The Danger is in Not Being You 

There is a story that has been told in various ways about a rabbi named  Zusya. As Rabbi Zusya was dying, he told his visiting students that he was very afraid. The students were shocked and said, “But rabbi, you have always told us that God is full of love and kindness!” “I’m not afraid [Read More…]

Loving What Happens

Amor fati. The love of (your own) fate. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus appears to have been the first to put this together as a Latin phrase in writing. In Yoruba, it’s called “ayanmo.” The concept has been around—I suspect—as long as humanity has been suffering life’s ill effects. Fate. It’s what happens to you and [Read More…]

At #Thanksgiving, A Wish for Freedoms

I lost one of my cousins this week. (As a hillbilly, I have lots of cousins.) In lieu of flowers, his wife is asking for donations for his burial—open casket of course, because that’s the only way Christians of their ilk can do it. The expensive way. My cousin worked two jobs and died of [Read More…]

Public Service Reminder

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard An invitation to think about how we are spending our days – for this is how we are spending our “one wild and precious life” ( A Summer Day by poet Mary Oliver).  [With gratitude to Berwick “Mahdi” Davenport of [Read More…]

The Mindfulness of Stoicism, Part Five

Last week I continued a discussion of the Stoic methods of inner-discipline (what’s popularly called spiritual practice nowadays). http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uucollective/2016/08/the-mindfulness-of-stoicism-part-three/ Number one is Write and Reflect in the Morning. The second is Focus on Your Goals. The third is Take the Long View and Practice Letting Go. The fourth is Practice Self Control. Today I will [Read More…]

The Mindfulness of Stoicism, Part Three  

Last week I continued a discussion of the seven Stoic methods of inner-discipline (what’s popularly called spiritual practice nowadays). http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uucollective/2016/08/stoic-mindfulness/ Number one is “Write and Reflect in the Morning.” The second is 2. Focus on Your Goals. The list continues: 3. Take the Long View and Practice Letting Go 4. Visualize Catastrophe and Practice Letting [Read More…]

A Review of Grace Without God: the Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozment.

By Rev. Dr. David Breeden A question from one of her children sends Ozment on a five year quest. As they watch an Eastern Orthodox procession, one of her kid’s asks, “What are we?” The question brings her up short. Ozment long ago lost any attachment to her childhood Presbyterianism, and her husband is a [Read More…]

A Mathematics of Loss

Mathematics There is no algebra for death. No life lost cancels out another. The idea that there is some other side to the equation is a lie perpetrated by centuries of war and revenge. There is no other side. You cannot subtract and equalize the equation.   There is an addition of loss, grief upon [Read More…]

You should start a meme, they said…

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Swing Vote in the Bitter Election: Reflections on Orlando

The recent massacre in the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida is unfortunately an example of why the oft-repeated phrase “the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice” is bad theology and dangerous magical thinking. While the phrase offers hope, it offers false hope, and President Obama, who loves the phrase coined by Theodore [Read More…]