Category Archives: History
As a life-long Unitarian Universalist, the premise of Holy week, which begins with Palm Sunday and leads up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, our denomination has always put a greater emphasis on the miraculous ending rather than the horrible event that led up to Easter. The theology taught in most UU communities, at least from my experiences in church, weighed more heavily on the infinite possibilities of “new life” after a tragedy of such grandeur as the one depicted in the religious texts of Christians. The new life is not necessarily eternal life, but rather a renewed life of hope, dedication, and passion.
Unfortunately, this comes at such a great loss in the Christian historical narrative: the crucifixion of Jesus. I believe an important part of the message of holy week is left out or at least overshadowed by the ultimate focus on the sacrifice made by God and the undeserved reward that all people receive when “it is finished”. This is the brutal reality that the powerful elite, militarily, politically, or otherwise, have and use their power to eliminate perceived threats to their hegemony. And it is for this reason that Good Friday should truly matter to all people and not merely Christians. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, November 7th 2012
I eulogize today with a heavy heart of sadness and grief. For some time, it has seemed as if our beloved Religious Left’s longtime struggle with terminal silence was slowly improving, and its emotional recovery and reemergence into the public arena was only a matter of time. Alas, as the shocking election results of last night remain burned into our hearts with pain, so too is the reality that this morning the silence that consumes us is not by agency, but by definition of being deceased.
At solemn times such as these, it is the honorable thing to do to pay our respects and celebrate the life of that shared loss we feel. In truth, the Religious Left lived a very long and productive life. Actual birth records are hard to find, but evidence shows the Religious Left has traveled throughout Europe in Germany and England and across the Atlantic to the United States and to various parts of Latin America, especially Peru, over the last several centuries. Most recently, the Religious Left found its residence mainly in the U.S. due to growing secularism in Europe and religious conservatism in Latin America. It was quite central in the 20th century with proponents of the Social Gospel movement and passionate champions of peace and justice initiatives during the Civil Rights Movements giving life to this dear friend of ours. And, perhaps, the Religious Left’s biggest ally of all time was the young revolutionary from Atlanta, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, unlike the Religious Left, had such a short time to spread his message on earth. Read the rest of this entry
As the 2012 presidential campaign season heats up, race is once again slowly seeping into the unhealed wounds of this country’s troubling history. President Barack Obama will face a Republican Party that has been salivating at the thoughts of dethroning him from what they have considered an illegitimate presidency since Day 1. And while there are certainly some issues that need to be worked out regarding who the republican opponent will be in November, the groundwork for a nasty political season is already being laid.
Race was clearly a prominent issue in the 2008 presidential election, when conservative groups and even politicians implicitly and explicitly targeted Obama’s multiracial identity for malevolent purposes. Whether through the Birther movement, racist poster signs, or linking then Senator Obama’s character to his relationship to his predominantly black religious community on the south side of Chicago, it is evident that this country is by no means in a post-racial age. However, when considering the racial issues that may arise or may continue beyond the election regarding unresolved racial issues, I think it is towards a different demographic that we should look that is equally, if not more, perpetuating the racism that plagues both this campaign and country, in general. Read the rest of this entry
I spent most of this month preparing for an intensive “J-term” course that I took last week at Meadville Lombard Theological School. The course was entitled, Ethical Wisdom: A Comparative Study of Buddhist, Native American, African American and Humanist Traditions taught by Meadville’s provost Sharon Welch. Truly, this course was transformational for all of us that gathered for the five days of sharing, discussing, reflecting, and journeying together through the world of postcolonial theory and the intersections of oppression and alternative moral and spiritual systems of ethics.
After the week ended, I was overwhelmed by the extremely complex set of emotions I had, ranging from anger and hoplessness, to immense joy and motivation. The last half millennium could be re-told by a storyteller in very different ways. A Native American scholar we read during the week completed the provocative title of his book, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative, by suggesting that that (stories) are all we are. Humans shape their world by countless stories that help to make sense of their particular disposition. There are plenty of these stories in the United States that paint the last half millennium in a much brighter hue than how non-Euro/Western people might. Read the rest of this entry