A Mathematics of Loss

Mathematics There is no algebra for death. No life lost cancels out another. The idea that there is some other side to the equation is a lie perpetrated by centuries of war and revenge. There is no other side. You cannot subtract and equalize the equation.   There is an addition of loss, grief upon [Read More…]

They Ain’t Heavy: UU Pluralism and Its Discontents 

One of the most serious issues for a tradition such as Unitarian Universalism that has embraced pluralism as a central doctrine is how to navigate the fraught waters of pluralism itself. Furthermore, when a collection of congregations with very different traditions join together—as is the case for General Assemblies—the chance of odd and jolting disjunctions [Read More…]

Beyond the Congeries of Banks: Finding a Moral Center

After the September 1938 Munich Pact with which the European democracies ceded territory to Nazi Germany in exchange for what turned out to be one more uneasy year of peace, poet T.S. Eliot wrote: We could not match conviction with conviction, we had no ideas with which we could either meet or oppose the ideas [Read More…]

You should start a meme, they said…

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A Plea for a Philosophical Plank in Party Platforms

“The good life.” Lordy, lordy . . . I’m not hearing about it on CNN. The good life and what makes a good life has been the focus of philosophers across the planet and throughout human history. But I haven’t heard much that might be called philosophical in the current US presidential cycle. This might [Read More…]

Profile of a Murderer

Don’t get me wrong. I am not generally a fan of profiling. I find it appalling that people of color are so much more likely than white people to be stopped while driving or followed in stores. I am horrified when an Arab-speaking scholar is presumed to be a terrorist for writing math equations on [Read More…]

No Gods, No Masters, and the Humanist Way of Thinking

Humanism developed in late Medieval Christianity, but moved on. European humanism reached high points in the Reformation and the Enlightenment and in Post-Second World War Europe and many of its colonies, including the US. But moved on. Humanism is not a philosophy. It is a way of thinking. This naturalistic way of thinking values observation [Read More…]

On Outrage and Douchebags

Social media is great for so many things—staying in touch with distant friends and family, sharing the cute thing your kid or your cat just did, watching videos of people making delicious food at impossible speeds and much, much more. But what it is really superlative at is serving as a vehicle for expressions of [Read More…]

Advice to a Graduate

My daughter is about to graduate from high school in a few days, which leaves the terrifying prospect that she is now, more or less, an adult, and should know how to do the essential kinds of things that adults know how to do. I realize this is pretty much a fantasy, but still, I [Read More…]

Cafeteria, Smorgasbord, Grubhub: Religion Delivery Today 

A Twitter meme says, “Spiritual but not religious: people who prefer to make up their own stuff rather than believe stuff others have made up.” Is that the essence of the changes happening on the US religious landscape? In a recent post I mentioned a bumper sticker I saw: “It’s not religion / it’s a relationship” [Read More…]


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