Humanist Humility

One of the most persistent cliches about humanists is that we are human-o-centric and egotistical. It is true that the term “humanist” sounds like a wild claim for the abilities of the human. It’s also true that humanism contained some rah-rah for human progress a century ago. But it’s good to remember that humanists accept [Read More…]

What’s the Beef with Purple Cows? On Logos and Mythos

What’s the difference between a poem and a mathematical equation? Say, between Einstein’s E=MC2 and what is purported to be the shortest poem, “Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes,” but better known as “Fleas” by Strickland Gillian: Adam Had ‘em. Though I am innumerate, I understand that equations may be good math or not and [Read More…]

Cutting Some Slack for Integrity

Reformers. Protestants. Heretics. Loudmouths. William Tyndale’s (1494-1536) crime was translating the bible into English. Tyndale said, I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause se a boy that drives the plow to know more scripture than he (the Pope) does. God—or at least the authorities [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…]

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…]

#Apatheism

This year First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis is celebrating a century of humanism. Rev. John Dietrich, often called the father of religious humanism, was called as minister to the congregation in 1916. Dietrich had already been tried for heresy and had declared himself humanist in his previous congregation, so the folks in Minneapolis knew what [Read More…]

Redefining #Religion: You Might Be a Religious Naturalist

  The Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion defines religion this way: From the Latin relegare (“to bind fast”), typically the term refers to an institution with a recognized body of communicants who gather together regularly for worship, and accept a set of doctrines offering some means of relating the individual to what is taken to [Read More…]

Do Your Religion a Favor: Live Up to Its Principles 

I meet monthly with the Downtown Senior Clergy of Minneapolis. This week we listened to one of the imams in the group describing increasing violence toward Muslims. Last weekend cars in the masjid’s parking lot were spray painted and otherwise damaged. Women wearing the hijab have been sworn at and confronted in public spaces. Muslim [Read More…]

Grace for the Rest of Us

Grace. Some say it before meals. Some have it for a name. Grace-ful people have grace in abundance. It’s also theological concept, and that’s where I run into trouble. When people learn that I’m not a theist, I’m sometimes told in a very knowing way that only theists have a theory of grace. The reason [Read More…]


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