May 31, 2023

              In 1960, while being interviewed on the television show “Meet the Press,” Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, observed, “I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies, that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hours in Christian America.” Sixty years and change later, it’s still true. And, actually, the tragedy extends beyond Christian communities. Perhaps... Read more

May 30, 2023

                The novelist Lidia Yuknavitch tells how once in her youth, “Joan of Arc visited me in a dream—in the dream, I was standing in our front yard and our house was on fire. She stepped out of the burning house and said ‘No one is coming to save you.’” Joan comes to us in dreams. She can do that. And those words. Well, if anyone knows those words, it would be Joan.... Read more

May 28, 2023

    Today is the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday. In the Western church it marks the marvelous fable of the holy spirit coming to rest upon a throng of Jesus’ followers who had gathered in Jerusalem for the festival of weeks. While I might argue the point, Pentecost is usually called the birthday of the Christian church. I have a favorite trope that I cite from time to time. It goes “the spirit lists (or rests) where it will.”... Read more

May 25, 2023

          Today marks the 220th anniversary of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birth. Me, I consider this a signal event in the spiritual development of North America. And, who knows, perhaps the world. He was a central founder of the Unitarian Transcendentalist movement. For most of America, Transcendentalism was a literary movement. However, in fact it was a theological and spiritual revolution within American Unitarianism and only incidentally a literary phenomenon. I often think of how Zen’s rise... Read more

May 23, 2023

    After I shared my ChatGPT “homily on love” in the style of “James Ishmael Ford” one of my kinder friends assured me the voice was no where near like mine. Way too saccharine. Which I appreciated until I realized in a sentence by someone who is a precise writer, who exactly was saccharine was not actually clear. Then another friend agreed that it wasn’t my voice. “Not a single single word sentence.” Which is sort of my trademark.... Read more

May 22, 2023

      I asked ChatGPT to “write a homily on love in the style of James Ishmael Ford. It did. At least sort of. Parts of it have robot James suggesting some sort of essence to life that we call love. On the one hand I’m pretty relentless in rejecting any form of essentialism. On another I probably have written words like that. And I’m assuming ChatGPT is drawing on things I’ve written. Then it shifts and I’m a... Read more

May 21, 2023

          Me, I love saints. I love the whole category of saints, holy people of their various religions. Holy people who are not quite considered gods, but who partake of something special. Sometimes they’re martyrs for their faiths. Often they’re wonder workers, in large or small ways. They might have the marks of the divine like stigmata among Christians. They may blend into prophecy, or be charismatic teachers. A very important function of saints is as... Read more

May 20, 2023

      I noticed how today, the 20th of May, is a feast for Lucifer in some parts of the Catholic liturgical calendar. Okay, Lucifer of Cagliari, a fourth century bishop of Cagliari in Sardina. Not much remembered these days outside of Sardina, he left a trail of controversy. His fame at the time was as a ferocious opponent of Arianism. His views were so extreme that even Athanasius who is said to have physically assaulted the priest Arius,... Read more

May 15, 2023

    Originally a sermon preached back when Jan & I lived in New England, revisited, dusted off, and lightly rewritten in honor of the 146th anniversary of Emily Dickinson’s death. 1263 Tell all the truth but tell it slant – Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind – Jan and I treasured our... Read more

May 14, 2023

  Mother’s Day. I find myself thinking about my mother now long dead. My auntie, my “junior mother,” more recently dead. Although also slipping back in time and memory. And, looming behind their mother, my grandmother. Each of them now among the great cloud of witnesses. A few times I’ve tried to outline my relationships with these women and how each is a mother for me in very, very important ways. I never feel I do them justice. And, so,... Read more

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