Humanism and a Theology of Liberation (Without Strangling Priests)

Humanism does not require the death of God. All it requires is the affirmation of human freedom. William R. Jones ONE OF THOSE VICIOUS CIRCLES The French philosopher Denis Diderot, an Enlightenment era humanist, gets my vote for the most succinct summary of the connection between government, religion, and oppression: “People will never be free [Read More...]

Selma Plus Fifty: Time For an Eight-Lane Bridge

WHERE ONLY BLACK MEN JAYWALK We are rightly celebrating the bravery of people—both the famous and the forgotten—who contributed to the events at Selma, Alabama fifty years ago, events that led to a sea change in the civil rights of many US citizens. The anniversary has led inevitably to a question: Are things better now? [Read More...]

Apocalypse: What Death Cults Really Want

The recent Atlantic article by Graeme Wood, “What Isis Really Wants,” examines the Isis phenomenon from the vantage point of apocalyptic movements. It’s an insightful article. I’m just a bit confused at the reaction. We’ve had apocalyptic thinking living in our midst here in the US for some time. I grew up Pentecostal. Now that’s [Read More...]

Greenery Without People: The Future of Post-Religious Community

I don’t get it about the natural world. Like, greenery, without people in it, is supposed to do what? ~Charles Smith   How to do religious community in a post-religious world . . . . As a senior minister in an urban congregation, it’s something I think about every day. For most urban North Americans, [Read More...]

Selma: Death of a Meta-narrative

OK, I admit it—I love it when postmodernism calls it right. And the screeches and whines that have emanated over media since the film appeared are the sound of metanarratives dying. It was the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard who postulated that the essence of postmodernism is “incredulity toward metanarratives.” A metanarrative is a big overarching myth [Read More...]

As the movement builds, let us remember

I learned in school that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. What I did not learn in school was that he had a vision and a clear sense of what it would take to get there. I was taught about how he worked to end racism, but not taught that he had [Read More...]

Covenant: Broken Promises, Dumb Ideas, and Ways Forward

Captain, We’re Out of Beer! When those adventurers we now call the Pilgrims realized they weren’t going to make it to Virginia on their beer supply, they did what most idealists do, they jumped ship. But first they wrote up a little agreement for themselves that nowadays we call the Mayflower Covenant. This was 1620. [Read More...]

Religion: It’s What You Do

Seriously, No Joke Have you ever noticed how pointless it is to ask someone, “What’s your religion?” The answer is likely to be a proper noun, such as Baptist or Hindu. But what does that designation mean to the person answering the question? Does such an answer really tell us anything? Beyond, perhaps, an origin [Read More...]

Don’t Let the Light Go Out

The Feast of Hanukkah, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in particular and the resistance of a religious people to eradication and assimilation in general, begins at sundown today, to be celebrated for 8 days (as it has for over 2000 years) until sundown on Wednesday, the 24th. In the classic textbook A History of [Read More...]

White Privilege: Kumbaya Won’t Cut It

How Sad A sad fact: Many things that are good for society or the earth itself are not good for me, me, me. Higher taxes hurt people like me. A livable minimum wage costs people like me. Fair trade costs me money. Carbon cap and trade hurts the pocket books of people like me, me, me. [Read More...]


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