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

Tag Archives: Jesus

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 →

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 →

UU Military Chaplains and the Cross

Unitarian Universalists are almost always surprised when they see me wearing the Christian Cross on my Army Chaplain uniform.  Perhaps they should not be, given the Christian ancestry of our two founding denominations, but they are.  Reactions have ranged from mild curiosity to outrage to some deep pastoral need.  On Read more →

Religion and the Four Great Fears

My dear friend, Chaplain the Rev. Seanan Holland visited us this weekend, and as usual he and I got into one of our hours-long rolling discussions about Life, the Universe, and Everything.  This time in particular, we were rolling around the origin and nature of religion, the fundamental flaw in 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 →

I’m a Liberal and I’m a Patriot who Loves God… Deal with It!

I think this topic is becoming a regular 4th of July weekend tradition of mine, mainly because I have had it with the idea that unless someone is a Fox News watching, gun toting Tea-Party Republican they are not a “Real American”.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real 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 I’m still a Christian

If there is anything that makes some of my fellow Unitarian Universalists more uncomfortable than my military past and probably future, it is my willingness to call myself, both in public and from the pulpit, a Christian. I remember one day in particular that a parishioner in my internship congregation Read more →

Unitarian of the Holy Spirit

It has been said that how we express the chosen faith of our adulthood greatly depends on attitudes and concepts that hold deep meaning for us as children. We often form our adult faiths in rejection of those childhood forms, or we transform them into new and deeper meanings. The 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 →

A Faith of Transitions

It is always in these times of transition in my physical life that I seem to think the most about the continuing transformations in my spiritual life. My life is, has been, and probably always will be a bit nomadic. At first, it was following my father around from assignment Read more →

Connected to the History

There is a joke I have heard told among Christian ministers. At an interdenominational seminary, a new Presbyterian professor of Church History gave an assignment for the first day of class, for each student to come to the course with a three page paper on what they knew of “Church Read more →

Defining Religious Language: Salvation

I am a Unitarian Universalist who believes deeply that salvation is an inherent aspect of my faith. Not just my own personal salvation, though through this faith that has happened, but the salvation of the world. My faith is not about the salvation of individual souls for a perceived afterlife. Read more →

Defining Religious Language: Crucifixion and Resurrection

Of all of the religious language that I have worked over the past few years to define for myself, these two words and concepts have by far been the hardest. I think there are three reasons for that. First, they are probably the two most sensitive words in the Christian Read more →

Many Mere Christianities

As I was walking into a store a few nights ago here on the South Side of Chicago, a woman was yelling at a homeless man who had obviously just asked her to spare some change. She yelled “I don’t give money to beggars because I’m a Christian!” She then 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 →

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 →