Tornados, Typhoons, and Straw Dogs: Giving Thanks With Some Thinking

Thanksgiving American style. The day declared a national holiday for the purpose of giving thanks. Despite the best efforts of those of a theocratic bent, who or what to thank remains open to interpretation. My thanks goes to the universe that just keeps cranking out good things. As the fifth chapter of the Daodejing puts [Read More...]

In the Need of Prayer

In the past few days, I have asked friends and colleagues to pray for a young man they have never met. One of my dearest friends (we will call him S.) is currently on life support in California after a horrible accident. His wife sits by his side as family and friends from all around [Read More...]

Weeping on Rocky Top

By the time they were three, both my sons knew the lyrics to “Rocky Top,” the fight song not only for the state university, but for all of East Tennessee. Most fight songs bespeak valiant effort and ultimate glory. Not this one. It has lines like, “Corn don’t grow at all on Rocky Top, soil’s [Read More...]

Where Were You When…?

There are times in history that imprint themselves on our psyche, events that seem to change the order of the Universe. For some it was the bombing of Pearl Harbor, for others 9/11. For me, it is the memory of being in a car with some Brandeis friends driving to Cambridge for a Friday outing. [Read More...]

The Four Yogas and Transcendental Humanism

A group from the local Hindu temple recently contacted me about jointly celebrating the 150th birthday of Vivekananada, the Hindu priest who took the World Parliament of Religions by storm back in 1893 and introduced Vedanta Hinduism to the Western Hemisphere. Vivekananda spoke at the congregation where I serve as senior minister, the First Unitarian [Read More...]

Playing Together

I went to a great concert last night, and it’s made me think about why it is that I like hanging out with musicians. Now, I don’t know any rock stars, but because I’m an avid contra dancer, I get the opportunity to spend time around people who are the rock stars of our little, [Read More...]

Living History: How JFK’s assassination woke me up

I was sitting in a small desk, and Mrs. Graham was at the front of Room 3 in Overbrook School in Charleston, West Virginia, the day that John F. Kennedy was shot. Randall Hainey’s mom came running in the side door with a transistor radio to tell us. Handing out lined paper, Mrs. Graham said [Read More...]

Songs that Save Us

Emma’s Revolution came to New Orleans and offered a workshop focused on singing and songwriting for social justice last weekend. I am still reeling a bit from process. Yesterday I caught myself humming a song and wondered “whose song am I singing?” With a flash of wonder, I realized that it was mine. It wasn’t [Read More...]

The Playground Atheist Looks Back

It may be that every elementary school, across the whole South, has at least one self-appointed Playground Atheist. You know the type: when all the other kids are showing off their new “WWJD” bracelets and mooning about how cool the youth pastor is, there’s a sharp-eyed fellow, standing there by the slide, not believing any [Read More...]


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