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Atheism, Heaven, and Music

While highly distracted with love and hope (I fell for someone – on my face!), I managed to read three good but very different books this month: "Atheist Manifesto," "Proof of Heaven," and "This is Your Brain on Music."  Because I owe all six of my regular readers something by the first of the month (when an automatic reminder goes out to this site’s subscribers) and because the events of my love life and non-love life roused up similar concerns, I’ll review them here. After…

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Are UU’s Christian?

Are Unitarian Universalists Christian?  Some are.  Some aren’t.  The question is as old as the religions themselves, going back to their forming and founding.  The answer depends on who gets to answer.  If orthodox (that is, “conforming to approved doctrine”) Christians get to determine, then no, we’re not.  We’re heretics, which word comes from “those who choose,” because we choose to see and say our truth, our Christianity, as our religion.  That’s older than the Protestant Reformation, for the early Christians differed too, some claiming…

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Emerson, on his 200th

On May 25th of this year we could celebrate the 200th birthday of a quintessential American: Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Emerson exemplified American individualism as the holy duty of being human.  He was the ultimate Protestant, preaching we should be ourselves as daringly, caringly and authentically as we can – that is God’s infinite creativity made manifest and satisfied.   “Man is timid and apologetic; he dares not say, “I think,” “I am,” but quotes some saint or sage,” said Emerson.  I don’t mind the irony. …

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Faith in the Larger Liberty

Picture this: Our president in the White House takes scissors to Bible, cutting out of the New Testament all that makes Jesus more God than human.  Out goes the virgin birth story, the miracles, even the resurrection.  When preachers object, he calls them “soothsayers and necromancers.”  To top it off, he is having an extended affair with his half-black servant, fathering children with her.   Such a scandal would leave Fox News sputtering, unsure how to begin the spin.  How prissy and protected we are.…

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The Widow’s Mite and the Widow’s Might

I’m not one to prove a point by quoting scripture, as if it puts the wisdom in us, but the Widow’s Mite story says so much about the reality of our country’s economic relations I just have to use it. Luke 21 tells of Jesus observing the collection bowl at the temple. A rich Pharisee makes a big show of putting in a relatively large amount. A widow meekly puts in a mere mite. “See,” Jesus says to his followers, “she gave more, for she…

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Why Unitarian Universalism serves God and Humanity better than Christianity Does

Many religions have one thing in common: each believes it has the best truth.   It is bold or predictable for me to preach on why our religion has the best truth?  I suspect many UUs would resist such an attempt.  Everyone has the right to their own way, we believe.  What works for some wouldn’t work for us, yet we’re glad that others have their ways.  We’re not evangelical.  We don’t proselytize.  We’re a “live and let live” religion.   Meanwhile other religions insist…

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Theology Still Pertinent

“It doesn’t make an iota of difference,” goes the phrase meaning it couldn’t matter less.  That phrase comes from an old theological fight over the letter “i”.  The homousians and the homoiusians had it out over whether the iota should be there.  One side claimed Jesus was of the same nature as God.   The other claimed he was of the same substance.  For this iota of theological difference, hundreds were killed.   More important than an “i” in a word is the “I” in you. …

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The Da Vinci Code: A Review

Having not read The Da Vinci Code, as has some sixty million readers worldwide, I felt professionally obliged to see the movie.  It did not shock me, but I’m used to these ideas.  (I favor the more radical possibility that Jesus not only loved Mary Magdeline and fathered a child with her, but survived his crucifixion (with her and his mother’s help) and lived on to be a father of children in northern India, where he is buried.)  In the Da Vinci Code, she left…

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Deeper than Roots

Deeper than any scriptural roots are the cosmic substances that make life possible.  Our western religious roots reach deep via old scriptures, but other roots were cut off, defined out, declared heretical, just as our ways have been treated.  Along side the New Testament books are the adjacent but banned Gnostic texts of that early Christian era.  In them, we find our liberal religious ways align with the ways of Jesus and his early followers better than Christianity’s orthodox approach has, especially in terms of…

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