Dreaming of Steinbeck’s Country

It was today, May the 6th, in 1940, that John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel the Grapes of Wrath. He also won the National Book Award for the book, and when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, it was cited as principal among his writings.That novel has been celebrated, occasionally castigated, and summarized in film and song. I even wrote a sermon about it.I consider the Grapes of Wrath one of the great novels of our American heritage.He was a life … [Read more...]

B. R. Ambedkar and His Wonderful Vision for a New Buddhism

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born on this day in 1891. He is better known as B. R. Ambedkar, sometimes Dr Ambedkar, and to the many whom he served throughout his life, as Babasheb. Dr Ambedkar is one of the singular figures of the Indian revolution. And, significantly, in the years that followed, as a religious reformer.I wrote an appreciation of Babasheb last year. He is someone who should be known better than he is, and recalled by those of us who do know him. I slightly expand that … [Read more...]

In the Neighborhood: A Meditation on the Golden Rule, Cheaters, and Prophets

Jan and I were walking into the parking lot after a quick run to one of our local grocery stores, when we noticed a bumper sticker. At first glance it seemed one of those “co-exist” stickers with the letters twisted out of symbols from the world religions. However, as we looked more closely we could see it was a parody of that sticker and instead, while using world religions letters it read “contradict.”I’m certainly okay with that. I mean, after all. But, then in smaller print was a citation … [Read more...]

A Dream for America

Words from Valarie Kaur.One of the more beautiful reflections I've heard in a long time.I can only hope it is true. … [Read more...]

BENDING TOWARD JUSTICE Theodore Parker’s Religion, and Ours

BENDING TOWARD JUSTICE Theodore Parker's Religion, and OursJames Ishmael FordA Sermon5 February 2017 Unitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaTheodore Parker was born on the family farm in Lexington, Massachusetts, on August the 24th, 1810. His paternal grandfather, John, was in command of the Minutemen on that day thirty-five years earlier. When the Minutemen confronted the British regulars, he declared, “If they mean to have war, let it begin here.” And there it … [Read more...]

A SONG OF JONAH: Or, What Happens When the Prophet is a Jerk

A SONG OF JONAH Or, What Happens When the Prophet is a JerkJames Ishmael FordA Sermon Delivered at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church Canoga Park, California29 January 2017A StoryNow God said to Jonah, “Arise, go to Los Angeles, that great city, and cry against their wickedness.” But instead Jonah rose up to flee to Seattle and went and found a ship. God sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest, so that the ship was about to be broken up off t … [Read more...]

Thinking of Doctors Without Borders on the Forty-Fifth Anniversary of their Founding

It was on this day in 1971 that the Group d'Intervention Medical et Chirugicale en Urgency and Secours Medical Francais merged to form Medicines Sans Frontiers. Doctors Without Borders has gone on to work tirelessly to aid people in the worst of circumstances, focusing on serving people in need during armed conflicts, as well as in areas plagued with endemic diseases.According to Wikipedia "In 2015, over 30,000 personnel — mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, l … [Read more...]