Apocalypse Never (and what we can do about it)

I grew up in the Pentecostal church. When I was ten, I knew just how the world would end: “the fire next time.” Tribulations. Seven seals. The four horsemen. Rainstorms of blood and fire. And what was more, this was coming any day now: the present terrible state of the world had been precisely prophesied [Read More...]

A Scream and a Theory: Natural Selection and the Higher Moral Order

Scientific theories do not occur in a vacuum. Like poems or paintings, theories reflect the times and characters or their authors. Darwin’s theory of natural selection, far from being a stark and cold scientific theory, was—and continues to be—an impassioned cry for equality and justice. A cry far more grounded and stirring than anything available [Read More...]

A Whole Heart: Remembering Pete Seeger

For the last couple of days my Facebook feed has been full of tributes to the late, great Pete Seeger—as well it should be. A genuinely remarkable man, Seeger spent his long life seeking justice, fighting oppression, telling the truth as he understood it, even in situations where the truth was most unwelcome. (If you [Read More...]

Take Good Care

I was taught in seminary to do ministry with sacred texts in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Our theological and ethical musings are of no consequence if they cannot be applied to what is happening outside the walls of our congregations, if they do not speak to people’s lives. As the Affordable [Read More...]

Worthy to be Entrusted

(Today, I preached at the ordination of a new minister in my denomination, Unitarian Universalism. Her name is Rev. Lara Campbell, and I shared the pulpit with Rev. Michael Tino. Here is my half of the sermon.) “Do not demand immediate results but rejoice that we are worthy to be entrusted with this great message,” [Read More...]

Flying Over the Squares (for small farmers)

The little towns in their squares light up, as do the scattered lights of farmyards in the tilting, fuzzy squares they’re locked in.   I balance a Chilian red on a bumpy flight out to one of those squares.   The West is red too, after we bump to a cruising altitude through clouds threatening [Read More...]

Epiphany (Continues)

[More king cakes than you can imagine and only two weeks into Epiphany, I am still tugging on the promise of this season, even as I find myself tugging on clothes that seem strangely tighter...] Kathleen Norris notes the irony that King Herod “appears in the Christian liturgical year when the gospel is read on [Read More...]

A Gift, A Letter, and a Drowning Man: The Legacy of “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

There’s an old Zen story that does like this:   Once there was a great warrior. He had never been defeated, and he continued to win every confrontation into old age. He was known far and wide as the only warrior who had never suffered a defeat. This of course was a challenge to younger [Read More...]

What A Miracle Is

  Once I crossed the Sierra Madres with a bus driver named Arturo who had one arm and a stick-shift bus.   Sometimes between the the shift and wheel Arturo’s good right arm would pause to make the sign of the cross toward a portrait of the Virgin that banged the windshield from a string. [Read More...]

After the Resolutions Die

OK, we’re now a week into the new year, which is about the time that people’s New Year’s resolutions generally start biting the dust. I have a theory about why this is the case, why all our good intentions dissolve so quickly. It’s my conviction that the problem with most resolutions is that we resolve [Read More...]


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