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

Tag Archives: God

A Dream of Rationality

We have a dream in America of rationality. What I mean by that is that we have imbued our country with an ideal of rational discourse being the primary form of interaction between human beings. That if we can make the right argument, it will persuade people to our (meaning Read more →

The Consequences of Omniscience and Omnipotence

When I was at the U.S. Army Chaplain’s School at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, there was a day in class that we were responding to hypothetical counseling situations.  One of the scenarios presented to us was that of a young woman who came to us for counseling after having been Read more →

Prejudice is Part of Human Nature

We human beings have many times many different prejudices.  I’m not trying to make a value statement in saying that, just naming something that I believe is an inherent aspect of human nature.  We are deeply prejudiced beings.  It is impossible that this not be the case.  I have never Read more →

To Write or Not to Write… A Systemic Theology Book

One of the aspects of a Clinical Pastoral Education Residency that was most valuable to me was spending a year with ministers from other religious traditions, being required to have deep discussions about theology, about pastoral care, and about our life experiences.  It not only helped me to broaden my Read more →

To Live Like Jesus

Last week and this week, I have been attending some military chaplaincy training in San Antonio Texas, as a part of my continuing education as both a UU Minister and an Army Reserve Chaplain.  The first week was a wonderful course, put on by the Rev. Dr. Chrys Parker and Read more →

General Assembly Day 1: Unitarian Universalists of the Holy Spirit

As I sat in the second row, center aisle of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2011 General Assembly of the UUA, next to my military chaplain colleagues, what struck me most about the service was how many times the word “Spirit” came into the ceremony/celebration/worship service.  By the time I 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 →

Faith is Hard… and Liberal Religion Needs Some

One of the earliest articles I wrote here at Celestial Lands is one where I seek to define, for myself, the meaning of faith (that faith is not belief, it is “sacred trust”). I sometimes think we Unitarian Universalists and others of Liberal Religion have a harder time coping with Read more →

God is the River

I almost never just post a video, but I was inspired this moring by my friend James doing so on his blog, Monkey Mind.  I have been a fan of Peter Mayer since long before his recent performance at GA, and while I love the song that James highlighted (Holy Read more →

Standing on the Side of Reflection and Practice

I want to be very clear at the beginning of this article that it applies to the religious right, the religious center, and the religious left, and I’m going to focus on the religious left. This is something within human nature, not within specific religious traditions. If there is a difference Read more →

The Space Between Experiencing and Knowing

I love it when the responses to an article prompt me to another article. One of my most respected teachers, Joshin Roshi, responded to my last article on the symbolic construction of reality by reminding me not to miss the forest for the trees… to not discount the direct experience Read more →

“I Want My Country Back!”

Among all of the things said at the recent teabag/anti-health care reform/birther protests, I have felt emotionally moved by the individuals who, in tears and in anger, have shouted or cried something along the lines of “I want my country back!” or “I feel my country is being taken away Read more →

The Problem with being Lambs

Recently in an email someone said to me that they were still a “lamb of God”, even though they were working through some issues in their faith. As Jacob once did, they have been “wrestling with God”. I remember the metaphor “be ye lambs of God”. I remember those words Read more →

How my Theological Framework affects my Worldview

As January has arrived, so has January Intensives at the Meadville Lombard Theological School.  As such, much of my attention and writing will be focused on the insantiy of Master’s level courses conducted in just one week  (not including preparation and post-class writing assignments).  I began my time at Meadville taking January intensives, and Read more →

Defining Religious Language: God

Some words have so many meanings that they become near incomprehensible, and almost unusable. When I use the generic word “meditation”, I usually mean Zazen meditation, or sitting on a cushion and following my breath. But “meditation” means about a thousand different things, from concentration on a passage of scripture Read more →

Models of God

This past summer I had a conversation with a very conservative Christian pastor at the U.S. Army Chaplain School, in which I, a Unitarian Universalist, had the audacity to use the word “God”. He looked at me with an angry eye and said “So who’s your God, Mammon?!?” I have Read more →

Fingers and Moons

“All instruction is but a finger pointing to the moon; and those whose gaze is fixed upon the pointer will never see beyond. Even let him catch sight of the moon, and still he cannot see its beauty.” — Buddha I can imagine the Buddha, seated in the Jeta Grove, Read more →