March 30, 2024

Back  in 1994, the Canadian alternative rock band Barenaked Ladies released a song titled “What A Good Boy.” The opening lyrics went like this: When I was born, they looked at me and said “What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy” And when you were born, they looked at you and said “What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl” We’ve got these chains hanging around our necks People want to... Read more

January 23, 2024

This summer, when I was planning my sermon topics for the year, I stumbled upon an intriguing social media post from Matthew Bowman, a professor of religion and history at Claremont Graduate University. He was promoting his new book The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Alien Encounters, Civil Rights, and the New Age in America. It’s significant to highlight that this book was published by the prestigious Yale University Press. This instance is one of many examples we will... Read more

December 27, 2023

The following are the top ten best books I’ve read since this time last year–in alphabetical order by the author’s last name because agonizing over a precise order would take all the fun out of remembering these books: Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. by Marc Andrus – “The story of the friendship between King and Nhat Hanh — icons who changed each other and the world.” The Dawn of Everything:... Read more

November 20, 2023

 It feels auspicious to return to Hinduism since we are near Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of lights. In Sanskrit, Diwali literally means “a row or series of lights” and has the connotation of lights which illuminate knowledge. If you google “Diwali,” you will see some spectacular images that merely touch the surface of the truly dazzling wonder that is Diwali. This holiday is truly a symphony for the senses. Religion is about so much more than interpreting ancient texts.... Read more

November 20, 2023

I was recently on an eight-day retreat for meditation teachers near Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. Because we have an almost five-month old, the only way for me to attend the retreat was to rent a house about twenty-five minutes away in nearby Black Mountain, North Carolina. My mom and my wife took care of our baby during the day, and I drove back each evening to help with our infant overnight and in the morning. We also brought... Read more

March 10, 2023

I would like to invite us to spend some time reflecting on the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer (1917 – 1977). Her story feels like a perfect bridge as we move from Black History Month into Women’s History Month. If this post leaves you curious to learn more, I was inspired to blog about her by two excellent and accessible biographies that were published recently. The first is from Beacon Press, Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s... Read more

February 15, 2023

I blogged previously about AI in a post titled “Immigrants Aren’t Coming for Your Job, Robots Are.” So, why am I revisiting this topic now, five years later?  I knew it was time last summer when The Washington Post reported that an engineer at Google was raising the alarm that Google’s AI chatbot had already become sentient. Have you seen the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey? It’s a classic example of science fiction writers speculating that AI will one... Read more

January 31, 2023

I wonder if you have taken a philosophy course? Did you enjoy taking it?   More importantly for our purposes, did you take a philosophy course in middle school or high school? How about even earlier: in elementary school? Or kindergarten? I’m increasingly convinced that as a society we wait far too late to give people opportunities to formally engage with the really big questions of “life, the universe, and everything,” to wrestle with the many different ways that various... Read more

January 24, 2023

Sunday was the fiftieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7–2 that the Constitution protects the right to choose to have an abortion. As Jamal Greene notes in his book How Rights Went Wrong, it is perhaps surprising to remember that that majority opinion was signed by “five Republican appointees…as well as the only Catholic justice on the Court” (117). Nevertheless, six months ago in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a... Read more

January 17, 2023

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in 1929, and if he were still alive today, he would be celebrating his ninety-fourth birthday. I am always shocked to remember that he was only thirty-nine years old when he was assassinated; that’s five years younger than I am. I’m also holding in my heart that January 22nd will be the one-year anniversary of the death of Thich Nhất Hạnh—beloved peace activist, Buddhist teacher, and author of more than 100... Read more

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