This website is built to describe my idea of ministry, and why I am a Unitarian-Universalist minister.
All my life I have wanted to figure it all out. I began decoding the human behavior I observed around me first from children’s literature, like Pooh and Narnia, and from children’s poetry (King John was not a good man . . . and How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue . . .). My early reading was heavy on English writers because my mother the librarian favored them. I also read a lot of fairy tales, mostly the collections of the Scot, Andrew Lang. Albert Einstein taught that reading fairy tales does wonders for children’s intelligence and imaginative development, and I think my mother sensed that.
Next I learned about humanity by reading history, beginning with the romances of Arthur, and Robin Hood, but soon graduating to real history, which began dissolving my boyish confusions, and providing the anchoring and organizing power of dates. I loved, and still love the reality conferred by knowing that this came before that, or interweaved. At this age I also began taking into account all scientific learning of which I was capable. It too provides important benchmarks of reality that liberals have long incorporated into our world-view.
My wonderful future wife Deborah soon introduced me to G.M. Hopkins’ poetry, as well as giving me a new look at Wm. Blake, and a taste of Ezra Pound. My mentor, Prof. Giovanni Costigan, in the course of teaching Irish history at the University of Washington, had introduced me to Yeats, Synge, George Moore, AE, and the rest. I quickly developed a love of poetry, and the best of it is wonderfully rich in understanding of the human condition. When I was flying around the country on business, I felt I was wasting my life, so I made it a practice to memorize one good poem in each direction, and pretty soon I had dozens of poems memorized, and now get to employ them from time to time, in sermons, and in interfaith settings.
In my ministry, I strive to describe reality as I have come to know it, from mechanical causality, to theology, the ineffable, and transcendence, so that I can perhaps help myself and some of my congregation see things more clearly and let go of bad ideas, including especially the one that asserts that ‘they’ are not like ‘us.’ ‘They’ are, in fact, exactly like ‘us,’ in all the ways that really matter. Machiavelli taught his student Princes that “human nature is always and everywhere the same.” I want everyone of good intent to know that when one hears someone talking about ‘those people’ you can be sure that a sin against someone or some group is approaching, and one may be able to gently prevent it.
I have placed on this website some information about me and my family, and some sermons, because that’s my major form of written expression. Also included is a selection of short videos of people doing good works, including wonderful performances of song, and dance, and music.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org