Why Does a Super-Nice Word Like “Spiritual” Make Humanists All Itchy?

Here is what Plato had to say about the body and the soul: Does not purification consist in this . . . in separating as much as possible the soul from the body, and in accustoming it to gather and collect itself by itself on all sides apart from the body, and to dwell, so [Read More…]

Things that get in the way

I often tell the story of the time my Chaplain Supervisor told me, “Deanna, I wish you would stop being so hard on yourself” (She paused here and I had a moment to think sweetly “Oh, she really cares about me.” This tenderness quickly faded as she continued) – “because then you would stop being [Read More…]

Death of the Curate

Art museums are currently going through a sea change, and that sea change is about the difference between access and curating. Now, obviously, as in most either/or binaries, the answer is actually both/and, but binaries help us get clarity in our thinking.  Think of the old model of art museums: they served a curatorial function: [Read More…]

Putting First Things First: Congregations of Philosophers

In 1931 the Humanist Unitarian minister Curtis Reese looked into his crystal ball and wrote that society was moving “away from religion conceived as one of man’s concerns, and toward religion conceived as man’s one concern.” Why would a Humanist foresee religion becoming more, not less, central as a human concern? (Note that Reese had [Read More…]

Looking For #Happiness, Epicurean Style

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody wants to be happy. The trouble starts when we begin the search for happiness. Will that big slice of cheese cake make me happy? How about a new car? A new partner? How about a big move to somewhere else, anywhere but here? Nope. Those don’t do much [Read More…]

Musing On Relevance

I meet monthly with clergy colleagues, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian of various stripes, all of whom are leaders of urban, liberal congregations. We clergy—and most of our members—do not see our own way as the only way. We believe that dialogue is the antidote to violence. None of us are fundamentalists. That said, none of [Read More…]

Five Reasons to Congregate in a Congregation

Why bother joining a congregation rather than, oh, say, a bowling league? 1. To meet people. OK, yes it’s true that you will meet new people by joining a bowling league as well, but by joining a particular sort of congregation, you will find a particular sort of people. In Unitarian Universalist congregations, and particularly [Read More…]

Integrity and the Big Hole in Wholeness

You’ve heard it; you’ve thought it; perhaps you’ve even said it: “She is SO together!” “How does everybody else keep it together?” “I SHOULD get myself together.” “I can’t get it together!” “Why can’t I get myself together?” “I’ve got to get myself together!” “It’s time I get myself together!” But what’s so together about [Read More…]

And Still We Rise

The poet Mark Nepo writes that when “we find ourselves in an emergency at night, in a life-changing crisis or a passage that feels quite dark, we need to lean into life, not away, and strike ourselves against the situation in order to release our soul and see by our own light. How we hold [Read More…]

The Duality Fallacy

The Methodist Church across the street from my church has a large lighted sign that reads, “It Will All Be OK!” Having been raised a Christian, I know what they mean by that. It’s a reassuring message. Perhaps those who put those words out there even believe it. It is, however, a myopic view and [Read More…]