Category Archives: Spirituality

The Yoga of Despair

This was a sermon or homily I recently gave at Beverly Unitarian Church, in Illinois, and First Unitarian Church of Hobart, in Indiana, on two consecutive Sundays. I began by showing the clip below, from the HBO series, The Newsroom. In the scene, a deputy director of the EPA is being interviewed by a news anchor.

I love that video. It’s funny, but it’s also accurate.  Except for the part about permanent darkness, everything the EPA director says in that video is true.

I especially get a kick out of the reaction of the producer, when the EPA director says, “The person has already been born who will die due to catastrophic failure of the planet.” And she says “What did he just say?!”

I had my own “what did he just say?” moment a few years ago. Continue reading The Yoga of Despair

We Are Keepers, Bearers, and Builders of the Flame


This past Sunday, my family and I led our Unitarian congregation in a community ritual intended to celebrate the different ways we live out our Unitarian Universalist Values.

As congregants came into the sanctuary, they were given one of three cards which read “Keeper of the Flame”, “Bearer of the Flame”, or “Builder of the Flame”. Each of these designated a type of ministry. The Keepers of the Flame are those focused on creating a spiritual sanctuary from a harsh world. The Bearers of the Flame are those who carry the light of UU values out into the world through social action. The Builders of the Flame are the glue that hold it all together.

Continue reading We Are Keepers, Bearers, and Builders of the Flame

What is “Spirituality”?

What is spirituality?  A friend recently asked me this and, in spite of decades of reading and writing about the topic, I found myself fumbling with a Justice Potter Stewart-style “I know it when I feel it” answer.

My friend had a ready answer and listed off three or four characteristics of a spiritual experience.  His answer was only partially satisfactory to me.  So I sat down to give this some thought and here’s what I came up with me.

This is not intended to be authoritative or prescriptive for anyone.  This is simply a description of the kind of experiences that I have which I call “spiritual”.

Continue reading What is “Spirituality”?