebert wrote, "'The Wizard of Oz' has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects and excitement, but we still watch it six decades later because its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them." Given that the film was released in 1939 when the world was already … [Read more...]