Company at the Bedside

On a good night these days our Little Bean (aka, Little Night Owl) will unwind herself very, very slowly towards sleep, slowly-but-steadily, mostly on her own. We have always accompanied her as she falls asleep, and it’s neat now to see her, at 1-and-a-half, sometimes able to navigate the journey herself. Keeping her company while [Read More...]

Nomination for Most Necessary Picture: Twelve Years a Slave

I wish I could talk to my Great-Aunt Marie about the movie Twelve Years a Slave, but regrettably “Neenie” died when I was three. This spinster librarian from Detroit did, however, leave a legacy—a self-published book of family history. Written in 1957, this book documented my family’s years in Missouri in the 1800’s. My parents [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...]

A Softer Focus

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Kurt Vonnegut In college, we had this mantra [Read More...]

How Unitarian Universalists Do Church

I suppose everybody has a favorite founding document for a religion or a nation. Mine is “Farewell at Delfshaven,” a sermon given by Rev. John Robinson to a group of his Separatist congregation who were taking ship for the Western Hemisphere. Part of the sermon goes like this:   I Charge you before God and [Read More...]

Spiritual Practice for Skeptics

I tend to get it from both sides when I talk about spiritual practice: many of my fellow skeptics blanch at the word “spiritual.” And many Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Sufis, and what-have-yous seem to think that rationality and spiritual practice are at loggerheads. But humanists value connectedness and experience wonder just like everyone else. As [Read More...]

Apocalypse Never (and what we can do about it)

I grew up in the Pentecostal church. When I was ten, I knew just how the world would end: “the fire next time.” Tribulations. Seven seals. The four horsemen. Rainstorms of blood and fire. And what was more, this was coming any day now: the present terrible state of the world had been precisely prophesied [Read More...]

What Bowling Taught Me About Patience

A couple of week’s ago, on a cold Chicago afternoon, after being cooped up for most of the week, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s go bowling.” Now, nothing says wholesome family fun quite like putting on some smelly communal shoes and listening to drunk men swear at the football [Read More...]

A Scream and a Theory: Natural Selection and the Higher Moral Order

Scientific theories do not occur in a vacuum. Like poems or paintings, theories reflect the times and characters or their authors. Darwin’s theory of natural selection, far from being a stark and cold scientific theory, was—and continues to be—an impassioned cry for equality and justice. A cry far more grounded and stirring than anything available [Read More...]

Worthy to be Entrusted

(Today, I preached at the ordination of a new minister in my denomination, Unitarian Universalism. Her name is Rev. Lara Campbell, and I shared the pulpit with Rev. Michael Tino. Here is my half of the sermon.) “Do not demand immediate results but rejoice that we are worthy to be entrusted with this great message,” [Read More...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X