To Becoming Silent

by Pablo Neruda (translation by David Breeden) Now, let’s all count to twelve, then keep still. For once on this earth, let’s speak in no language. For once let’s stop and not move our arms so much. That would be a fragrant moment, without hurry, without movement; we would all be together in an instantaneous [Read More...]

A Garden Prayer

That shrimp plant so determined to be seen poking through the ginger and the fig like a four year old waving skinny arms and red cheeks to those towering above That shrimp plant grown from cuttings of a friend who no longer lives in this country from a house that has since burned down That shrimp [Read More...]

Here an Ist, There an Ist, Everywhere an Ist-Ist

The other day I got a subscription offer from a magazine called Free Inquiry, a publication of  the Council for Secular Humanism. I’d been thinking about ordering the magazine. Well, here was my chance:  a “special introductory offer for blasphemers only.” Got to love the marketing department. That’s no magazine for me. Though I am [Read More...]

Who does your heart break for?

Last month I had the joy of participating in the first Life on Fire un-conference (https://www.facebook.com/LifeOnFireTribe). I was drawn to the gathering by the questions being asked, as well as by the beloveds who were convening us. • Do you want to transform the world into the beloved community? • Do you want to live [Read More...]

The ABCs of Extortion

A. Thucydides–that Greek telling his story, human doings with nary a nod to the gods–said   the powerful extort what they can;   the weak pay what they must.   True enough to make a bon mot.   The powerful take, the weak give.   Person to person; city to state; and the empires the [Read More...]

Together

Beloveds, I believe that we are all in this together – and together, we can shift a culture that is dehumanizing us all – A culture that prioritizes paper with imaginary value over oxygen, clean water, livable communities, A culture that tells some of us we are better than others, tells some of us we are [Read More...]

Swimming in the Christian Waters (or: Beware, You May be a Humanist)

Let’s say you find yourself living in, oh, let’s say the United States. It’s a country where something on the order of seventy-five percent of the population claims to be Christian. Let’s say you don’t believe in any other religion, either: you aren’t Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, or any other of the myriad religions [Read More...]

Rejoice?

First, gather friends and family. Together, build a structure with at least three sides. Roof it with bamboo or cornstalks, anything you can cut from the ground. Remember to leave spaces where the stars can shine through. Dwell in this place for a week. “Dwelling” includes eating, talking, singing, napping, reading, relaxing, entertaining, all that [Read More...]

Who’s In and Who’s Out of Institutions (and the immigrants between)

The British social anthropologist Mary Douglas had this to say about institutions: Inside a religious body you get sects and hierarchies, inside an information network you get bazaars and cathedrals, it is the same, call them what you like. They survive by pointing the finger of blame at each other. That about sums it up, [Read More...]

Season of Forgiveness

Reflecting on his experience as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, the International Military Tribunal established at the end of WWII, Bernard Meltzer wrote, “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” The spiritual practice of atonement, asking and offering forgiveness, is a practice that [Read More...]


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