Greenery Without People: The Future of Post-Religious Community

I don’t get it about the natural world. Like, greenery, without people in it, is supposed to do what? ~Charles Smith   How to do religious community in a post-religious world . . . . As a senior minister in an urban congregation, it’s something I think about every day. For most urban North Americans, [Read More...]

Is Sex Necessary?

My colleagues in Unitarian Universalist ministry are blogging this month under the hashtag #SexUUality. Sex is a good topic for us liberal ministers. We have something important to say: that sex is fine, that pleasure is good, that consenting adults should be free to make their own decisions about what they do in private. We [Read More...]

How Do We Interact on the Cyber-Commons?

I bet I’m not the only one whose Facebook page is lighting up right now with people arguing about vacccines, President Obama’s comments about Christian extremism, and other current events. Though there’s always something, and my Minnesota location could bias me—I think it’s partly just February. Our media comes out of the East Coast, where [Read More...]

The Bigness of our Littleness: Humanism and Individualism

  Late in his life the philosopher Richard Rorty—well known to be an atheist—was asked by an interviewer if he could define “holy.” I suppose the interlocutor thought Rorty would be stumped by the question, or even perhaps show some sympathy for one religion or another. Rorty was not stumped by the question. He responded, [Read More...]

Selma: Death of a Meta-narrative

OK, I admit it—I love it when postmodernism calls it right. And the screeches and whines that have emanated over media since the film appeared are the sound of metanarratives dying. It was the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard who postulated that the essence of postmodernism is “incredulity toward metanarratives.” A metanarrative is a big overarching myth [Read More...]

As the movement builds, let us remember

I learned in school that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. What I did not learn in school was that he had a vision and a clear sense of what it would take to get there. I was taught about how he worked to end racism, but not taught that he had [Read More...]

Covenant: Broken Promises, Dumb Ideas, and Ways Forward

Captain, We’re Out of Beer! When those adventurers we now call the Pilgrims realized they weren’t going to make it to Virginia on their beer supply, they did what most idealists do, they jumped ship. But first they wrote up a little agreement for themselves that nowadays we call the Mayflower Covenant. This was 1620. [Read More...]

Finding Home

This week I clicked the visitor tab of a congregation I do not know and found myself reading the story of a family’s first trip to this particular community. I read as they couldn’t find the church, doubted their GPS, and finally pulled into the parking lot; as they nervously entered, were welcomed and delighted in [Read More...]

Religion: It’s What You Do

Seriously, No Joke Have you ever noticed how pointless it is to ask someone, “What’s your religion?” The answer is likely to be a proper noun, such as Baptist or Hindu. But what does that designation mean to the person answering the question? Does such an answer really tell us anything? Beyond, perhaps, an origin [Read More...]

The ‘Ol Heave Ho Ho

You’ve seen them spilling off the paved trail into the woods; you’ve seen them in parks; across sand dunes; wherever people go. There’s no standard English phrase for them. A couple of terms are “desire paths” and “goat trails.” In another era they were called bootleg trails. They are those paths that steadfastly ignore the [Read More...]


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