Eleanor Rigby’s Selfie

We learned from the Beatles that Eleanor Rigby “keeps her face in a jar by the door.” Clearly the Fab Four thought that was not a good thing to do. But what were they critiquing? Was it where Eleanor kept her face? Or that she had a “face to meet the faces that we meet” [Read More...]

Way to Go, Supreme Court: Another #facepalm

A Primo #Facepalm Moment To be a citizen of the United States is to experience many face palm moments. And recent Supreme Court decisions have provided some spectacular face palm moments. Full disclosure: I take oppression of workers a bit personally. I escaped wage slavery only by luck. And my mother worked in the sort [Read More...]

Roadmaps for the Soul (or: Hunting, Gathering, Singing)

In “Tombstone Blues,” a song released in 1965, Bob Dylan sang, “The National Bank at a profit sells roadmaps for the soul / To the old folks home and the college.” In the context of the song, Bob clearly doesn’t think this is a good thing. Commodifying the meaning of life? Yes, well . . [Read More...]

Making Sense of Life (or: Three Decorating Ideas for the Mind)

Wallace Stevens once said, “How full of trifles everything is! It is only one’s thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.” At first glance, this perhaps sounds like a Disneyesque reflection on the uses of a hearty imaginal life. Or—since Stevens was a poet—a reflection on the power of metaphor to set [Read More...]

The Proof’s in the Pudding (or What’s Churchy about Church?)

Imagine I’m sometimes asked how humanists can have “church” without invoking god. Here’s how I think about it: Imagine this scenario: When Imhotep in ancient Egypt invoked the great god Ra, he was invoking the human consciousness, not Ra Almighty. Imagine this: When Zadok, son of Ahitub, entered the holy of holies of Solomon’s brand [Read More...]

Spiritual But Not . . . Keep Talking

Literary critic Terry Eagleton said, “The din of conversation is as much meaning as we shall ever have.” I like that. On first glance, it appears to be bleak—human conversation is all the meaning there is? But imagine what human conversation has given us. Imagine the din of conversation under the porches and under the [Read More...]

Pagans, Cheasters, and Nones: Easter and Open-Source Religion

This coming Easter morning, many people will rise and look east. Some will go to a Christian church for their only visit this year. Many will be reminded by priests and preachers that this one day is not enough. Those strangers to churches will be telling the oldest of religious truths: it is the people, [Read More...]

Seriously—Who Said We Can Choose Our Own Mysteries?

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. ~Oscar Wilde There is more than one type of mystery. Some mysteries aren’t even mysterious. For example, how a diesel engine works is a mystery to many, but only those who haven’t taken the time to look at diesel engines. They are a [Read More...]

Fallen Angels, Rising Apes, and the Knowledge of the Serpent

I. In addition to the Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles, the congregation that I serve as minister ascribes to a set of aspirational statements that  are specifically humanist. Our first Aspiration is, “To live joyfully and ethically, in loving, reverent relationship with humanity and nature.” Why do we say such a thing? Because we are countering [Read More...]

Sin Isn’t Very Original: Dostoyevsky and the Freedom to Really Mess Things Up

I have a terrible confession: almost all of the calories I consume in a day, I consume after 8pm. No, I don’t cook extravagant dinners late at night. Far from it. I eat junk. I’m not proud of it. I know that eating late at night is the worst sort of thing for my health. [Read More...]


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