A review of Why God? Explaining Religious Phenomena by Rodney Stark 

Before I say anything else, I should say: Read this book. Whether you agree or disagree with the central point, this is a valuable book in the ongoing discussion of religion in the US. What is Stark’s central point? “Only religion can make existence meaningful.” A sociologist of religion, Dr. Stark falls into (or perhaps [Read More…]

The Stories We Listen To; the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Our elders teach us things. Sometimes, later, we change our minds about those teachings, sometimes not. Sometimes we take those teachings lightly, only to realize the depth of the wisdom later. My father told a story about the family just up the road. It was the Great Depression, and the farmer and his wife had [Read More…]

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…]

Could It Get Better? The Problem of Progressivism 

I am writing this morning at a McDonalds in a small farm town near my family farm in the Ohio River Valley. I go to McDonalds for the wifi, not available in the mom and pop cafes. The customers in the restaurant this morning are farmers rushing in for a sandwich and coffee before they [Read More…]

The National Day of . . . Counter-Narratives #NationalDayofReason

Dominant narratives. They dominate. They tell a story that most people in a group want to hear. Those stories reinforce the beliefs of the dominant group. And the prejudices of the dominant group. In 1952 the US Congress declared a National Day of Prayer, which is nowadays officially the first Thursday in May. In the [Read More…]

Hey, UU, Time For a Redo

Fear. Anxiety. It’s free-floating among those of a liberal bent these days. This week has seen more turmoil in the Unitarian Universalist Association. It’s time to do some breathing. Let’s go back a bit in time: When our evolutionary forebears crawled out of the warm, salty sea and set out to make a go of it [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…]

Assumptions are Imaginary But They’re not Social

In Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin wrote, Society is held together by our need; we bind it together with legend, myth, coercion, fearing that without it we will be hurled into that void, within which, like the earth before the Word was spoken, the foundations of society are hidden. From this void—ourselves—it is [Read More…]

An Antidote to Racial Theatre

Review of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. New York: Broadway Books, 2017. Whatever your political leanings, Democracy in Black is an essential book. Princeton University history professor Eddie Glaude mixes the gravitas of an academic historian with the brio of a concerned citizen writing a [Read More…]

Dreaming White

An acquaintance (who is white) once related one of the nightmares of his life. He had been a high school student at Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 when the school was desegregated by court order. One morning, the students were summoned to the school gym. To drown out the speaker, students broke [Read More…]