Autumn Light, Surprise

So, evening fell on you, didn’t it? And you did not know   what day. Did not know what had broken. You had   not expected it to have gone so far, the year. Did not   expect to have rounded again from light to dark on   this day. And it’s surely some saint’s [Read More...]

Who’s In and Who’s Out of Institutions (and the immigrants between)

The British social anthropologist Mary Douglas had this to say about institutions: Inside a religious body you get sects and hierarchies, inside an information network you get bazaars and cathedrals, it is the same, call them what you like. They survive by pointing the finger of blame at each other. That about sums it up, [Read More...]

Bombing Again? But It’ll Work This Time!

There’s really no need to refer to specifics. When you’ve been a citizen of the United States as long as I have, you’ve heard it all before: national security; stopping this or that madman; ending drugs or terror or Communism; honor. Whatever. The point is always the same: now, in this situation, violence will actually [Read More...]

Dancing The Real

  You danced once, there, in those rocks. It meant something. It all did—you, your love, the beautiful stones. You danced there, happy. It meant something.   Those things, they were as real as the cotton in the threads of your scarf.   You danced there again, there, in those rocks. Many things meant something— [Read More...]

Naming the Ultimate, Part Two

A quick peek at www.godchecker.com gives some indication of the sheer number of times humanity has attempted to name The Ultimate. At this point philosophers–and even most theologians–have given up on a proof of god and left the battlefield. For some, a god or gods is there, for others, not so much. We can debate [Read More...]

Naming the Ultimate, Part One

I suspect that we think about the ultimate because we can’t manage to see ourselves as ultimate. Or infinite. Or eternal. Or all-knowing. And that hurts! It hurts to be a too, too solid, limited, fragile creature. So, we think about the Spirit of Life. God. The gods. The Ultimate Concern. Search the internet for [Read More...]

Weathering

When the storm comes in a bird sits on a limb in the suddenly solidly still humid air. I watch weather radar, listening to a child scream nearby– is it joy or fear? I raise a glass of ale brought to me all the way from London. I read the storm warnings with interest, large [Read More...]

Free Will, Fate, and Destiny: A Humanist Perspective

Human religions have always been built upon foundations of the best available science of the time. Sometimes that science said that the middle earth sat in a large tree. Sometimes science said the earth sat on a turtle’s back. Ezekiel knew that the earth had four corners and was held up by pillars–heavens above, Sheol [Read More...]

America’s God (a lullaby)

“It was all God’s plan.” George Zimmerman In the United States, God  loves white and violent, it seems; loves what’s inhuman, it looks. Look at His plan working as it does. In the US, God loves those laws that fill the jails, that fill the pockets of the rich, it appears. Just look. He– yes, [Read More...]

My Covenant with All That Is

I pledge to follow The earth’s gentle curve As I go; I pledge to breathe only air as I am able; I pledge to breathe often; I pledge to eat of the earth; Nothing other shall pass my lips. I pledge to wend along the ways, Trodding earth, never air, Clouds and sun above, What [Read More...]


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