Steal Your Fire, Drink Your Tea

In the late nineteenth and into the twentieth-century a good many Unitarian congregations sponsored Prometheus Clubs. These were forums for dangerous ideas—some new ones, such as quantum mechanics, and some old ones, such as looking at nature as non-dual. Prometheus. Chances are that if you’ve heard of him, you’ve learned that he’s the god eternally punished [Read More…]

The Danger is in Not Being You 

There is a story that has been told in various ways about a rabbi named  Zusya. As Rabbi Zusya was dying, he told his visiting students that he was very afraid. The students were shocked and said, “But rabbi, you have always told us that God is full of love and kindness!” “I’m not afraid [Read More…]

Until the Cows Come Home

(being a personal summary of the Zen story of the Ten Bulls*) As the youngest, it was my job to find the cattle each evening and bring them back to the barn. The herd might be anywhere across the rolling hills. I’d walk and walk until I found fresh dung or perhaps caught a glimpse [Read More…]

Loving What Happens

Amor fati. The love of (your own) fate. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus appears to have been the first to put this together as a Latin phrase in writing. In Yoruba, it’s called “ayanmo.” The concept has been around—I suspect—as long as humanity has been suffering life’s ill effects. Fate. It’s what happens to you and [Read More…]

Murder and What’s in a Story

Why do we kill each other? I have to admit that when I walk along a street and look at the apartments and houses, I don’t wonder what evil lurks in the hearts of the neighbors. Instead I wonder why so many people go day after day, year after year, without killing anybody. It’s not [Read More…]

I’m an Atheist! Now What?

As I mentioned in my last blog post, unlike progressive traditions such as the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalism, and Humanism—all of which stick closely to the college-educated demographic—atheism crosses all lines, from race to class to gender, et cetera. Some people never believe in a god; some realize one day that they have [Read More…]

Could It Get Better? The Problem of Progressivism 

I am writing this morning at a McDonalds in a small farm town near my family farm in the Ohio River Valley. I go to McDonalds for the wifi, not available in the mom and pop cafes. The customers in the restaurant this morning are farmers rushing in for a sandwich and coffee before they [Read More…]

Ashes to Ashes, Humus to Humus, and Humility 

Humility. Everyone knows it’s a virtue, since its opposite is . . . what? hubris? Excessive pride? Well, anyway, something not good. But what does humility look like? And—since its a virtue and therefore something good to have—how do we achieve it? In an April 15, 2017 op-ed for the New York Times, Peter Wehner, [Read More…]

Savoring The Milquetoast: Why This Humanist Remains a Unitarian Universalist

Why would a Humanist want to be a Unitarian Universalist? As the president of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association, I get that question a lot. And, to be frank, I ask that question of myself a lot. The recent Easter holiday merely underlined the point. For those of us who don’t fit into the Christian [Read More…]

Getting It Right Like the BCE

There was an important question that the older Greek and Roman philosophies asked that stopped being asked after the rise of Christianity. That question is this: Is the search for god and the search for truth the same thing? Is the search for god and the search for truth the same thing? I spend a [Read More…]