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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]