How Can You Say You Love Me?

The Rabbi Jeffrey Summit [of Tufts Hillel] tells a Hasidic story of the rabbi who watches two Russian peasants drinking together at an Inn. The first asks, “Boris, do you love me?” His friend replies, “Ivan, Do I love you, we’ve worked side by side on our farm for years. Of course I love you!” [Read More…]

Hand Me A Pickaxe, Please! I Need Hope!

I’ve been thinking lately about despair and hope, especially for people like me who live relatively comfortable and privileged lives. There is always reason for despair in the world, but lately the reasons feel as if they are parading before me with relentless, tedious, insistence. I have been holding in prayer a line from the [Read More…]

Trauma Stewardship?

Dear Friends, Happy Autumn! On day one of my summer break a dear friend recommended to me some timely sabbatical reading – Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot with Connie Burk. Divine intervention… For all of us working towards collective liberation, I invite us [Read More…]

Stoic Mindfulness

As the number of the post-religious skyrockets in the United States, the “mindfulness” train is picking up speed. Mindfulness answers a basic question: how do we tame our own thoughts? Most mindfulness programs are based in Buddhist practice, but the study of Stoicism is a growing trend. Stoicism has the advantage of being a Western [Read More…]

When Hope Seems Silly

The life that no longer trusts another human being and no longer forms ties to the political community is not a human life any longer. ~Martha Nussbaum This summer of 2016 has been a summer of tragedy. Many are mentioning the summer of 1968 as the last time so much bad news crowded a season. [Read More…]

They Ain’t Heavy: UU Pluralism and Its Discontents 

One of the most serious issues for a tradition such as Unitarian Universalism that has embraced pluralism as a central doctrine is how to navigate the fraught waters of pluralism itself. Furthermore, when a collection of congregations with very different traditions join together—as is the case for General Assemblies—the chance of odd and jolting disjunctions [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…]

Explicitly Black UU Healing Spaces: Spiritual Compassion Practice at GA 2016

[A note of gratitude and a heart full of appreciation to the Rev. Carlton Elliot Smith for his generosity, insight, and  reflections in the creation of this post. -DV] Last night I began reading Uncovering Race: A Black Journalist’s Story of Reporting and Reinvention by Amy Alexander (Beacon Press, 20011).  Describing landing her first “real job” as [Read More…]

#Mindfulness and the View We Take of Things

One on Every Corner There’s a lot of talk about spiritual practice these days. “Mindfulness” is everywhere—I have three apps that claim to encourage mindfulness on my phone. In the marketplace of ideas we have everything from secular Buddhists to religious naturalists. Like Walmart or Starbucks, spiritual practice appears to create demand for itself merely [Read More…]


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