A Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin: So What’s Our Excuse? (A Humanist “Theology” of Radical Welcome)

Mystical and Scientific The author of the Gospel of Matthew reports Jesus saying, “If you welcome your sisters and brothers only, what are you doing more than others? (5:47) Monk and mystic Thomas Merton wrote about one of his mystical experiences: “Yesterday, in Louisville, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, I suddenly realized that [Read More...]

Moses, Jesus, Paul and Sacred Soundbites

What ‘Ol Abe Saw Moses, Jesus, Paul, et. al. as motivator. Their words as marching orders for how to live and what is right to do. Sounds good. Yet, as he watched the bloody carnage justified on both sides by Christian theology, Abraham Lincoln perhaps said it best: “I know that the Lord is always [Read More...]

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...]


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