This is the third in a series of posts examining David Bentley Hart’s book “The Experience of God”. You can find the other parts here. Aeons ago, I started writing a chapter by chapter review/analysis of David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God. I did the introduction and Chapter 1, and then stopped the series in despair: the faults of the book seemed too many to detail, and I couldn’t stomach the effort. However, numerous people have written to me since then to… Read more

Atheist Sam Harris is in the news again. Again, he is criticized for being Islamophobic, and again prominent atheist bloggers have come to his defense. Read more

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance (to me) of activists cultivating good character traits: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. I truly think these are important virtues for everyone, and especially important when we activists work with each other to improve the world. But I also said, pretty strongly, that I don’t like working with people who are “mean.” Some people have asked, reasonably enough, what I mean by “mean” – a particularly important question, because often people try to… Read more

In my years as an activist many of my core values have stayed the same. I am still committed to maximal liberty of the individual, compatible with others’ rights. I am still for government intervention to help people get more free. I am still enraged by injustice and willing to fight against it. One area my views have developed, though, regards the importance of individual character. “Character” feels like an old-fashioned word, perhaps even a conservative one. When people speak… Read more

Write or say anything about a currently-controversial political topic, and you are likely to swiftly be drawn into a discussion about words: “I don’t think you/we should use word x. We should use word y instead! It’s more understandable / welcoming / less threatening / more common.” These discussions can be frustrating: often I want to discuss the issues my words are referring to, rather than the words I have chosen to describe the issue. Sometimes, these discussions are enraging, because by disagreeing… Read more

Yesterday I wrote that if you’re not for racial justice you’re not a Humanist. That (to me) uncontroversial statement provoked a predictable backlash among some “Humanists,” who prefer their worldview racial justice-free. The critics seemed to have two main objections. The first is standard racial obliviousness: the idea that colorblindness is, in fact, the best way to deal with racism, and the only way consistent with Humanism. For, this line of thinking goes, what could be more Humanist than treating everyone… Read more

I just finished reading Prof. Anthony Pinn’s book When Colorblindness Isn’t the Answer: Humanism and the Challenge of Race. It’s excellent. It’s a fantastic exploration of race and racial justice from a Humanist perspective, for Humanists. In a series of short chapters Pinn explores issues like the complex role of belief in god in African American history; the position of African Americans vis-a-vis movement Humanism; the nature of white privilege; and hip hop culture as a source of inspiration for Humanists. Pinn’s… Read more

This Pride Cleve Jones came to St. Louis. The Cleve Jones. Cleve Jones of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and When We Rise, legendary LGBTQIA+ activist and total badass. He was in town to be Grand Marshal of our Pride Parade and to speak about his new book (also called When We Rise), and it was at his book talk where I heard him speak and he re-energized me for the fights ahead. The past three years have been a tough time to be… Read more

I experience a lot of emotional situations in my work. I’m a clergy person, and I sit with people as they wrestle with questions of life and death. I’m an activist, and I have had more than my share of tense and scary moments on the streets. But tonight’s panel on religion and LGBTQIA+ issues, convened jointly by PFLAG St. Charles and Growing American Youth was one of the most intense emotional roller-coasters of my life, and I sit here crying hot… Read more

A Double Shot of Paranoia I’m at Starbucks to meet Joy Maxwell. Maxwell is Curriculum Coordinator for the increasingly controversial “Best Choice” sex education program, a project operated by ThriVe St. Louis and taught in public schools in and around the Midwestern city. In recent weeks, Best Choice has been the subject of numerous articles – and even protests – questioning its scientific accuracy and its promotion of conservative Christian moral attitudes about sex. I’ve been offered the opportunity to review the… Read more

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