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Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Denver.

Mrs Philocrites and I managed to stay awake (more or less) for most nights of the Democratic National Convention, although we bailed out early Wednesday and missed Joe Biden's vice presidential nomination acceptance speech. Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night was grounded, compelling, and urgent. If you missed it, it's worth your attention.

Posted by Philocrites, August 29, 2008, at 09:00 AM | 1 comments

Al Gore's Democratic Nat'l Convention speech.

Al Gore tore into Republican charges that Barack Obama isn't ready to be commander in chief.

Posted by Philocrites, August 29, 2008, at 08:57 AM | 1 comments

Michelle Obama's speech at Democratic Nat'l Convention.

In case you missed some of the extraordinary speeches at the Democratic National Convention, I'm posting my favorites. Here's Michelle Obama, speaking Monday night:

Posted by Philocrites, August 29, 2008, at 08:43 AM | 0 comments

Friday, August 22, 2008

Comedy Central wants me to revive my Romney revulsion.

Comedy Central's "Indecision 2008" blog has seen fit to call attention to my February 25, 2005, post criticizing Mitt Romney for being the "governor of a state he hates." How I hope this isn't timely! (Hot tip for McCain: You've already got a lock on Utah. Try someone else!) But just in case you want even more of my rusty commentary on Romney, here are a few from my Romney archives: Why can't Romney be a Mormon moderate like his dad? (3.6.05); Theological question a reporter should ask Romney (10.7.06); and Romney's pluralism tolerates all conservative religions (12.9.07).

When he was still spending his fortune trying to be the next Bush, I tracked all sorts of fascinating Romney news at But now I'm bored of him. Then again, 8-house McCain needs someone to help him connect with the average American, so who better than 3-house multimillionaire? (Via DailyKos)

Posted by Philocrites, August 22, 2008, at 05:11 PM | 2 comments

Murder in Knoxville school; UU minister responds.

Not even a month after Jim David Adkisson opened fire with a shotgun during the worship service at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, killing two, a teenager has shot killed a fellow student in a Knoxville high school. The Rev. Chris Buice, minister of TVUUC, writes a column for the Knoxville News Sentinel about the traumatic experience — his daughter attends the school — and is quoted in this news story about the shooting. WBIR also interviewed Buice about the school shooting.

Meanwhile, Adkisson's murder trial has been scheduled for March 16.

Posted by Philocrites, August 22, 2008, at 10:16 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New 'UU World': Covenants, mensches, GA, anxiety.

UU World, Fall 2008The Fall 2008 issue of UU World went in the mail this week, but while you're anxiously awaiting the arrival of your copy, browse the magazine online.

Highlights include Dennis McCarty's cover story on covenantal faith, Debra W. Haffner's advice on raising a mensch, Robert Rosen's appreciation of anxiety, Dick Leonard's musings on being 80, Stephanie Anagnoson's essay on books about spirituality in the workplace and, of course, the magazine's multi-part General Assembly coverage: inspiring vision, first impressions, business report, and presidential candidates' forum.

A subscription to UU World is provided as a benefit of membership to every member of a UUA-affiliated congregation. Others can subscribe for only $14 a year. You can also keep up with the magazine's weekly email newsletter, which highlights breaking news, online-only stories, and blogs. If you're on Facebook, consider becoming a UU World fan.

And why not write a letter to the editor about what you read? Write to, but do not send attachments. Include your name, address, daytime phone number, and congregational affiliation.

P.S. For the first time, the print magazine includes a traffic report on the most-visited stories at in the preceding quarter. Check it out!

Posted by Philocrites, August 21, 2008, at 05:14 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rick Warren, newly ascended establishmentarian.

Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College and editor of the school's outstanding (but hard to resubscribe to!) magazine Religion in the News, writes a great blog called "Spiritual Politics." He posted the smartest observation I've yet heard about Rick Warren's "Saddleback Forum" featuring Barack Obama and John "Prisoner of War" McCain:

[I]n hosting the two candidates, Warren's behaving not like a sectarian but an establishmentarian--a religious office that's been largely unoccupied in recent years.

Establishmentarian religion serves to bless, convene, and otherwise hold a sacred umbrella over the community at large. When consensus has to be built, it is there to build it; when a common goal has to be achieved, it is there to hallow it. Nationally, in the first part of the 20th century, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopalians or the Bishop of the Methodists or the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterians were there to do the job. After World War II, a more interfaith approach came to the fore. Perhaps the greatest contribution of establishmentarianism in American history was to set its seal on the civil rights movement.

But the lesson mainstream religion took away from that era was not of its own role but of the prophetic one, incarnated in Martin Luther King, Jr. And ever since, it is the image of the prophet, not the priest, that has mesmerized the imaginations of American religious leaders. That goes, of course, for those evangelical leaders who, modeling themselves on the black civil rights clergy they had once reviled, created the religious right a generation ago.

As Time's David Van Biema makes clear in last week's cover story, Rick Warren flirted as recently as four years ago with religious right leadership. But with a personality that doesn't quite fit the job description, and the nose of the successful entrepreneur who can tell where there's a market opening, he has since moved powerfully into the role of American Establishmentarian-in-Chief.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Philocrites, August 20, 2008, at 05:12 PM | 4 comments

UUA publishes resources for bloggers.

Shelby Meyerhoff, who has been writing UU World's weekly "Interdependent Web" blog and who was hired this summer by the UUA's Public Information Office, has put together some useful resources for bloggers interested in promoting Unitarian Universalism. The Unitarian Universalist Blogging Resource Project officially went public today, with a best practices report based on input from nine UU bloggers and tips for beginning bloggers.

Updated 8.21.08: Other bloggers are also responding to the survey questions, including Chalicechick, Dubhlainn, Steven R, and Kelly KH. Dan Harper, ever the rogue, appears to take aim at one of the responses in the best practices report — but he's quoting himself!

Posted by Philocrites, August 20, 2008, at 04:57 PM | 0 comments

Martin Marty leaves 'Century'; Joyner quits 'HDS Bulletin.'

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Church historian Martin E. Marty, who has written for The Christian Century since 1956 (!), pens his final column for the August 26 issue (not yet online). He promises to keep writing, but his "M.E.M.O." column is being retired.

Meanwhile, in other sad religion-magazine news, Harvard Divinity School dean Bill Graham announced via email this morning that Will Joyner, the school's executive director of communications and editor of its excellent magazine, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, is leaving "in order to devote time to personal and professional pursuits." Joyner turned the Bulletin into a magazine I couldn't wait to read. Here's wishing him well!

Posted by Philocrites, August 20, 2008, at 04:46 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Video of Knoxville UU church's rededication service.

Knoxville TV station WBIR broadcast Sunday's rededication service at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, which reopened one week after a gunman opened fire in the worship service, killing two and injuring six. A three-minute video segment, featuring TVUUC's minister Chris Buice and UUA district executive Annette Marquis, is available at

You can find links to news coverage of the rededication service at's blog "Unitarian Universalists in the Media," where I've been rounding up news coverage related to the Knoxville shooting.

Posted by Philocrites, August 6, 2008, at 03:30 PM | 1 comments

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