Getting It Right Like the BCE

There was an important question that the older Greek and Roman philosophies asked that stopped being asked after the rise of Christianity. That question is this: Is the search for god and the search for truth the same thing? Is the search for god and the search for truth the same thing? I spend a lot of time reading and translating Stoic philosophy, which developed three-hundred years BCE. My fascination concerning Stoic philosophy flows from the fact that the Western… Read more

Hey, UU, Time For a Redo

Fear. Anxiety. It’s free-floating among those of a liberal bent these days. This week has seen more turmoil in the Unitarian Universalist Association. It’s time to do some breathing. Let’s go back a bit in time: When our evolutionary forebears crawled out of the warm, salty sea and set out to make a go of it on dry land, they had a well-developed brain stem. They depended upon the fear-response native to that brain stem to save their little tails. The… Read more

In the Name of Love

There has been a lot to process in the Unitarian Universalist world over the past few weeks. I want to take a moment to focus on the calling in that beloveds in our faith have lifted up regarding the persistence of white supremacist culture in our institutional structure as the Unitarian Universalist Association. Today, April 4th, marks the day the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, TN – silenced when he had begun to… Read more

Assumptions are Imaginary But They’re not Social

In Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin wrote, Society is held together by our need; we bind it together with legend, myth, coercion, fearing that without it we will be hurled into that void, within which, like the earth before the Word was spoken, the foundations of society are hidden. From this void—ourselves—it is the function of society to protect us; but it is only this void, our unknown selves, demanding, forever, a new act of creation, which can… Read more

Smells Like White Racism

A friend posted on Facebook, upset that a qualified person of color had been overlooked for a position of denominational leadership, and a white man hired instead. There were a lot of words in all caps. And I both heard what she was saying and wasn’t at all sure if I agreed. How do you really know when racism is at play? Apparently the man was a better “fit,” in spite of living, and planning on continuing to live, at… Read more

An Antidote to Racial Theatre

Review of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. New York: Broadway Books, 2017. Whatever your political leanings, Democracy in Black is an essential book. Princeton University history professor Eddie Glaude mixes the gravitas of an academic historian with the brio of a concerned citizen writing a letter to the editor of the local paper. Along the way he takes both liberals and conservatives to task for creating, prolonging, and ignoring the… Read more

Dreaming White

An acquaintance (who is white) once related one of the nightmares of his life. He had been a high school student at Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 when the school was desegregated by court order. One morning, the students were summoned to the school gym. To drown out the speaker, students broke out singing “we’re dreaming of a white Central” to the tune of “White Christmas.” Where was that song coming from? How did so many of… Read more

Shine on! Faithful living in a breakable world

I spend a lot my time and life energy organizing with the New Orleans community inside the walls of a church with no windows. Hearing my boots crunching on the shattered glass on the floor after a brick was thrown through a beautiful window last Sunday at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, it occurred to me for the first time that that brave windowless church downtown might not be windowless by accident. It got me to thinking about… Read more

Bad Theology=Bad Politics

I hear an undercurrent of assumption in much of the current liberal rhetoric—a mythology that progressives can best do without. That is the assumption that our present turn toward authoritarianism has somehow only temporarily interrupted American social progress. This assumption is more of that good ol’ “onward and upward forever” mythology that progressives have held onto for generations. It is time to stop fantasizing. Incredulity at authoritarianism is merely another instance of American exceptionalism, and another instance of the idea… Read more

RESIST and REJOICE!

I want to take this moment to rejoice with you that we are not alone, that we have resources, that we are doing the work of justice and right relatedness. I confess that is not necessarily easy or intuitive or glorious, the work of resistance. Sometimes it looks like plunging toilets and cleaning windows and making groceries and more groceries and changing diapers and changing modes of transportation, being scared, being rage-full, wrestling with bills and cash flow and with… Read more

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