The Lesson of Sunday School Cards

My dad was out of work a lot when I was a kid, so we traveled from town to town in the Southeast. Consequently, I attended all sorts of churches, from strip mall storefronts to white wooden boxes with a steeple on top. The churches were always in the Pentecostal / Apostolic range, which in [Read More…]

The Stories We Listen To; the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Our elders teach us things. Sometimes, later, we change our minds about those teachings, sometimes not. Sometimes we take those teachings lightly, only to realize the depth of the wisdom later. My father told a story about the family just up the road. It was the Great Depression, and the farmer and his wife had [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…]

Getting Tough

So, apparently the current administration has pulled out of the Paris climate accord because they “want a better deal.” Kind of like how they alienated our allies in pursuit of “a better deal.” But, hey, the goal is just to “put America first,” and how is that a bad idea? Don’t we own our first [Read More…]

An Improvisational People

True confession: I don’t know a chancel from a narthex. This can become a liability when one is, as I am, employed as a Unitarian Universalist minister. When I visit places, I’ll get an instruction such as “sit to the right on the cancel.” Or the narthex. I don’t rememberer. Anyway, it’s a liability. I’m [Read More…]

On Knowing What We Don’t Know

Knowing that you don’t know what you don’t know. Socrates declared that supreme knowledge a long time ago. Even earlier, a Hindu scribe had penned, One believes in existence; Another says, “There is nothing!” Rare is the one who believes in neither. That one is free from confusion. (Ashtavakra Gita 18:42)  Apparently, the hardest lesson [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…]

The National Day of . . . Counter-Narratives #NationalDayofReason

Dominant narratives. They dominate. They tell a story that most people in a group want to hear. Those stories reinforce the beliefs of the dominant group. And the prejudices of the dominant group. In 1952 the US Congress declared a National Day of Prayer, which is nowadays officially the first Thursday in May. In the [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…]