August 21, 2019

Will Durant, historian and philosopher, wrote: “The hope of another life gives us courage to meet our own death, and to bear with the death of our loved ones.” The hope of another life. I can sympathize with that hope, certainly now. My father died one year ago today, and that has led me to yearn for a life after this one. My father had been ill for a long time – he’d been fighting cancer for two years when I… Read more

August 16, 2019

Last week, skeptics descended on St. Louis. For the first time in its more than ten year history, Skepticon – one of the largest conventions in the USA for skeptics, atheists, agnostics, Humanists, and the secular – was held not in Springfield, Missouri (its ancestral home and birthplace) but the Gateway to the West. I first attended Skepticon back in 2011, and the differences between that convention and this reveal a shift in priorities for the secular movement – or… Read more

August 10, 2019

I moved to St. Louis in June of 2014. I moved across the country, leaving the leafy walks of Harvard Yard and the coastal air of Boston, to a city I knew almost nothing about in a state I’d hardly ever visited, to do a job I had never done: I was to train as clergy for the Ethical Society of St. Louis, a Humanist congregation. I didn’t know whether I’d enjoy the city or the work. I was giving… Read more

August 8, 2019

My association with the Humanists at Harvard began with a happy accident. I had moved to Boston to study, and found it mostly similar to the culture I had left back in London. People were worse at queuing, never waited for you to get off the metro before getting on, and had a strange propensity to ask “How’s it going?” before leaving without receiving an answer (a habit I have now picked up). But, in general, Boston and London are… Read more

July 31, 2019

Update: The American Humanist Association has started a petition to bring back the pillow! Sign now! Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, wrote a post about this also! Unless you’ve already picked up your Humanist pillow from Target, you may be out of luck – they’ve already been pulled from the shelves. Last week, a congregant at the Ethical Society of St. Louis posted a link to our Facebook group showing that Target was selling – rather surprisingly – a pillow embroidered with… Read more

July 18, 2019

A recent article in the LA Times has sparked an interesting discussion online: what should Humanists do about the increasing interest among many younger people in practices like astrology, crystal healing, and tarot? (Thanks to Diane Burkholder and Josiah Mannion for kicking this one off.) I think the question is a good one, because one of the challenges for the Humanist movement, as we seek to grow, is how we can remain true to our core values while being welcoming to… Read more

July 18, 2019

I haven’t sung for almost two years. As my father became increasingly ill, I found it harder to access the joy I need for singing. This pained me more than I can say. I’ve been a choral singer since I was a child: I began in my middle school choir, then sang all the way through high school, college, and with many different groups through grad school too. I was trained from a young age in a particular tradition of… Read more

July 10, 2019

At 17, I first tearfully told my family I thought I might be gay. We were eating at a favorite Italian restaurant and someone made a joke about gay people, and I burst into tears. I said, as sobs racked my body: “I don’t think we should make fun of those people, because I think…I am one!” At the time I felt my life was over. I’m not sure why: I grew up in a very non-judgmental family, welcoming to… Read more

July 10, 2019

I came to the States in retreat: I was running away from the classroom. I had trained for years to be a teacher – volunteer work helping teach workshops as a high school kid, three years studying education at Cambridge, an intensive six weeks with the Teach First program (think Teach for America, but in the UK) – but I turned out to be horrible. I had dreamed of being an inspiration teacher, and I was a disastrous one. You know those… Read more

July 1, 2019

Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has electrified large parts of the Democratic electorate, and seeing him on the debate stage it’s easy to see why: he is a forceful, focused speaker who projects a calm strength allied with a quiet moral intensity. He seems honest and open to learning from his mistakes. As the first openly gay candidate for the presidential nomination of a major party in the USA, his identity and backstory have a unique… Read more

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