Meet our online columnists

Meet our online columnists

Doug Muder and the Rev. Meg Barnhouse bring distinctive voices to ''


Religious liberalism is a minority viewpoint, but throughout our history, our pamphlets and periodicals have spread Unitarian and Universalist ideas far and wide. The American Unitarian Association, one of the UUA’s parent institutions, was founded as a publishing society.

Like most religious communities, however, ours has often focused almost exclusively on addressing people who are already members. UU World, for example, is published for members of UU congregations. The magazine’s mission—and mine—is to aid you in living your Unitarian Universalist values. But I also keep thinking of ways to help share those values with people who haven’t signed a membership book—or ever encountered a Unitarian Universalist!

Many readers share a copy of the magazine with a neighbor, give a subscription to a college student, or leave a copy at the doctor’s office. These readers know that there are many people whose lives would be enriched by the voices we publish in these pages. Happily, new technology is letting UU World serve members while also taking UU voices beyond our own community.

UU World’s online companion, the weekly magazine liberal religion and life, is actively spreading the word. Its mission is to use the Internet to share the contents of the print magazine and its UU voices with a broader audience. Now we are expanding the amount of original online content we publish: stories rooted deeply in UU experiences that highlight the best of our tradition.

As part of this online expansion, we’re excited to introduce our first online columnists: the Rev. Meg Barnhouse and Doug Muder.

Barnhouse is the minister of the UU Church of Spartanburg, South Carolina, but she is well known beyond her congregation as a humorist, singer-songwriter, and radio commentator for North Carolina Public Radio’s “Radio Free Bubba.” She is also the author of several books, including most recently Did I Say That Out Loud? Musings from a Questioning Soul. She loves people despite all their fumbling; her irreverent passion for liberal religion provokes laughter and stirs the conscience.

Muder, a regular contributor to UU Worldand a member of the First Church in Bedford, Massachusetts, has a knack for explaining practically anything. Trained as a mathematician, Muder co-wrote several how-to guides about computers, but in recent years has turned his attention to politics and religion. For UU World he has already written about the “ex-gay” movement, the new secularists, and the differences between conservative and liberal religious worldviews. He is at work on an upcoming Skinner House introduction to Unitarian Universalism.

Each month, will publish an exclusive column by Barnhouse or Muder. Visit to sign up for our weekly email newsletter to make sure you don’t miss one. And forward your favorites to your friends.


Correction 5.14.05: The print edition incorrectly identified Muder's congregational affiliation.