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…]

No Gods, No Masters, and the Humanist Way of Thinking

Humanism developed in late Medieval Christianity, but moved on. European humanism reached high points in the Reformation and the Enlightenment and in Post-Second World War Europe and many of its colonies, including the US. But moved on. Humanism is not a philosophy. It is a way of thinking. This naturalistic way of thinking values observation [Read More…]

Cafeteria, Smorgasbord, Grubhub: Religion Delivery Today 

A Twitter meme says, “Spiritual but not religious: people who prefer to make up their own stuff rather than believe stuff others have made up.” Is that the essence of the changes happening on the US religious landscape? In a recent post I mentioned a bumper sticker I saw: “It’s not religion / it’s a relationship” [Read More…]

Oh, Peugeot of Many Names: on authentically using the term “god”

It Is What It Is Despite what many conventionally religious people appear to think, humanism does not exist to annoy the pious. As a matter of fact, some humanists are pious—in both the positive AND negative senses: righteous and self-righteous; reverent and sanctimonious. Piety comes in many guises and clings to various theistic and atheistic [Read More…]

#Religion: Let’s Talk About the Relationship

Recently I saw a bumper sticker: “It’s not a religion / It’s a relationship.” The bumper sticker was in black and white with a little cross on the left side. My first thought: “good marketing!” That phrase surely comes as the result of contemporary research showing that younger people, millennials, are looking for just that: [Read More…]

Getting a Mission On

If I’ve learned anything from serving and visiting several congregations, it is that survival is not a mission. Religious institutions either have a saving message or they don’t. They know why they exist or they don’t. When I see a thriving congregation, I see one that is continually asking itself why it exists at all. [Read More…]

#Mindfulness and the View We Take of Things

One on Every Corner There’s a lot of talk about spiritual practice these days. “Mindfulness” is everywhere—I have three apps that claim to encourage mindfulness on my phone. In the marketplace of ideas we have everything from secular Buddhists to religious naturalists. Like Walmart or Starbucks, spiritual practice appears to create demand for itself merely [Read More…]

Getting Real With Church (or: More Questions Than Answers)

In a recent blog post by marketing entrepreneur Seth Godin called “Supply and Demand” Godin says: “Just because you have a supply . . . that doesn’t necessarily mean you are entitled to demand” (4/23/2016). Godin is talking about business, but is this what is happening as US church attendance drops toward twenty-percent of the [Read More…]

So You Want a #Spiritual Experience? #SBNR

GET YOUR AWE ON Which religion offers the best chance at a spiritual experience? Thirty-nine percent of Evangelical Christians and 47% of Roman Catholics report having had such experiences sometime in their lives, the highest percentages among the religious. (“Spirituality” is a US phenomenon.) But the answer is none of the above. Fifty-four percent of [Read More…]

Bingo (and Religion) Exists and Is Everywhere About Us 

A RELIGIOUS NON-COMBATANT For some reason, when some folks discover I’m a humanist, they seem to think I want to argue about religion. I don’t want to argue about religion. As far as I’m concerned, religion is a lot like bingo: you’re interested or you’re not. Some people grow up in families or communities that [Read More…]


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