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…]

Cheap Grace and Humanist Ritual, Part II

God must be replaced with a symbol capable of generating a different and more productive response and organizational pattern to life. Anthony B. Pinn, The End of God Talk: an African American Humanist Theology I. Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion [Read More…]

Humanist Ritual, Part One

God must be replaced with a symbol capable of generating a different and more productive response and organizational pattern to life. Anthony B. Pinn, The End of God Talk: an African American Humanist Theology I. One thing we know about ritual is that we can’t escape it. From shaking hands to respectful calm in the [Read More…]

#Humanism: Who We Are; What We Do; Why It Matters

I. Who We Are Religions and philosophies serve as heuristic devices for life, providing shape and meaning to what otherwise may seem a shapeless, chaotic rush. For some, religious views are chosen by birth or circumstance, for others religions are a matter of passing indifference in the rush toward the goals of a given social [Read More…]

The heartwork of coming alive

“Under all the harsh noise of the world coming in on us, this is how the things that last move: a small wave from the deep moves us on and the more we’re moved, the more we bend and bow and reach for each other. Our very life is the ground of practice by which [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…]

Relax: #Humanism Is Not Mack the Knife 

Small Humanist groups are popping up and organizing around the US, some as independent groups, some as interest groups within larger Unitarian Universalist congregations. This movement has drawn some interesting reactions . . . I know these reactions well, because one of the oddities about my position as a minister at First Unitarian Society of [Read More…]