Mansplaining, Whitesplaning, and the Power of Listening

Totally unprepared are you To face a world of men Timid and shy and scared are you Of things beyond your ken The composition date is 1959, the composers Rogers and Hammerstein, the musical The Sound of Music. “You are Sixteen Going on Seventeen” is perhaps the epitome of mansplaining. Mansplaining. It’s about speaking from [Read More...]

Five Reasons to Congregate in a Congregation

Why bother joining a congregation rather than, oh, say, a bowling league? 1. To meet people. OK, yes it’s true that you will meet new people by joining a bowling league as well, but by joining a particular sort of congregation, you will find a particular sort of people. In Unitarian Universalist congregations, and particularly [Read More...]

Integrity and the Big Hole in Wholeness

You’ve heard it; you’ve thought it; perhaps you’ve even said it: “She is SO together!” “How does everybody else keep it together?” “I SHOULD get myself together.” “I can’t get it together!” “Why can’t I get myself together?” “I’ve got to get myself together!” “It’s time I get myself together!” But what’s so together about [Read More...]

The Duality Fallacy

The Methodist Church across the street from my church has a large lighted sign that reads, “It Will All Be OK!” Having been raised a Christian, I know what they mean by that. It’s a reassuring message. Perhaps those who put those words out there even believe it. It is, however, a myopic view and [Read More...]

How Secular is “Religious”?

We don’t know how the ready access to information will ultimately change the human condition, but religions are already feeling the heat. A person today can, with a few keystrokes, discover facts about religions that, when I was young, were assiduously and successfully suppressed—particularly in those traditions common among disadvantaged people such as I was. [Read More...]

Some Basics About #Humanism

Definition: Humanism is an evidence-based value system dedicated to freedom of thought and the promotion of the well-being of the planet and living things. Humanism in Seven Points People matter more than ideas. People have many ways of knowing, many ways of discovering and expressing what it means to be human. All ways matter. Art [Read More...]

On the Right to Take Up Space

(homily for a prayer vigil for those murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina) I. Power is about controlling space. Fundamentally, power is about controlling space. Governments do it with borders. Governments do it with armies and navies and air forces. Governments do it with police. Power is about controlling space. In [Read More...]

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...]