The “Trinsics”: Where are You Coming From?

Psychologist Gordon Allport argued that there are two types of religious experience—the extrinsic and the intrinsic. Extrinsic religious orientation has little to do with religion and lots to do with social norms, rules, and regulations. Allport said extrinsic orientation functions “to provide security and solace, sociability and distraction, status and self-justification.” This sort of religion [Read More…]

People Who Have Come ALIVE!

  What makes you come alive my friend? This week I grateful to bear witness to people coming alive in the world: The Swarm, our affectionate nickname for the group of Unitarian Universalists from two congregations in Massachusetts who have been coming to New Orleans for service every November since Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood [Read More…]

Congregational Humanist Liturgy: Creating a Religion-Neutral Zone

The Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi (370-287 BCE) told this story: Once three friends were discussing life. One said: “Can people live together and know nothing of life, work together and produce nothing? Can people fly around in the air and forget to exist, forever and ever?” The three friends looked at each other and burst out [Read More…]

PC

It’s been interesting watch the dialog about ethnic Halloween costumes go by on my Facebook page. It has ranged from a Chinese-American friend posting a picture of a “Chinese” costume that featured yellow face paint (Really? Have you ever seen a Chinese person who was actually yellow?) to a friend who was genuinely bewildered that [Read More…]

Things that get in the way

I often tell the story of the time my Chaplain Supervisor told me, “Deanna, I wish you would stop being so hard on yourself” (She paused here and I had a moment to think sweetly “Oh, she really cares about me.” This tenderness quickly faded as she continued) – “because then you would stop being [Read More…]

Death of the Curate

Art museums are currently going through a sea change, and that sea change is about the difference between access and curating. Now, obviously, as in most either/or binaries, the answer is actually both/and, but binaries help us get clarity in our thinking.  Think of the old model of art museums: they served a curatorial function: [Read More…]

Putting First Things First: Congregations of Philosophers

In 1931 the Humanist Unitarian minister Curtis Reese looked into his crystal ball and wrote that society was moving “away from religion conceived as one of man’s concerns, and toward religion conceived as man’s one concern.” Why would a Humanist foresee religion becoming more, not less, central as a human concern? (Note that Reese had [Read More…]

Musing On Relevance

I meet monthly with clergy colleagues, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian of various stripes, all of whom are leaders of urban, liberal congregations. We clergy—and most of our members—do not see our own way as the only way. We believe that dialogue is the antidote to violence. None of us are fundamentalists. That said, none of [Read More…]

When I breathe in…

A few weeks ago, I shared a sermon called Still We Rise with a congregation in the Greater New Orleans Unitarian Universalist cluster.  Sometime later, I fed this sermon into a program that created the beautiful word cloud above.  To me, it feels like a visual prayer. This past week has been a storm of living for me, filled with [Read More…]

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…]


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