A Toolkit for Resisting Totalitarianism 

For my money the philosopher Hannah Arendt offers the most profound analysis of the causes of totalitarianism. During and after the Second World War, Arendt spent a lot of time researching and thinking about totalitarianism and wrote such classics as The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. [Read More…]

Working for Posterity

Sir Boyle Roche was an eighteenth century Irish politician known even today because of his unfortunate turns of phrase. He was the master of mixed metaphors. He once said, “Mr Speaker, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I’ll nip him in the bud.” Sir Roche [Read More…]

The True Origin Story

February 12th is the 208th birthday of Charles Darwin. In celebration, I want to look at a couple of extracts from his writing. The first is from The Descent of Man, published in 1871: As man (sic) advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual [Read More…]

Building Walls, Banning the Human 

“Blame is a valuable antidote to helplessness.” Martha Nussbaum I spent last Monday morning in a multi-faith press conference where the subject was the recent immigration ban by the Trump administration. We heard from Muslims, Jews, and Christians. All read scriptures concerning how “the stranger” is to be treated. All agreed that “god” wishes the [Read More…]

Circles of Concern: How to Talk Politics

The bad news is…well, there’s a hell of a lot of it. But the good news is that many people are choosing to engage in politics and protest in a way they never have before. Which is awesome, and the main thing that gives me hope these days. But the thing is, like anything else [Read More…]

Blessing the Organizers

Beloveds, thank you for showing up. We sing: organize, organize, organize We bear witness to the courage and the power – our own and each others. Last month we created a ritual for the Blessing of Organizers for a service led by the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal and I offer it to [Read More…]

Alternative Facts and Reason in Religion

  There are no alternative facts. There are alternative theories when we don’t know the facts. There are alternative ways of looking at interpreting the facts. But there are no alternative facts. I say this as someone who is not scientifically trained. I’m a poet and a minister. But I know that artists and ministers [Read More…]

“Great Men” and the Tide of History

“Hindsight is 20/20” goes the cliche. And in my experience a lot of people want to say “I told you so.” I have to say I’m a terrible pundit—over and over in the last US presidential election cycle I predicted the meltdown of Donald Trump. I was wrong every time. I got it completely wrong [Read More…]

America’s deadly theological crisis

My special holiday guest blogger is Rev. Jim Foti, assistant minister at the congregation I serve. He delivered a version of this reflection over the Martin Luther King weekend. The first clear thought I had back in the wee hours of November 9th was that a lot of people are going to die. Unchecked climate [Read More…]