The Mindfulness of Stoicism   Part 2.

Last week I began discussing the seven Stoic methods of inner-discipline (what’s popularly called spiritual practice). Number one is “Write and Reflect in the Morning.” The list continues: 2. Focus on Your Goals 3. Take the Long and the High View 4. Visualize Catastrophe and Practice Letting Go 5. Practice Self Control  6. Go [Read More…]

Stoic Mindfulness

As the number of the post-religious skyrockets in the United States, the “mindfulness” train is picking up speed. Mindfulness answers a basic question: how do we tame our own thoughts? Most mindfulness programs are based in Buddhist practice, but the study of Stoicism is a growing trend. Stoicism has the advantage of being a Western [Read More…]

Cosmopolitanism in a Time of Petty Nationalism 

To be Humanist is to say, with the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, “My city is the world.” (In Greek the English word “world” is “kosmos.”) Humanists are necessarily cosmopolites, not because we are always leaping on jets touring the planet, but because we have realized that all perceived differences in humanity (homo sapiens sapiens) are [Read More…]

When Hope Seems Silly

The life that no longer trusts another human being and no longer forms ties to the political community is not a human life any longer. ~Martha Nussbaum This summer of 2016 has been a summer of tragedy. Many are mentioning the summer of 1968 as the last time so much bad news crowded a season. [Read More…]

Aesop and the Story After Dallas

One of Aesop’s Fables goes like this: Lion once went once hunting with Fox, Jackal, and Wolf. They hunted and they hunted, and at last they surprised a stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question of how to divide the spoils of their hunt. “Rip the stag into four pieces!” roared Lion. [Read More…]

A Review of Grace Without God: the Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozment.

By Rev. Dr. David Breeden A question from one of her children sends Ozment on a five year quest. As they watch an Eastern Orthodox procession, one of her kid’s asks, “What are we?” The question brings her up short. Ozment long ago lost any attachment to her childhood Presbyterianism, and her husband is a [Read More…]

They Ain’t Heavy: UU Pluralism and Its Discontents 

One of the most serious issues for a tradition such as Unitarian Universalism that has embraced pluralism as a central doctrine is how to navigate the fraught waters of pluralism itself. Furthermore, when a collection of congregations with very different traditions join together—as is the case for General Assemblies—the chance of odd and jolting disjunctions [Read More…]

Beyond the Congeries of Banks: Finding a Moral Center

After the September 1938 Munich Pact with which the European democracies ceded territory to Nazi Germany in exchange for what turned out to be one more uneasy year of peace, poet T.S. Eliot wrote: We could not match conviction with conviction, we had no ideas with which we could either meet or oppose the ideas [Read More…]

A Plea for a Philosophical Plank in Party Platforms

“The good life.” Lordy, lordy . . . I’m not hearing about it on CNN. The good life and what makes a good life has been the focus of philosophers across the planet and throughout human history. But I haven’t heard much that might be called philosophical in the current US presidential cycle. This might [Read More…]

Swing Vote in the Bitter Election: Reflections on Orlando

The recent massacre in the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida is unfortunately an example of why the oft-repeated phrase “the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice” is bad theology and dangerous magical thinking. While the phrase offers hope, it offers false hope, and President Obama, who loves the phrase coined by Theodore [Read More…]