The Grace of Learning

In life, there are many things we can learn from other people. And there are many times when we have to be “the other people” in order to learn. In Unitarian Universalism, there is a tradition of blessing babies and young children when they become a part of the congregation by giving them a rose [Read More…]

Humanist Ritual, Part One

God must be replaced with a symbol capable of generating a different and more productive response and organizational pattern to life. Anthony B. Pinn, The End of God Talk: an African American Humanist Theology I. One thing we know about ritual is that we can’t escape it. From shaking hands to respectful calm in the [Read More…]

#Humanism: Who We Are; What We Do; Why It Matters

I. Who We Are Religions and philosophies serve as heuristic devices for life, providing shape and meaning to what otherwise may seem a shapeless, chaotic rush. For some, religious views are chosen by birth or circumstance, for others religions are a matter of passing indifference in the rush toward the goals of a given social [Read More…]

Humanist Jesus

The changing religious landscape in the US is a bit hard to get one’s head around. For the sake of clarity, let’s imagine ourselves in the midst of something I’ll call the Average Christian Church, ACC. On a Sunday morning. We find ourselves repeating the Apostles’ Creed— I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy [Read More…]

To Whom It May Concern: the Humanist/Theist Split in Unitarian Universalism

Since I’m an out-there Humanist, I get asked fairly often how Unitarian Universalists might go about healing the theist/humanist divide. My first response is quite simple: There isn’t a theist/humanist divide. Many humanists are theists and vice versa. Fact is, “humanist” isn’t merely a nice word for “atheist.” Rather, the “divide” is a leftover from [Read More…]

The heartwork of coming alive

“Under all the harsh noise of the world coming in on us, this is how the things that last move: a small wave from the deep moves us on and the more we’re moved, the more we bend and bow and reach for each other. Our very life is the ground of practice by which [Read More…]

On Prayer

Emily Dickinson wrote, Of Course I prayed And did God Care? He cared as much as on the Air A Bird had stampd her foot And cried “Give Me” (#376) I grew up in a praying family. My parents both got on their knees at bedtime and earnestly prayed. We prayed before each meal: a [Read More…]

Love Thy Neighbor As . . . 

There’s an old Buddhist story that goes like this: Once a mother found her baby extremely ill. She was afraid it would die. She had heard that the Buddha was teaching nearby, so she grabbed up her baby and rushed to the Buddha to ask that her baby be healed. “Why do you want your [Read More…]

A Shared Life in a Shared World: #Humanist Economics

Grim Numbers Rising economic inequality. We live in a world in which sixty two human beings at the top own more than the bottom 3.5 billion people. We live in a nation in which—even factoring in the slaves, who owned nothing—the inequality gap today is worse than it was in 1774, two years before the [Read More…]

Relax: #Humanism Is Not Mack the Knife 

Small Humanist groups are popping up and organizing around the US, some as independent groups, some as interest groups within larger Unitarian Universalist congregations. This movement has drawn some interesting reactions . . . I know these reactions well, because one of the oddities about my position as a minister at First Unitarian Society of [Read More…]