March 21, 2022

In the early twentieth century, a tradition began of celebrating March 8th as International Women’s Day—an annual invitation to celebrate women’s contributions to events in history and contemporary society. In the early 1980s, this tradition expanded within the U.S. to Women’s History Week, and a few years later, to all of March as Women’s History Month. Relatedly one of my core convictions is that the stories we tell matter. Too often, our collective cultural history and stories have been told... Read more

February 23, 2022

The stories we tell matter. And each telling of history—all the varied stories of our human pasts—are invariably biased. No matter how informed, well-intentioned and open the historian, their perspectives are always constrained by their understanding and experience. History is never neutral. All stories, including all histories, are unavoidably told from some particular person’s—or group’s—point of view, a truth too rarely acknowledged, recognized, and even apparent.  The Haitian American anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1949-2012) wrote about this dynamic in his book... Read more

January 6, 2022

Have you been watching the Station Eleven tv series on HBO? Or did you read the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel? I read the book when it was published in 2014 because so many people were recommending it. And the tv series, which is a little over halfway through at this point, is arguably one of those rare cases where the television version is even better than the book.  To avoid any spoilers, I will limit myself... Read more

December 31, 2021

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: 1. One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race by Yaba Blay 2. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown 3. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman (Also helpful on... Read more

September 17, 2021

Prior to becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister in 2012, I served as a pastor in Progressive Christian congregations for nine years. Since I am now starting my tenth year of service at the UU Congregation of Frederick, Maryland, it occurred to me recently that I have now been a Unitarian Universalist minister slightly longer than I was a Christian pastor.  That means my turn toward the dark side is now complete! More seriously, I am grateful for both the years... Read more

September 10, 2021

This past Monday was Labor Day. In addition to enjoying a three-day weekend, it is important to be mindful that Labor Day is about much more than a last bit of time off at the symbolic end of summer. The first Monday in September is also an invitation to remember and celebrate the labor movement’s role in securing workers’ rights in this country. In the late nineteenth century, an increasing number of states officially recognized Labor Day as a holiday,... Read more

August 25, 2021

When I am researching a forthcoming blog post, I typically draw on books that have been published quite recently. Books that are more than a few years old too often have statistics that are out of date, or cite “current events” that no longer feel relevant. But occasionally I make exceptions for books that I just keep hearing about. An example from a few years ago is Dr. Kristen Neff’s book How to Practice Self-Compassion. It was published in 2011,... Read more

August 11, 2021

In February 2020, I received an invitation to help lead a tour of Israel and Palestine through a company that has an explicit mission of using the travel to increase social justice, peace, and freedom. One of their primary tools for doing that is the practice of “dual narratives.” This approach means that at many points on the trip you have both a Jewish Israeli guide and a Palestinian Arab guide who are in conversation with one another out of... Read more

August 3, 2021

Growing up in a theologically conservative congregation in South Carolina, I was taught that there was only one right way to be religious, and conveniently, it was ours. All other paths—including many other Christian paths—were said to be dangerous and heretical. But the more I learned about the world, the more evident it became that there are multiple spiritual paths that can lead to compassionate, wise, and generous ways of being in the world.  If we stopped here with just... Read more

July 14, 2021

We have been living through an extraordinarily hard time in world history, including years of threats to democracy in our country, an ongoing global pandemic, and on top of that, we’ve each had to face the various personal tragedies and family struggles that inevitably arise for each of us. Any one of those things is more than enough to deal with. Having to handle all of that for such a long period of time has put many of us in... Read more

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