On the Right to Take Up Space

(homily for a prayer vigil for those murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina) I. Power is about controlling space. Fundamentally, power is about controlling space. Governments do it with borders. Governments do it with armies and navies and air forces. Governments do it with police. Power is about controlling space. In [Read More...]

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Essential Summer Reading (and why freedom of the press was invented)

Though the idea had been around for millennia, the 1662 book Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality by John Graunt generally gets credit for awakening European governments (and insurance companies) to the usefulness of aggregating data. We don’t think much about it nowadays when we hear how many Americans will die [Read More...]


Sandra Bland died in police custody, and now there is video available for all to see of her encounter with the trooper who, after pulling her over, asks her to put out her cigarette.  She declines, and the cop gets more and more aggressive as she (legally) fails to comply with his requests. Now, you [Read More...]


“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2015 General Assembly recognizes that the fight for civil rights and equality is as real today as it was decades ago and urges member congregations to take initiative in collaboration with local and national organizations fighting for racial justice against the harsh racist practices to which many black people [Read More...]

Informed Eclecticism: Why Unitarian Universalism Needs Wing Nuts

The Very Hungry Syncretism Orthodox Unitarian Universalism is syncretic, in theologian-lingo. In philosophy and the arts it’s called eclecticism, and I prefer that term because it’s a bit closer to common English usage. UUs are often eclectic in religious orientation—mindfulness, yoga, perhaps a nod toward reincarnation, some awareness of Jungian psychology, a bit of Process [Read More...]

Guest Blogger Maria Greene asks, Why is Humanism So Scary for the UUA?

In the late 1960s—like so many other liberal movements—Humanism lost its way. Understandably, many Universalist and Unitarian congregations held onto Humanism long after the philosophy had grown moribund. The cultural currents shifted toward an eclectic mix of Christian liturgy, Buddhist practice, yoga and “spiritual but not religious.” Humanism did not adapt. Many of us held [Read More...]

It’s a Both/And kind of world

There is a lot of either/or thinking in the common narrative today…and I think the world is a little more complex than that. We celebrate the liberty of gay and lesbian Americans to marry – AND we continue to struggle for the rights of black, trans*, immigrants, and formerly incarcerated people to have truly just access to [Read More...]

Unitarian Humanism, That Peculiar Animal

Integrity. The word comes from the Latin, integer, “intact.” Related words include integer, a “whole number,” and integrate, “to put together.” When a boat has “watertight integrity” it doesn’t leak . . . much. Integrity is a feeling of psychological wholeness we get when our moral ideals matche our actions. It is the wholeness of [Read More...]

Black Churches, Black Lives, the Legacy of Whiteness

Nation Building The United States government has failed at nation-building and democracy-creating more often than not. And never so badly as in the case of the defeated Confederate States of America. I’m an outcome of that failure, as is the white terrorist who recently murdered people in their own church. We are an old and [Read More...]