Carrots, Sticks, Paddles, and Autopilot

Buddhist wisdom says there are three ways we naturally approach anything—desire, aversion, or indifference. For the sake of convenience, I call them, “yum!” “eeeeewwww” and “zzzzzz.” I see a slice of cheese cake. “Yum!” I love cheese cake. So, I desire the slice of cheese cake. I grab it. Five hundred calories down my gullet. [Read More...]

However They Have Writ the Style of Gods: Wounds and Healing

Here is the beautiful truth—saints and sinners are the same from the start. Hsu Yun, Chinese Chan Buddhist (freely adapted by me) As a young writer, I read everything I could find on the subject of writing. One of the books that impressed me at the time was written by novelist John Gardner called Moral [Read More...]

Pagans, Cheasters, and Nones: Easter and Open-Source Religion

This coming Easter morning, many people will rise and look east. Some will go to a Christian church for their only visit this year. Many will be reminded by priests and preachers that this one day is not enough. Those strangers to churches will be telling the oldest of religious truths: it is the people, [Read More...]

Let’s Agree to Agree on Subjectivity

There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer. ~Gertrude Stein   In last week’s post I looked at one way to smooth the waters between theists and non-theists, Pragmatism. Pragmatists say, if it works for you, it’s true. Now, I know that’s a bit [Read More...]

A Semi-Private Idaho and Life in the Goldilocks Zone

  Living in your own private Idaho  underground like a wild potato  The B52s You’ve heard about the “Goldilocks Zone,” that temperate place where H2O exists in the form of water and scientists speculate life might exist on other planets. I think a Unitarian Universalist congregation should be a Goldilocks Zone where the free exchange [Read More...]

Seriously—Who Said We Can Choose Our Own Mysteries?

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. ~Oscar Wilde There is more than one type of mystery. Some mysteries aren’t even mysterious. For example, how a diesel engine works is a mystery to many, but only those who haven’t taken the time to look at diesel engines. They are a [Read More...]

Fallen Angels, Rising Apes, and the Knowledge of the Serpent

I. In addition to the Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles, the congregation that I serve as minister ascribes to a set of aspirational statements that  are specifically humanist. Our first Aspiration is, “To live joyfully and ethically, in loving, reverent relationship with humanity and nature.” Why do we say such a thing? Because we are countering [Read More...]

Sin Isn’t Very Original: Dostoyevsky and the Freedom to Really Mess Things Up

I have a terrible confession: almost all of the calories I consume in a day, I consume after 8pm. No, I don’t cook extravagant dinners late at night. Far from it. I eat junk. I’m not proud of it. I know that eating late at night is the worst sort of thing for my health. [Read More...]

Nature, Nurture, Murder: The Lessons of the Eugenics Craze

In the world of super heroes, it’s called an “origin story,” that trauma that led to the super hero being super. Poor little Bruce Wayne watches helplessly as his parents are murdered. Superman rockets off the planet Krypton, sent away by his father moments before the planet explodes, only to find himself in Kansas where [Read More...]

Of Time and the Nebulous

Someday, they say, stars will stop   gelling—the hydrogen and   helium gone. Someday, each   star will call it a day & go to bits.   Someday the day will be as dark as   night, the hydrogen, the helium snuffed.   Someday, in, oh, say, ten billion billion years,   time will eddy & stop. Someday [Read More...]


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