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Selected writings, 19962008

I am no longer updating Philocrites. These are some of my favorite posts from the archives. You may also browse the full site archive or search for entries on other topics.

Unitarian Universalism
Questions the UUA Principles don't answer: Our Principles are thin, "wholesome abstractions" unless they happen to be embodied in practices and stories and ways of life. (2.6.04)
Do Unitarian Universalists have morals? We focus on the qualities of people's actions more than on specific deeds. (7.14.04)
Dogma and liberal doctrine: Unitarian Universalism has fuzzy borders, to be sure, but they are there. (11.21.02)
Scattered thoughts on a divided spiritual identity: Why "Unitarian Universalism" is my faith community but not my religion. (7.2.06)
Megachurch pastor: UUs just don't do transformation: Is it a feature or a bug that Unitarian Universalism is the religion you may already be practicing without knowing it? (12.17.08)
Too much C Major: The problem with a lot of what passes for Unitarian Universalism is that it's often tone-deaf to the complexity of our actual lives. (10.4.03)
On early Unitarian fears of 'popery': Nineteenth-century Unitarians had theological reasons to be wary of Catholicism. (1.30.06)
Isaac Newton's anti-Trinitarianism in the news: How "unitarianism" is a doctrinal leftover that Unitarian Universalists cling to somewhat irrationally. (7.29.07)
Liberal Christianity
The gospel of forgiveness: The story of 5-year-old shooting victim Kai Leigh Harriott anchors my Easter reflections. (4.17.06)
Cape Cod's scaaary Unitarian Universalists: Unfortunately for conservative Christians, liberalism is much broader and much deeper than "creeping Unitarian Universalism." (10.18.04)
Jesus the question: On the paradox of being a Doubting Thomas in a post-Christian church. (12.23.03)
Despair, resurrection, and liberal religion: Is there any legitimate reason to hope for anything beyond brokenness, tedium, and despair? (12.12.96)
We must not postulate simplicity: Reflections on A.N. Whitehead's observation, "So far as concerns religious problems, simple solutions are bogus solutions." (6.1.03)
Making it up, Revelation, and Revelation and relation: A religion needs a way of orienting or rooting its claims on people's loyalties, something on the order of "that's how it really is." (7.02)
A handful of liberal religious definitions: My short definitions of "theology," "religion," "faith," and "worship." (3.11.06)
The ontological imagination: An essay on William James. (5.29.99)
The reality of the symbol of God: An essay on Paul Tillich and Gordon Kaufman. (5.19.98)
The object of religion: An essay on Hegel and Feuerbach. (4.13.98)
The religious availability of John Dewey's God: An essay on John Dewey's A Common Faith. (10.30.97)
Polity and ethics
Inherent goodness got you down? Theological commentary on the mistaken view that "inherent worth and dignity" means "inherently good." (4.25.06)
Dogmatic non-creedalism: Unitarian "non-creedalism" has two quite distinct roots. (9.18.03)
Uh oh, here come the Unitarians and Universalists: What to say to earnest UUs who complain when someone identifies as a "Unitarian" or "Universalist." (5.17.07)
Limits of Unitarian Universalist congregationalism: "Unitarian Universalism" exists beyond the limits of congregational affiliation, and beyond the formal boundaries of the UUA. (2.15.08)
Baptism is more than signing a membership book: We have yet to imagine what a baptism into Unitarian Universalism would be. (2.23.08)
Survey: 0.3 percent of adults are Unitarian Universalists: My take on the Pew Forum survey that estimated that many more people identify as UUs than are members of UU churches. (2.26.08)
Authority in the spirit: Developing a doctrine of the liberal church: An essay in ecclesiology. (1.14.97)
Schleiermacher on true religious fellowship: An essay on Friedrich Schleiermacher's view of the church. (3.2.98)
Can a fundamentalist be a unitarian? On the unitarianism of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Biblical Unitarians. (8.13.03)
Was Channing a biblical inerrantist? The early American champion of Unitarianism believed in the reliability of scripture, not its inerrancy. (1.3.03)
"Words are not the only language": Henry Whitney Bellows's view of scripture: An essay on 19th-century Unitarian biblical interpretation. (4.5.97)
Beware "Old Testament" comparisons: I refuse to believe that most Americans have deliberately sequestered themselves in ideological ghettos. (9.23.04)
Banishing faith from politics? Good luck!: An argument for theological criticism of politics. (10.24.04)
Democrats need some "thick we's": The left should go to church. (12.12.04)
Two cheers for conservative liberals: Making sense of "conservative" Unitarian Universalists. (6.1.06)
Bush and Colbert, Lear and the Fool: Shakespearean commentary on the White House Correspondents Dinner. (5.2.06)
Is there political diversity among UUs? We should be careful not to make our politics into a new kind of orthodoxy. (12.26.02)
More than words: What would James Luther Adams have made of Hobbes's statement that "covenants, without the sword, are but words"? (4.30.03)
Resisting stem cell utopianism: A few thoughts on the differences between fetuses and human beings. (9.14.04)

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