book cover Philosophy in the Flesh
book cover Philosophy in the Flesh

We humans think along particular cleared paths through the forests of our minds. Yes, that’s a metaphor — actually a couple of them — one way we go about thinking. Another way, among Westerners (an example of what I’m about to say) is dichotomies and opposites: hot/cold; alive/dead; abstract/concrete; sacred/profane; spiritual/material.

All ways of thinking are good ways of getting some kinds of thinking done, but we often forget that we’ve walked down one of those pre-cleared paths and think we’re thinking of . . . well, the whole forest . . . .

Alright, forget that metaphor. We think…


Photo by Nadine Marfurt on UnsplashHow to Go to Heaven
Photo by Nadine Marfurt on UnsplashHow to Go to Heaven

Most Americans are centrists to a little tad left on social issues. Poll after poll shows that. Sure, we must fight the good fight for social justice, but the polls show secular Americans, liberal mainline denominations, and a lot of nonprofits are carrying the banner for our social causes. That’s not the reason Unitarian Universalist or Humanist groups exist. We exist primarily — existentially — because we offer theological and philosophical hope through the possibility for another way of thinking and another way of living.

Free-thought.

Yet — you can look this up, but please don’t “like” them or “follow”…


Theocracy and Its Discontents
Theocracy and Its Discontents

One of the central paradoxes in Western Christianity has been that forcing a religion on a large number of people, as European nations have been want to do, produces a whole lot of Christian people, sure, yet given the variety of thought in the human mind when there’s a whole lot of people believing something, the outward show of Christianity and the inward experience of it will almost necessarily be different things. What did being a Christian mean to a farmer’s wife in southern France in the year 900? We have little to no idea.

One thing we can count…


Wait! Where’s the Mystery?
Wait! Where’s the Mystery?

One thing about Humanism that catches people up is that we don’t have any secret words, elaborate handshakes, esoteric stages of enlightenment, or locked doors. We know the who’s and when’s of the humanisms in our contemporary world, and we furthermore know that the concept has been created and sustained through the years by fallible human beings just as we are now, not thundering gods or heroes of superhuman strength.

In addition to all the above, we know that humanist ideas have arisen worldwide and throughout history. After all, even though it is still an audacious thought, there’s nothing complex…


Get Your Narthex On Out of Here
Get Your Narthex On Out of Here

Taking the long view of human religions, we have to admit that most religions have taken the side of stability and the rule of elites rather than backing the rebel or the oppressed. From the point of view of social stability this makes sense. From the point of view of individual worth and dignity, it kinda stinks.

Take as example the newest book by scholar and commentator Robert P. Jones — White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity. Dr. Jones traces the long, sad, and brutal tale of Christian complicity in white supremacy in excruciating detail…


Egyptian ankh carved i stone
Egyptian ankh carved i stone

A persistent question among political liberals is that of cultural appropriation — “the colonial gaze.” Is an American of Irish decent committing cultural appropriation when she celebrates Día de los Muertos? Is a person of Mexican descent culturally appropriating when he celebrates St. Patrick’s Day?

This questioning chases its own tail. No, there is no zero-point in considering an idea cultural appropriation. Think of all the appropriating that went on along the Silk Road. Think of all the places the Egyptian ankh has been. Conservatives are correct from that perspective that human ideas have long remained un-copyrighted.

Yet, is it…


The Neighborhood of Boston
The Neighborhood of Boston

A very old discussion in Unitarian circles has been the question of whether or not the movement could go beyond “the neighborhood of Boston,” as the old saying went. This is still a question; perhaps the question for Unitarian Universalism, because “the neighborhood of Boston” is more than a geographical location. It’s a mental location. It’s a mental location created by a very Boston set of rules for the game. A very New England set of rules for the game.


Whose Cakes, What Cakes: Testosterone and Monotheism
Whose Cakes, What Cakes: Testosterone and Monotheism

Growing up Pentecostal, I read the bible a lot as a kid. One thing that baffled me was the continuing backsliding and apostasy of the Hebrew people. There they were, having lived through Egyptian plagues and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea, with Moses on a mountain top getting direct orders from God, and there they were, building and worshiping a golden calf. What was up with that?

How could they, I asked, keep searching when they had already found the one true god? …

David Breeden

Poet, Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, a Humanist congregation. Amazon author's page amazon.com/author/davidbreeden

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