Martian Sleeper Cells and A-Model Tism

Since I’m both a minister and a humanist, I’m asked—often in rather shocked terms—if I am an atheist. Many humanists use that label as a way to use a description that is positive rather than negative. After all, being labeled an a-theist implies that theism is somehow normative and that being outside that norm is [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...]

Keep the Faith

    This morning I tended to my garden and that of an elder neighbor. Walking back into my home for a second cup of coffee, I realized that I felt more like a grounded, alive human being than I have in a while. In the past few weeks, the phone has rung repeatedly, bearing [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...]

Love is the Boss of Me

Recently an organizer asked for a meeting and I went to pull out my phone to check my calendar. “My calendar is the boss of me,” I joked. She looked at me oddly, but said nothing. And in that nothing I heard the strangeness, the madness of what I had just said. I am not [Read More...]

Disappear or Die: Southern Black Trans-Experience

  Today we bless Tela La’Raine Love as she prepares for her gender reassignment surgery.  Every day, Tela blesses this world with her courage, her determination, and her clear vision of a world where transwomen of color live safe, fulfilling, and long lives. Only in her 30’s, Tela serves as an elder, a mother, and [Read More...]

What He Deserves

I’m deliberately late to the discussion of Elliot Rodgers’s homicidal spree. If you haven’t read any of the variety of excellent pieces discussing his misogyny, and how this horrific event relates to the threat of violence that hangs over every woman’s head, you should do that before you read anything more here. (Feel free to [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...]

Tinfoil Hats and the Examined Life

Let’s say I tell you I’m wearing a tinfoil hat today . . . What does that say to you? Crazy? Paranoid? Safe from the mental meddling of governments and/or extraterrestrials? It’s shorthand, isn’t it? A tinfoil hat says crazy or paranoid or safe, not because of anything inherent in the tinfoil hat, but because [Read More...]


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