Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Tag Archives: Activism

Petitional Protest Legitimizes Power

There are four primary directions of protest that I see enacted in American Society.  For purposes of this article, I am separating them so that they can be seen, knowing that in the real world they are often bound up together in any discrete action or moment.  Several of these Read more →

President Obama is Not a Liberal Socialist… I Am

I promised myself that I would not move into my “occasional political musings” this election season until after the conventions were over.  Well, the speeches in Charlotte and Tampa are done, and now I feel that there are some things that I have to say… President Obama is not a Read more →

Is This Really Where We Are? — A Psalm of Lament

Oh Lord, Is this really where we are?  A man once said, “I believe, but help my unbelief”. I’m not sure I ever understood, until I myself had to cry out to you, Is this really where we are, oh Lord. Are we really as far from the Kingdom of Read more →

Our Responsibility to those Beyond Our Walls

Break not that circle of enabling love, Where people grow, forgiven and forgiving, Break not that circle, make it wider still, Till it includes, embraces all the living. –Hymn 323, Singing the Living Tradition Recently, the conversation has begun again about what makes a Unitarian Universalist.  Are you only a Read more →


I love politics.  I love politics the way other people love football.  I watch 24 hour news channels in political seasons the way other people watch ESPN.  The minor of my Bachelor’s degree is in Political Science (Major in History), and I would describe my knowledge of practical politics by Read more →

How Can You “Come Home” When You Are Homeless? — 2011 Veteran’s Day Reflection

When I reflect on the few years after “coming home” from Bosnia, the years before some friends and a veteran counselor helped me to “get my head back on straight”, I realize that I had more than my share of luck.  I was lucky to be in a university that Read more →

It’s Always an Oligarchy

In the last few months, I have heard the word Oligarchy being bandied around on the edges of American political circles.  In the Tea-Party wing, they are using it as a new word for “Hollywood Elite” and “Liberal Media”.  On the semi-far left it is being used to refer to Read more →

The Honor of Being on “Smiley and West”

This weekend I will be on a short segment of the Public Radio International program “Smiley and West” with Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West.  It was recorded today, to be aired this weekend.  It was an honor to have a letter I sent to the program selected for the Read more →

Unionized Ministry

Recently, I had the honor and privilege to meet Rev. Don Southworth, the current Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA), at the Spring Minister’s Retreat for the Heartland Chapter of the UUMA. This is my first year as a “regular member” and not a student member of Read more →

A Short “I Told You So”

I wish I could say I did not know this was going to happen.  I really wish I had been wrong.  I really wish that my theory that the power of Mass Protests to significantly affect political realities is expirational had been proven wrong.  I wish that mass protests still had the power Read more →

What Turned a Conservative into a Liberal?

I regularly have conversations with conservatives, both political and religious conservatives. Sometimes that is through my work as an Army Chaplain, sometimes through my work as a liberal minister in a fairly conservative town, and sometimes it is through people from my past who seek me out to ask me Read more →

Why Even Good Militaries Do Not Make Good Governments

Hidden amidst all the celebration and joy these last 24 hours in Egypt, and in those who support democratic movements around the world, is a piece that seems to have been lost… and that is that, contrary to the Egyptian Constitution, President Mubarak ceded power not to the leader of Read more →

I Am an Appalachian-American

Yesterday, I was driving home from an ordination in Rockville Maryland, and I took a route that carried me through the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania… and I felt at home. I felt at home in a way that is hard to describe. As I spent Read more →

Arizona GA Boycott: Why Phoenix and Not Ft. Lauderdale?

What is the difference between moving the UUA General Assembly away from Arizona, and why the UUA General Assembly 2008 was not moved away from Ft. Lauderdale, FL? Read more →

Building a Just Peace

Below is an excerpt of and collection of resources for the speech on Building a Just Peace that I presented at People’s Church Chicago on November 22, 2008.  I am thankful for all the wonderful engagement and questions, and look forward to continuing the conversations with those who were there, Read more →

Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network

The Congregational Study Action Issue Core Team on Peacemaking has unveiled a new website, designed to provide communication and connection for Unitarian Universalists as we move forward in our work to create a more peaceful world. The website (http://uupeacemakers.org/) founds the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network, and I encourage all Read more →

Now I’m Really Concerned

It might come as a surprise to some of you now, or who know me now, but for years I was an avid listener and dare I say fan of right wing talk radio. In my office and workshop I nearly forced my crew to listen to Rush, G Gordon, Read more →

Message of Fear or of Faith?

Earlier this week the “No-War in Iran Coalition” held an event at our church, which we co-sponsored through our Peace and Justice Committee. The two speakers for the event were both men whom I had known of before. Scott Ritter is a former Marine officer, and a former Senior United Read more →

What inspires?

A friend of mine wrote to me today, someone I have been doing some theological exploration with on the topic of inspiration.  Just what inspires someone?  How is it that some people can inspire thousands to wonderful works in the world, while others spend their lives in activism that reaches only Read more →