An Improvisational People

True confession: I don’t know a chancel from a narthex. This can become a liability when one is, as I am, employed as a Unitarian Universalist minister. When I visit places, I’ll get an instruction such as “sit to the right on the cancel.” Or the narthex. I don’t rememberer. Anyway, it’s a liability. I’m [Read More…]

I’m an Atheist! Now What?

As I mentioned in my last blog post, unlike progressive traditions such as the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalism, and Humanism—all of which stick closely to the college-educated demographic—atheism crosses all lines, from race to class to gender, et cetera. Some people never believe in a god; some realize one day that they have [Read More…]

Could It Get Better? The Problem of Progressivism 

I am writing this morning at a McDonalds in a small farm town near my family farm in the Ohio River Valley. I go to McDonalds for the wifi, not available in the mom and pop cafes. The customers in the restaurant this morning are farmers rushing in for a sandwich and coffee before they [Read More…]

The National Day of . . . Counter-Narratives #NationalDayofReason

Dominant narratives. They dominate. They tell a story that most people in a group want to hear. Those stories reinforce the beliefs of the dominant group. And the prejudices of the dominant group. In 1952 the US Congress declared a National Day of Prayer, which is nowadays officially the first Thursday in May. In the [Read More…]

Ashes to Ashes, Humus to Humus, and Humility 

Humility. Everyone knows it’s a virtue, since its opposite is . . . what? hubris? Excessive pride? Well, anyway, something not good. But what does humility look like? And—since its a virtue and therefore something good to have—how do we achieve it? In an April 15, 2017 op-ed for the New York Times, Peter Wehner, [Read More…]

Hey, UU, Time For a Redo

Fear. Anxiety. It’s free-floating among those of a liberal bent these days. This week has seen more turmoil in the Unitarian Universalist Association. It’s time to do some breathing. Let’s go back a bit in time: When our evolutionary forebears crawled out of the warm, salty sea and set out to make a go of it [Read More…]

In the Name of Love

There has been a lot to process in the Unitarian Universalist world over the past few weeks. I want to take a moment to focus on the calling in that beloveds in our faith have lifted up regarding the persistence of white supremacist culture in our institutional structure as the Unitarian Universalist Association. Today, April [Read More…]

Assumptions are Imaginary But They’re not Social

In Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin wrote, Society is held together by our need; we bind it together with legend, myth, coercion, fearing that without it we will be hurled into that void, within which, like the earth before the Word was spoken, the foundations of society are hidden. From this void—ourselves—it is [Read More…]

An Antidote to Racial Theatre

Review of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. New York: Broadway Books, 2017. Whatever your political leanings, Democracy in Black is an essential book. Princeton University history professor Eddie Glaude mixes the gravitas of an academic historian with the brio of a concerned citizen writing a [Read More…]

Dreaming White

An acquaintance (who is white) once related one of the nightmares of his life. He had been a high school student at Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 when the school was desegregated by court order. One morning, the students were summoned to the school gym. To drown out the speaker, students broke [Read More…]