May 16, 2022

        Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was born on this day, the 16th of May, in 1804. The litany of her accomplishments is long. Widely read and cultivated, after starting and running two schools, and would eventually open the first kindergarten in the United States. Elizabeth served as William Ellery Channing’s private secretary for nine years. She transcribed his sermons, edited them, and saw them through publication. Continuing her interest in education she assisted Amos Bronson Alcott in his... Read more

May 15, 2022

      A while back BBC produced a wonderful six-part History of Christianity written and presented by the scholar Diarmaid MacCulloch. I recommend it. In the first episode Professor MacCulloch talked, briefly, about the Oriental Orthodox churches.  He interviewed a professor from a seminary of the Syriac Orthodox Church, which is a monophysite church in communion with the Coptic Church in Egypt & the Tewahedo Church in Ethiopia. The Monophysite (there’s actually a ton written on why the Monophysite... Read more

May 14, 2022

      It was on this day, May 14th, 1878. that the last trial on a charge of witchcraft was initiated in an American court. Somewhat awkwardly for all concerned, the case was heard in Salem, Massachusetts. It was brief. But it had an interesting backstory. Lucretia Brown of Ipswich, Massachusetts was a life long invalid. At the age of fifty she embraced Christian Science and its promises of cures for matters physical as well as spiritual. For her... Read more

May 13, 2022

      As it happens, today, the 13th of May, in 1373, Julian of Norwich starting having a series of visions. It would become the basis of her extended meditation, Revelations of Divine Love. I find myself thinking of Love. I find myself thinking of Universalism. At Wikipedia we find: “Universalism is a religion and theology that generally holds all persons and creatures are related to God or the divine and will be reconciled to God. A church that... Read more

May 10, 2022

    Hard to recall the date precisely. I was somewhere on the cusp of adolescence, maybe thirteen, possibly as old as fourteen. A friend and I were rummaging through some boxes of magazines and books looking for old copies of my father’s stash of Playboys. Instead found a cache of Ace paperback editions of Edgar Rice Burrough’s novels, replete with Frank Frazetta covers. I loved those covers. I’m almost positive my first Burroughs novel was At the Earth’s Core. And... Read more

May 8, 2022

      For those of us familiar with Julia Ward Howe’s original vision of Mother’s Day as a celebration of peace, how do we honor that original intent? How do we look for peace, and, hopefully find peace? And, maybe, wouldn’t it be wonderful, spread the heart of peace out into the world? And, of course. Where do we find peace specifically in these harsh and violent times? This world of war. And filled with more rumors of war.... Read more

May 6, 2022

    I missed it as it passed, but, yesterday, the 5th of May was a signal moment in the history of liberal religion in the United States. And, I want to take a moment to pause and reflect on it. To this moment I have a vivid memory. I was working at Wahrenbrock’s Book House in San Diego. The exact date is lost for me, something in the neighborhood of thirty-five years ago. Wahrenbrocks was one of those great... Read more

May 5, 2022

        Today is Cinco de Mayo. I usually offer a reflection on this day about why I think it is in fact a holiday we in the United States should be observing. With, I quickly add, some serious caveats. I acknowledge a pretty good measure of discomfort at how the holiday has become the Mexican St Patrick’s Day. And I mean with all the ills that follow that sad degeneration of someone’s largely religious holiday into shamrocks... Read more

May 3, 2022

      Peter Seeger was born on this day, the 3rd of May, in Manhattan, in 1919. He would become a fixture of the Folk scene through the larger part of the twentieth century, and a stalwart of the social justice movement. Looking through my files I see I wrote about him a dozen times on my blog. He certainly loomed large in my life. Pete died eight years ago, in 2014. All things pass, even memories. But he... Read more

May 2, 2022

        King James (the sixth of Scotland and first of England) not long crowned planned a conference for November, 1603, to discuss sundry matters involving the church of which he was now head. Due to an outbreak of plague the Hampton Court Conference in fact met in February, 1604. The king and his counselors dealt with some complaints from the Puritan element of the church, matters of who should officiate at baptisms (clergy only, thank you), ecclesiastical... Read more


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