Murder and What’s in a Story

Why do we kill each other? I have to admit that when I walk along a street and look at the apartments and houses, I don’t wonder what evil lurks in the hearts of the neighbors. Instead I wonder why so many people go day after day, year after year, without killing anybody. It’s not [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…]

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…]

Shine on! Faithful living in a breakable world

I spend a lot my time and life energy organizing with the New Orleans community inside the walls of a church with no windows. Hearing my boots crunching on the shattered glass on the floor after a brick was thrown through a beautiful window last Sunday at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, it [Read More…]

Bad Theology=Bad Politics

I hear an undercurrent of assumption in much of the current liberal rhetoric—a mythology that progressives can best do without. That is the assumption that our present turn toward authoritarianism has somehow only temporarily interrupted American social progress. This assumption is more of that good ol’ “onward and upward forever” mythology that progressives have held [Read More…]

A Toolkit for Resisting Totalitarianism 

For my money the philosopher Hannah Arendt offers the most profound analysis of the causes of totalitarianism. During and after the Second World War, Arendt spent a lot of time researching and thinking about totalitarianism and wrote such classics as The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. [Read More…]

The True Origin Story

February 12th is the 208th birthday of Charles Darwin. In celebration, I want to look at a couple of extracts from his writing. The first is from The Descent of Man, published in 1871: As man (sic) advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual [Read More…]

Alternative Facts and Reason in Religion

  There are no alternative facts. There are alternative theories when we don’t know the facts. There are alternative ways of looking at interpreting the facts. But there are no alternative facts. I say this as someone who is not scientifically trained. I’m a poet and a minister. But I know that artists and ministers [Read More…]

“Great Men” and the Tide of History

“Hindsight is 20/20” goes the cliche. And in my experience a lot of people want to say “I told you so.” I have to say I’m a terrible pundit—over and over in the last US presidential election cycle I predicted the meltdown of Donald Trump. I was wrong every time. I got it completely wrong [Read More…]

Communities of Resilience and Resistance

As a young theology student, James Luther Adams watched the Nazi rise to power. For the rest of his life he insisted that voluntary associations are the key to resisting oppression—voluntary associations such as congregations. When facing the breakdown of the rule of law, voluntary associations provide a place of both resilience and resistance—resilience for [Read More…]