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...]

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...]

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...]

Sometimes It Takes A Lie

Sometimes it takes a lie to keep a religion. “It’s merely a game,” they told the priests–”how we fast for days, then cut a tall pole to climb. How we costume and dance. It means nothing, how we chant in circles and bleed chickens. How we climb and fly round and around in air. Come, [Read More...]

Joy to the World!

As the Community Minister for the Greater New Orleans Unitarian Universalists, I spend a lot of my time immersed in the injustice of layers of oppression. New Orleanians still trying to get back into their homes over 8 years after they were flooded out, transgender women forced to be housed with and often abused by [Read More...]

For the Beauty of the Earth…

I was walking in City Park with a community organizer this week when suddenly we were only the width of the boardwalk away from a Great Egret, its fancy fringe plumes fluttering in the morning breeze. We paused, taking in the beauty, marveling at the unexpected joy of such a close encounter. A few minutes [Read More...]

His Day Is Done

Since hearing the news last Thursday of the passing of Nelson Mandela, our beloved Madiba, I have been longing to be able to share the experience with my friends in South Africa. Although we all knew the time would come when he would no longer be physically with us, it has been hard to absorb. [Read More...]

Another Reason for the Season

There’s a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons – That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes – Heavenly Hurt, it gives us – We can find no scar, But internal difference, Where the Meanings, are – Emily Dickinson   “Yule” (jul) means “wheel” in Norse. The Norse looked at this time of year, facing the darkest and longest [Read More...]


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