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…]

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…]

Smells Like White Racism

A friend posted on Facebook, upset that a qualified person of color had been overlooked for a position of denominational leadership, and a white man hired instead. There were a lot of words in all caps. And I both heard what she was saying and wasn’t at all sure if I agreed. How do you [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…]

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…]

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…]