September 15, 2019

    There are lots of different reasons people are called saints. Some die witnesses for their faith. They’re called saints in lots of official calendars. Others live lives of extreme privation as examples. There are a number of them in those lists. Others just claim it for themselves and their co-religionists. But, for me, there is a particular kind of person I think of as worthy of the title. Early in the Nineteenth century, New England native James Chisholm… Read more

September 14, 2019

        “When we begin to practice, I think our concepts and notions of enlightenment are formed by what drives us to practice. Some of us believe we’re special, or we want to be special. Some of us want to be free of suffering. Some of us want life to make sense. I think these notions fall away as the practice works on us.” Jan Seymour-Ford Read more

September 11, 2019

    The Sunday that followed 9/11 I was expected to preach. Casting about to find something that might be a word of hope I listened to stories.  One in particular captured my heart. Now, years have passed and we’ve found ourselves mired in recriminations, and blame placing. Wars followed. Endless wars. Some of this cascade of violence called for out of the act, some of it merely excused by the events of 9/11. And, this has been noticed and commented… Read more

September 10, 2019

      I find myself thinking of the late popular science writer Stephen Jay Gould. Today, the 10th of September, he would have turned seventy-eight. If he’d not died in 2002. A while back when preparing for a talk I became obsessed with finding a half remembered citation from him. However, after decades of acquisitions as Jan & I knew we were going to be retiring and as part of that moving from a house to a condo that… Read more

September 9, 2019

    In 2006, as I was getting ready to take off on my first (and it would turn out to be only) sabbatical I was advised by an elder colleague that it would be wise to keep in touch with the gang back home. You know, the people who are paying me to do this, most of whom will never get one of their own in their lives. Another, younger colleague suggested trying a blog. “You like to write,”… Read more

September 8, 2019

    While this was preached for the UU church in Anaheim, California, it speaks to a larger spirituality I believe can justly be claimed by many beyond the small circle that is the Unitarian Universalist world. This “liberal religion” that is more than any one denomination, genuinely is a contender to be the American religion, although it has up until this point lagged behind the two others, New Thought and Mormonism. For those concerned about the splotches on my… Read more

September 7, 2019

    Wherein the Zen teacher James Myoun Ford picks at a koan, wanders around, gets confused about who founded Calvinism, has a musical interlude, and finally brings it all home. Read more

September 7, 2019

It was on this day, the 7th of September, in 1911 that Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested under suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa. A classic example of the dangers of being an ironist in literalist times. Apollinaire was a renowned critic, poet, pornographer and the man who coined the term “surrealism” as well as “cubism.” He would come to be considered one of the signal Western literary figures of the early twentieth century. One could see why he would fall under… Read more

September 6, 2019

      I wrote this a couple of years ago. Noting how this is the 29th anniversary of Issan Dorsey’s death on the 6th of September, 1990, I think it worth sharing again.    Tommy Dorsey, Jr, was born on the 7th of March, 1933, in Santa Barbara. The youngest of ten, he was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. He dropped out of college and joined the Navy, only to be discharged when discovered in a relationship with… Read more

September 1, 2019

The “Luminous Religion,” a 7th-century Chinese branch of Christianity, incorporated elements of Buddhism & Daoism. Its “new” Christian texts, the Jesus Sutras, are innocent of original sin. Instead it fully embraced the loveliness of the world. And while celebrating the divine origins of their teacher, consistently emphasized his teachings as the truly important thing. They described the Luminous religion simply as a way of life. Read more

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