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Questions of comfort
Where do you find comfort in suffering if you don't believe suffering has a greater purpose?
Visiting Auschwitz, the imagination can only handle so much.
Sankofa Ghana: A spiritual journey home
What did I need to retrieve from a visit to the slave ships' point of departure?
As I ebb toward the end of life
Hear / the ocean's roar and backdrop din / in the death-hollowed shells.
Breaking on through
Language helps us make meaning of what is happening to us, when it isn’t a barrier.
One simple, transformative practice
A search for connection is at the heart of all spiritual traditions and practices.
A few words on going to a Zen retreat.
Live better, help often, wonder more
The Sunday Assembly movement shares Unitarian Universalism's values, but has a lot more fun expressing them.
Light a candle or two this Thanksgivukkah
Where are you in the stories of the two holidays that just happen to coincide this year?
The only time I was called by my first name
When I was in the Army, the Sunday service was the only hour of my week when I could be my true and whole self.
Sculptures: A congregation in clay
Members of a Massachusetts congregation made self-portraits in clay.
Birth, breath, and death
Doulas are called to care, to encourage, and to leave the world better than we found it.
Our animal contradictions
How Unitarian Universalism can help us sort out our place in the animal world.
The power of visual design for UU evangelism
In our multimedia society, an image's worth is probably closer to a million words.
A mélange of garbage / and triumphant blooms.
You don't say
We can’t help seeing through words, but it’s worth trying.
I'll stand her ground
What I'm telling my daughter, an African-American teenager, about Trayvon Martin's death.
Drawing from a 'weird and highly focused comfort zone.'
May you have ease of well-being
Do I really want to spend this entire day with whatever might come up about my mother?
The Honey Springs worship committee ponders joys and sorrows
‘I’m just a fool for church people and the things that happen in church.’
Meditation: Calling, part two
Being in the world who I was created to be.
A few words in favor of Jezebel
Is Jezebel the baddest of the bad girls of the Bible?
Meaning in the midst of war
Easy answers lead to difficult questions. So why not just start with the questions?
I'm going to have to let me go
Who is really in control here?
Writing to the general
Or, how I realized that copying letters for Amnesty International was a spiritual discipline.
Grief and celebration are interwoven in this world, like winter and spring.
I kept hoping that one day I would up and be the mother from the greeting card picture.
A humanist's guide to prayer
What would the prayer of a humanist sound like?
Workshop of being
Where was I to find a liberal religious community in the middle of Kansas farm country?
Speaking with many voices
True multiculturalism means being humble and brave enough to explore differences.
Unitarian Universalism's two truths
What is our healing message? To what are we being beckoned when we gather?
The next Jesus to come through the door
When I meet a Jesus, I like to keep an open mind.
When God is a baby
A soul story is a dream from the depths of a culture.
Meditation on gratitude
We give thanks for the voyage of life from seed to harvest.
I'll return to that time and space that was my home.
Love will prevail
Love is not afraid; love is tough.
I too am beautiful
Look at the way you see me.
Stitching it together
It would be easier to use a blanket, but we ask more of people who enter our churches: We ask them to be quilters.
Hand in hand, Fall 2012
To create deep and enduring relationships, our love must develop into mutual trust.
The taste of awakening
On having a spiritual practice.
Sitting and writing
'Small noticings' can lead to larger insights.
The green after
'When I die, I want to have my ashes buried under this tree.'
Faith and belief
Sometimes grabbing on to what appears most solid is exactly the wrong thing to do.
The stars are dancing
Do not sit alone in the dark.
A different church
They would embrace me in my full Amazon glory, or they could fry ice.
Heroes with feet of clay
Where did I get this idea that the people in my shrine should be perfect?
Making sure General Assembly has something for everyone
General Assembly needs good social action, but in our diverse faith it needs other things, too.
Lessons from love
Our weakest parts help us communicate with others.
We come to church to hear meaningful words spoken to us.
International flower communion, June 10, 2012
Czech Unitarians mark their church's 90th anniversary.
Listen from the heart so others can speak from the heart
In Soul to Soul groups, silence can connect us more deeply than using words or questions.
Stained glass: Nautilus
'Paradoxically simple in its beauty and complex in its engineering.'
An odyssey into my family's religious past.
Poem: April wind
Mixed media: Woods sentinel
Interpreting the visual treasures that surround us.
Flowers for communion
What does your Flower Communion bloom symbolize?
Prayers of desperation
My prayers are prayers of desperation lest I wish ill on the merely irritating.
Wandering in the wilderness
Personal feelings of being in the wilderness can help us tap into a collective force that evidences grace.
Painting: 57th and Broadway at 5:00 pm
The challenge of not relying on recognizable subject matter.
Practice religious hospitality
Simply smiling and saying hello to visitors would transform our congregations.
I watch the trees / as seasons cycle.
At my mother's funeral
Unitarian Universalists are precisely the people who can't believe whatever they want.
As the crow flies
I aspire to live as the crow flies.
Painting: Snowy bank
A rare storm offers a new scene.
We cannot hear unless there is silence.
Poem: The day after
The tree alone directing us / To peaceful paths / With its symbolic star.
Winter solstice and the shaman within
It is we ourselves who must don the shaman's mask.
How to give a blessing
I didn't mean to give an honest answer when asked, 'How are you?'
Are you a wretch?
Not every religious tradition asks you to choose your theological stance midway through a hymn.
Modern life interferes with the lessons and warnings of Nature.
A little change
Pretending I'm self-sufficient at the Family Dollar store.
Mixed media: Unity
Celebrating natural, wild forms.
How Unitarian Universalists break the rules
Rule breaking just might be right up our alley.
The 'I' of me is a snapshot of something in motion.
Shopping for God
However people first come to a Unitarian Universalist church, their questions often include something about god.
The soul's address
Why do we discount our bodies as unworthy of reverence?
Sculpture: A reliquary of wood
Honoring the native hardwoods of Arkansas.
Sculpture: Unitarian windows
A collaboration yields a classical form.
What if our new metaphor for time was craftsmanship?
Sculpture: 88 notes
A piano is transformed.
My patient's faith
Before I began the operation, my patient asked, 'Could I say a prayer first?'
Poem: Getting through another loss
This time, I need the words of a prayer.
Love, freedom, and wonder
Recalling a childhood in a Unitarian Universalist fellowship.
Sing me to sleep
I wanted things to go back to normal. I wanted none of this to be happening.
Poem Attitude adjustment
Multiculturalism? Well and good. But don't stop there!
The wisdom of the wild
I don't mean misbehavior, but real wildness, elemental wildness, animal wildness.
Grace wins in the end
'I am a sworn enemy of the saccharine, and a believer in grace over karma.'
Brilliant colors and the 'crazy parts of our lives.'
Optimism often lies, but hope never fails.
Two prose poems
I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.
A nation of immigrants
I couldn't help but connect the plight of these migrants to my own family history.
Responding to holiday depression with compassion
She stomped up and down the aisles until she saw her Christmas tree.
Stirring up gratitude
In a flash, memories of joy and sorrow mingle in thanksgiving.
The Honey Springs worship committee ponders a revival
What would a Unitarian Universalist revival be reviving?
The dark llama
Standing in the shadow of the nebulae.
The demon of certainty and the curious heart
Certainty is the most dangerous demon of all.
If our beliefs have meaning, we must act as if our souls depend on it.
The Honey Springs congregation confronts its ant problem
Conflict resolution in a congregation not unlike yours.
Meditation on brokenness
Our ability to break and heal keeps us alive and makes us stronger.
The wisdom tree
Sometimes the place where you used to find wisdom gets destroyed.
The enlightened one as imperfect, cracked, and chipped.
We are already in paradise
There is no land promised to any of us other than the land already given.
Protesting Arizona's new immigration law
We must respond with love to the fear that drives the debate about immigration.
The ways of the forest
Everything has a job in the forest.
The Honey Springs worship committee plans its Easter service
A minister, a Pagan, a Christian, a Humanist, and an anthropologist set to work, in a congregation not unlike yours.
Finding spirit in the sundown
The only way to prepare for facing Alzheimer's is to remain attentive to the present moment.
Why I pray for others
I asked my friend to pray for me.
Mary Daly changed my life
I am not sorry that I used to be ‘one of those angry women.’
Religious community is essential
The central task of the religious community.
The church is people
It is not a body of belief, a set of principles, or an impressive structure of stone, wood, and glass.
Painting: My goddess, my love
From the stage to the canvas.
A family holy enough to merit the highest forms of reverence.
Poem about light
You can try to strangle light.
Jesus, peasant revolutionary
A paradoxical power is revealed in people the world despises, in people the world deems weak.
Cricket's song shows life's fragility
There is a cricket playing the violin in my bathroom.
Be the change
We must become, and learn to think of ourselves as, forces of history.
A spark of understanding
My first encounter with Unitarianism.
Death barged in
He has been here ever since.
Like hope, trust, and love, gratitude is both a feeling and a spiritual practice.
The liberal saints
Andrene Kauffman’s murals in Chicago’s Third Unitarian Church honor heroes of the liberal spirit.
Growing up in a UU family
People probably thought my parents were hippies because we were out-of-the-closet Unitarian Universalists.
Prayer for the people of Iran
An Iranian-American holds her breath as hundreds of thousands march for democracy in Iran.
Finding relief in the storm
The complexity of asking for, and offering, help.
Lessons from an elephant sage
Speak from a place of distraction, and the elephant will not move.
The church board and the Illuminati
What did the Décor Committee know, and when did they know it?
Sabbath, an ecological spiritual delight
Slow down and walk lightly on the Earth, even if just for a moment.
Guess who I am.
I worshiped the gods of comedy and tragedy long before I worshiped Jesus's God.
Reclaiming my space in the sisterhood
The International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women revived me.
An African pilgrimage
Coming face to face and heart to heart with the reality of slavery.
An entangled bank
The grandeur of the evolutionary worldview.
Flat tire and a beating heart
A heartbeat is one thing you want to do like everyone else.
Renewing the world
Modern and ancient New Year's celebrations from around the world.
A broken hallelujah
Praise in the midst of a broken world and a broken heart?
It's all about family
There's no better context than a family reunion to get over your fears.
Imagination and the wild
Crane your neck. Worm your way. Wolf it down.
The church and the unicorn
One of them is a mythical creature worth believing in.
How it feels to be 80
The only really upsetting thing about being old is realizing that I'm not going to see how everything comes out.
Love can't fix everything
I knew the gunman who killed two in a Knoxville church, but I can't fathom his choice.
Biggest coffee hour imaginable
First impressions of a first-time General Assembly goer.
Prayer in the aftermath of hate
Words of grief and consolation after a deadly attack on the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.
PostSecret Project reveals our common humanity
People keep secrets for all kinds of reasons.
Letter to a new parent
Your heart will be worn and joyous, wise and beat up, and full of sorrow and amazement.
Reading for the day
Love the gift of your life and do no harm.
Love and death
Facing cancer with lessons learned from my parishioners.
'And what church did you say you attend?'
Ceremonies for everyday life
Establishing connections with self, family, and the earth.
It's about time, Persephone!
Ancient myths dramatize the shift from winter to spring.
Praying as Unitarian Universalists
How can we pray with integrity, grace, power, and purpose?
Do you feel loved?
On alternating days, a resolution to stop beating myself up.
One thing I am sure of
A chaplain's counsel to a grieving brother.
Rekindling the flame
Tickets to the Keith Urban concert weren't just a gift. They were a miracle.
Feeling like an exile
Do you live in a kind of Babylon?
A Unitarian Universalist view of 'The Secret'
Despite the silly 'science' and fake experts on the hit DVD, some of The Secret's advice actually helped me.
Natural moments in seventeen syllables.
Sitting between the extremes
Why a journalist writes haiku.
Confessions of a prodigal volunteer
Life after burning out at church.
Once and for all
Watching a loved one fade into dementia.
Reading our lives
Take time to read the story of your life.
The spiritual practice of hospitality
Welcoming people to our congregations is a way to encounter the mystery and wonder of life.
Found objects, discovered meanings.
Don't be stingy with your faith
Unitarian Universalism saves lives. Don't keep it to yourself.
How Jesus claimed me
One Unitarian Universalist's religious journey.
Great art and the gods
Five-year-olds in a fine art museum.
From fear to eternity
Learning to walk backward down a cliff.
Finding a talisman
A gift brings healing and unexpected loss.
Mayhem and the manger
Why didn't you warn me about Christmas pageants?
The storyteller by the sea
And the amazing, soulful, transforming stories she tells.
Fortune cookies for the soul
If I owned a fortune cookie company.
Poem for an inked daughter
A mother reaches across the generations.
Can Unitarian Universalists talk about failure?
Original Sin isn't a good idea. Expecting perfection isn't, either.
Truth revealed through human experience.
The persistence of beauty in New Orleans.
Pilgrimages: Places that touch the spirit
Glory be to time and to water.
Photograph: Dreamer 1
Nineteenth-century technique gives photo dreamlike quality.
Our calling, Summer 2006
Unifying features of Unitarian Universalist worship.
Phoenix sculpture marks congregation's renewal
How an Atlanta congregation rebuilt itself.
Poem: Those days
From Islam to Unitarian Universalism
One woman's religious odyssey.
Of hummingbirds and immigrants
'Hummingbirds migrate north and south just like we do.'
Sculpture: In praise of lesser gods
Inspired by humanity.
Military chaplain's tribute for Memorial Day
A Unitarian Universalist military chaplain can't fight but honors those who do.
Feeding the birds.
The UUA's Principles and Purposes (1985)
The covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Unitarian Universalists and Pentecostals sing together
A chance encounter in a hotel lobby leads to new understanding.
A ritual is born
Once, twice, ritual!
Skeptical of sacred stories?
Are the stories of Passover and Easter good for you?
Grow a life here.
What's spiritual about parenting young children?
A passage from Bless This Child.
Many religions, but only one earth
Can reverence for the earth bring us together across religious differences?
One event, two perspectives
A racially-charged encounter reveals worlds of difference.
Learning to see more than meets the eye
Look for the divine in the world as it is.
Thomas A Baillieul's paintings
Thomas A. Baillieul's paintings tempt viewers to tell a story.
Celebrate the Winter Solstice
Meditation for the longest night.
Dramatis personae, wrapped in old newsprint.
That was I
A poem from U.S. poet laureate Ted Kooser's Pulitzer prize-winning book.
Creating UU family Christmas rituals
Finding the right mix of family traditions.
Winter holiday resources for UU families
Recommendations from the UUA's Lifespan Faith Development staff.
What do Unitarian Universalists believe?
Unitarian Universalists hold many beliefs in common.
Halloween's ritual roots
Even in its secular and commercial form, Halloween ritualizes our inescapable destination.
Dawn meditation for the fall equinox
Fall equinox sunrise meditation.
Repression of the sublime
To realize your potential you must recognize your gifts.
Hope in an unmarked envelope
A request for liberal religious contraband.
Tombaugh memorial window
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces honors a founding member's scientific achievements.
Meditations on our cosmic significance
Who hasn't felt tiny and insignificant?
Midlife spirituality for women
Drawing closer to the sacred at middle age.
El sueño final (The final dream)
Laurel Garcia Colvin creates dreamlike images using underwater photography.
Why I go to General Assembly
Denominational diversity in all its splendor.
Beltaine (May 1)
Make an altar to celebrate the senses.
Playing with the Italians
Despite my father's fears, those men were not the enemy.
In praise of the imperfect life
Spring enlivens us, yet from our human vantage not all resurrections are equally welcome.
Passover: A meditation
The terrible blessing of the journey.
Life as a work in progress.
Witness to Reeb's death looks back
A witness to Selma's tragedies revisits the path of tears and learns to dry his own.
Memoir of King's eulogy for James Reeb
A witness's diary captures the torment and magic of James Reeb’s eulogy.
Emptiness, like silence, like love, is indeed a gift.
Living at the edge
By living in the present moment, we can find ourselves at the gateway to eternity.