Ta-Nehisi Coates: Essential Summer Reading (and why freedom of the press was invented)

Though the idea had been around for millennia, the 1662 book Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality by John Graunt generally gets credit for awakening European governments (and insurance companies) to the usefulness of aggregating data. We don’t think much about it nowadays when we hear how many Americans will die [Read More...]

Informed Eclecticism: Why Unitarian Universalism Needs Wing Nuts

The Very Hungry Syncretism Orthodox Unitarian Universalism is syncretic, in theologian-lingo. In philosophy and the arts it’s called eclecticism, and I prefer that term because it’s a bit closer to common English usage. UUs are often eclectic in religious orientation—mindfulness, yoga, perhaps a nod toward reincarnation, some awareness of Jungian psychology, a bit of Process [Read More...]

Guest Blogger Maria Greene asks, Why is Humanism So Scary for the UUA?

In the late 1960s—like so many other liberal movements—Humanism lost its way. Understandably, many Universalist and Unitarian congregations held onto Humanism long after the philosophy had grown moribund. The cultural currents shifted toward an eclectic mix of Christian liturgy, Buddhist practice, yoga and “spiritual but not religious.” Humanism did not adapt. Many of us held [Read More...]

Unitarian Humanism, That Peculiar Animal

Integrity. The word comes from the Latin, integer, “intact.” Related words include integer, a “whole number,” and integrate, “to put together.” When a boat has “watertight integrity” it doesn’t leak . . . much. Integrity is a feeling of psychological wholeness we get when our moral ideals matche our actions. It is the wholeness of [Read More...]

Black Churches, Black Lives, the Legacy of Whiteness

Nation Building The United States government has failed at nation-building and democracy-creating more often than not. And never so badly as in the case of the defeated Confederate States of America. I’m an outcome of that failure, as is the white terrorist who recently murdered people in their own church. We are an old and [Read More...]

Welcome To The Age of Practice

It’s Been a While The first person to doubt. Did she or he doubt because of oppression; because of terror or grief; or just the opposite—because of some heady freedom; because of safety and joy? Was perhaps the first person to doubt also the first to believe? What is it in human consciousness that causes [Read More...]

News Flash: Banana Cream Pie Eats Planet

Time Share Proposition: The Earth is a time-share condo. Like a time-share condo, each of us gets just so much of the Earth and just so much time on it. As with a time-share condo, we are dependent upon the last ones to occupy the space; we are responsible to the next ones who will [Read More...]

The Myth of Science Versus Religion

Getting the Metaphor Right It was the German writer Heinrich Heine who imagined a battle of Hebrews versus Hellenes. Soon it began to be imagined as Jerusalem versus Athens. Nowadays we endlessly tease at the science / religion chasm. Endlessly we ask: is it a chasm? A great divide? Is it reconcilable? Heine was looking [Read More...]

The Olympics of a Reflective Life

The Nose On Your Face I often find it best to start out by stating the obvious, and this is what I think is obvious, anyway, about those of us who choose our philosophy or religious tradition: We pick one (or pick elements of various ones) because we find those suggested practices and commitments useful [Read More...]

Religion American Style (and the Church of Crazy)

Off the Boat and Out of the Box Let’s face it, the United States has produced some way-crazy religions. Not to name any names, but anybody can name names . . . way crazy. Sometimes, when I hear from some of the progeny of those way-crazy religions, I have to wish that the Reformation hadn’t [Read More...]