Fallen Angels, Rising Apes, and the Knowledge of the Serpent

I. In addition to the Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles, the congregation that I serve as minister ascribes to a set of aspirational statements that  are specifically humanist. Our first Aspiration is, “To live joyfully and ethically, in loving, reverent relationship with humanity and nature.” Why do we say such a thing? Because we are countering [Read More...]

Do Justice

I am ever so grateful that I was assigned The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community, written by Eric H. F. Law, during my studies at Loyola Institute of Ministry – New Orleans. It has been an invaluable source of wisdom as I bear witness to the [Read More...]

Sin Isn’t Very Original: Dostoyevsky and the Freedom to Really Mess Things Up

I have a terrible confession: almost all of the calories I consume in a day, I consume after 8pm. No, I don’t cook extravagant dinners late at night. Far from it. I eat junk. I’m not proud of it. I know that eating late at night is the worst sort of thing for my health. [Read More...]

When Plans Go Awry

“There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” — Rumi If you are like me, you have The List. You know, that massive to-do list filled with family obligations, work projects, chores, and writing tasks that need to get done in the day, week, or month. I love The List. It keeps [Read More...]

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...]


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