Religious Humanism: What Was Old is New Again

Church Attendance Free Fall The Barna Group, a research group that keeps up with trends in religion, estimates that 48% of Millennials (born 1984-2002) are “post-Christian.” Forty-eight percent. “Post-Christian” means that they have heard of Christianity; know its claims; swim in its assumptions; and have little to no interest in it as a method for [Read More...]

Apocalypse: What Death Cults Really Want

The recent Atlantic article by Graeme Wood, “What Isis Really Wants,” examines the Isis phenomenon from the vantage point of apocalyptic movements. It’s an insightful article. I’m just a bit confused at the reaction. We’ve had apocalyptic thinking living in our midst here in the US for some time. I grew up Pentecostal. Now that’s [Read More...]

Greenery Without People: The Future of Post-Religious Community

I don’t get it about the natural world. Like, greenery, without people in it, is supposed to do what? ~Charles Smith   How to do religious community in a post-religious world . . . . As a senior minister in an urban congregation, it’s something I think about every day. For most urban North Americans, [Read More...]

The Bigness of our Littleness: Humanism and Individualism

  Late in his life the philosopher Richard Rorty—well known to be an atheist—was asked by an interviewer if he could define “holy.” I suppose the interlocutor thought Rorty would be stumped by the question, or even perhaps show some sympathy for one religion or another. Rorty was not stumped by the question. He responded, [Read More...]

Religion: It’s What You Do

Seriously, No Joke Have you ever noticed how pointless it is to ask someone, “What’s your religion?” The answer is likely to be a proper noun, such as Baptist or Hindu. But what does that designation mean to the person answering the question? Does such an answer really tell us anything? Beyond, perhaps, an origin [Read More...]

Don’t Let the Light Go Out

The Feast of Hanukkah, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in particular and the resistance of a religious people to eradication and assimilation in general, begins at sundown today, to be celebrated for 8 days (as it has for over 2000 years) until sundown on Wednesday, the 24th. In the classic textbook A History of [Read More...]

White Privilege: Kumbaya Won’t Cut It

How Sad A sad fact: Many things that are good for society or the earth itself are not good for me, me, me. Higher taxes hurt people like me. A livable minimum wage costs people like me. Fair trade costs me money. Carbon cap and trade hurts the pocket books of people like me, me, me. [Read More...]

Subjectivity, Existence, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

All of us are born into a world we do not understand. All human beings who have ever lived were born into a world they did not understand. What has humanity done with the mystery of our existence? We tell stories. And thus, slowly, we learn. Stories. Stories that explain the origin of the universe. [Read More...]

Eight Virtues for Generous Living

Patheos generously sent me a copy of The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living, written by Lisa M. Hendey (founder and editor of CatholicMom.com), to read and review in this space. While appearing to lack an analysis of race and class, Hendey offers truly useful tools for living a faithful life in this [Read More...]

Blinding and Beheading: One Path, Many Mountains

  “I have been Don Quixote, always creating a world of my own.” ~Anais Nin Science is that which is the same for everyone. Everywhere. Gravity, for example: call it what you will; describe it’s origin as gods or fairies—still, it’s results are the same and describable everywhere for everyone. Science: oxygen and its effects—the [Read More...]


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