Grace for the Rest of Us

Grace. Some say it before meals. Some have it for a name. Grace-ful people have grace in abundance. It’s also theological concept, and that’s where I run into trouble. When people learn that I’m not a theist, I’m sometimes told in a very knowing way that only theists have a theory of grace. The reason [Read More...]

Fear Not

“The one most frequently repeated command in the Bible is not “love your neighbor,” but “fear not.” And if there is one thing that we need in our world, if there’s one thing that we should write on our mirror and see every morning when we look into the mirror, it’s “fear not.” If we [Read More...]

Helping Black Lives Matter at the White Thanksgiving Table

Apparently, some people are hoping for Adele to come to their Thanksgiving dinner and soothe angry arguments between family members. For the rest of us, preparing for tough conversations is one way to make them a little less difficult. One of those conversations in many families this year will be about the Black Lives Matter [Read More...]

#Terrorism: Religion and Nationalism Aren’t Fixing It

Nothing like a crisis to clarify values. If the terrorist attacks in Paris have clarified the dominant values of Western civilization, those appear to be such things as self-absorption, border restrictions, and violence. These are the values of nationalism, not Humanism. Sure, it’s true that Paris is the world’s number one tourist destination, so lots [Read More...]

In the Ruins

In the Ruins   A man sits on the rubble— not just in the rubble, but on the pile of what  remains. No people in the bombed-out houses. No dogs. No birds. Just ragged hunks of concrete and loss. And on his perch he is playing an instrument constructed of what is left—an olive oil [Read More...]

In the Face of Evil

So much heartbreak, so many dead, so many injured. This is what evil looks like—people who would willingly, even eagerly, fire into a crowd or into a plane, who would even use their own body as bomb. Evil lurks in the eyes of those who would look full in the face of another human being [Read More...]

The “Trinsics”: Where are You Coming From?

Psychologist Gordon Allport argued that there are two types of religious experience—the extrinsic and the intrinsic. Extrinsic religious orientation has little to do with religion and lots to do with social norms, rules, and regulations. Allport said extrinsic orientation functions “to provide security and solace, sociability and distraction, status and self-justification.” This sort of religion [Read More...]

People Who Have Come ALIVE!

  What makes you come alive my friend? This week I grateful to bear witness to people coming alive in the world: The Swarm, our affectionate nickname for the group of Unitarian Universalists from two congregations in Massachusetts who have been coming to New Orleans for service every November since Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood [Read More...]

Congregational Humanist Liturgy: Creating a Religion-Neutral Zone

The Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi (370-287 BCE) told this story: Once three friends were discussing life. One said: “Can people live together and know nothing of life, work together and produce nothing? Can people fly around in the air and forget to exist, forever and ever?” The three friends looked at each other and burst out [Read More...]


It’s been interesting watch the dialog about ethnic Halloween costumes go by on my Facebook page. It has ranged from a Chinese-American friend posting a picture of a “Chinese” costume that featured yellow face paint (Really? Have you ever seen a Chinese person who was actually yellow?) to a friend who was genuinely bewildered that [Read More...]