Oh, Peugeot of Many Names: on authentically using the term “god”

It Is What It Is Despite what many conventionally religious people appear to think, humanism does not exist to annoy the pious. As a matter of fact, some humanists are pious—in both the positive AND negative senses: righteous and self-righteous; reverent and sanctimonious. Piety comes in many guises and clings to various theistic and atheistic [Read More…]

#Religion: Let’s Talk About the Relationship

Recently I saw a bumper sticker: “It’s not a religion / It’s a relationship.” The bumper sticker was in black and white with a little cross on the left side. My first thought: “good marketing!” That phrase surely comes as the result of contemporary research showing that younger people, millennials, are looking for just that: [Read More…]

Explicitly Black UU Healing Spaces: Spiritual Compassion Practice at GA 2016

[A note of gratitude and a heart full of appreciation to the Rev. Carlton Elliot Smith for his generosity, insight, and  reflections in the creation of this post. -DV] Last night I began reading Uncovering Race: A Black Journalist’s Story of Reporting and Reinvention by Amy Alexander (Beacon Press, 20011).  Describing landing her first “real job” as [Read More…]

Getting a Mission On

If I’ve learned anything from serving and visiting several congregations, it is that survival is not a mission. Religious institutions either have a saving message or they don’t. They know why they exist or they don’t. When I see a thriving congregation, I see one that is continually asking itself why it exists at all. [Read More…]

#Mindfulness and the View We Take of Things

One on Every Corner There’s a lot of talk about spiritual practice these days. “Mindfulness” is everywhere—I have three apps that claim to encourage mindfulness on my phone. In the marketplace of ideas we have everything from secular Buddhists to religious naturalists. Like Walmart or Starbucks, spiritual practice appears to create demand for itself merely [Read More…]

Getting Real With Church (or: More Questions Than Answers)

In a recent blog post by marketing entrepreneur Seth Godin called “Supply and Demand” Godin says: “Just because you have a supply . . . that doesn’t necessarily mean you are entitled to demand” (4/23/2016). Godin is talking about business, but is this what is happening as US church attendance drops toward twenty-percent of the [Read More…]

So You Want a #Spiritual Experience? #SBNR

GET YOUR AWE ON Which religion offers the best chance at a spiritual experience? Thirty-nine percent of Evangelical Christians and 47% of Roman Catholics report having had such experiences sometime in their lives, the highest percentages among the religious. (“Spirituality” is a US phenomenon.) But the answer is none of the above. Fifty-four percent of [Read More…]

Bingo (and Religion) Exists and Is Everywhere About Us 

A RELIGIOUS NON-COMBATANT For some reason, when some folks discover I’m a humanist, they seem to think I want to argue about religion. I don’t want to argue about religion. As far as I’m concerned, religion is a lot like bingo: you’re interested or you’re not. Some people grow up in families or communities that [Read More…]

A spiritual responsibility for a moral tomorrow

In case the not so subtle nuances and coded language around race and class that are pouring out of state legislatures and the presidential candidate nomination races have puzzled you, let us a take a moment to look back to the post-Civil war Reconstruction era.  The need for White supremacy and 1%-er capitalism is explicitly explained and defended as [Read More…]

Letter to the Editor

Louisiana is the most incarcerated place in the world. Let’s truly sit with that for a moment. And then, dear friends, let’s do something about it. We know that we do not deserve to spend our precious lives in prison – either as prisoners or as jailers. Let’s choose to stop trying children as adults. [Read More…]


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