Reps of God: Christian Triumphalism and the DIY Future of Unitarian Universalism

LITE The future of Unitarian Universalism does not lie in Christianity Lite any more than the future of Anheuser-Busch lies in Bud Light. Oh, wait: Anheuser-Busch doesn’t have a future: it was bought out . . . by a European corporation that makes tasty beer. In our consumerist religious landscape, the mainstream Christian denominations are [Read More...]

Circle Round for Freedom

The opposite of liberal religion is not conservative religion. It is fundamentalism – the deep certainty that there is only one truth and only one way of knowing that truth. As a liberal religion, Unitarian Universalism acknowledges a plurality of possibilities; lifts up that the Dominant Culture may dominate – but that it is dominating [Read More...]

Martian Sleeper Cells and A-Model Tism

Since I’m both a minister and a humanist, I’m asked—often in rather shocked terms—if I am an atheist. Many humanists use that label as a way to use a description that is positive rather than negative. After all, being labeled an a-theist implies that theism is somehow normative and that being outside that norm is [Read More...]

Roadmaps for the Soul (or: Hunting, Gathering, Singing)

In “Tombstone Blues,” a song released in 1965, Bob Dylan sang, “The National Bank at a profit sells roadmaps for the soul / To the old folks home and the college.” In the context of the song, Bob clearly doesn’t think this is a good thing. Commodifying the meaning of life? Yes, well . . [Read More...]

The Proof’s in the Pudding (or What’s Churchy about Church?)

Imagine I’m sometimes asked how humanists can have “church” without invoking god. Here’s how I think about it: Imagine this scenario: When Imhotep in ancient Egypt invoked the great god Ra, he was invoking the human consciousness, not Ra Almighty. Imagine this: When Zadok, son of Ahitub, entered the holy of holies of Solomon’s brand [Read More...]

#Development—It’s Nothing Personal

Pragmatic philosopher John Dewey once said, “Growth itself is the only moral end.” To philosophers a word like “only” means a lot more than it does to most of us. And here, in the Twenty-First Century, looking back on the wreckage and horror of the Twentieth, it’s easy to dismiss such a sentiment with a [Read More...]

Spiritual But Not . . . Keep Talking

Literary critic Terry Eagleton said, “The din of conversation is as much meaning as we shall ever have.” I like that. On first glance, it appears to be bleak—human conversation is all the meaning there is? But imagine what human conversation has given us. Imagine the din of conversation under the porches and under the [Read More...]

Tinfoil Hats and the Examined Life

Let’s say I tell you I’m wearing a tinfoil hat today . . . What does that say to you? Crazy? Paranoid? Safe from the mental meddling of governments and/or extraterrestrials? It’s shorthand, isn’t it? A tinfoil hat says crazy or paranoid or safe, not because of anything inherent in the tinfoil hat, but because [Read More...]

Bomb Throwers, Navel Gazers, and Goin’ All Thoreau: Doing Justice

Let’s consider an extreme example, a stark instance of the decision between doing something and talking about it. The abolitionist John Brown, fed up with the endless wrangling and political maneuvering over slavery in the early Nineteenth Century, decided to take matters in his own hands. He led a group that attacked a US military [Read More...]

How You Makin’ It?

Food for thought on a very busy week: Living Wage Calculation for New Orleans city, Orleans Parish, Louisiana: (http://livingwage.mit.edu/: “The living wage shown is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family, if they are the sole provider and are working full-time (2080 hours per year). The state minimum wage is [Read More...]


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