Being multifaceted has some drawbacks. People speak about having exactly one lifelong passion (and jobs sometimes demand this from employees), which doesn’t sit well with me. It’s like the concept of a soul mate, that mythical person that’s perfectly matched to your strengths and weaknesses.
That is to say, it’s equally bollocks.
So what is it that I do?
Continue reading Just What On Earth Do You DO?
I’ve been cagey about discussing my religious beliefs on this blog, apart from that religious history I posted a few months ago. I’m a Unitarian Universalist, something which I’ve never hidden from anyone, but UU a bucket religion: it carries what you put in it.
Continue reading Theism and Me (or, On Being a Theistic Buddhist)
2016, besides being the most turbulent year in memory, has heralded a return to my roots. I’ve thought a lot about deep-seated issues: the reasons for what I write and why; my current profession as a web developer; whether my character is as good as I think it is. 2015 was about deconstructing my life to its essentials; 2016 is about starting to rebuild.
For various reasons, I’ve thought a lot about my interior spiritual life. A requirement of membership at my UU church is a description of your childhood beliefs, and I thought it time to try this exercise again.
Continue reading What I’ve Believed: A Personal Religious History
One of my favorite quotes is by Isaac Asimov, from the first Foundation novel: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” In a single sentence, he encapsulates much of my belief as a pacifist. People become violent when they run out of options, when all other avenues of recourse — argument, the judicial system, the political process — are closed to them. Violence should always be the last, somber resort, and should never be glorified. It’s a philosophy I try to embody in my writing.
I first came in touch with the modern peace movement about fifteen years ago, around the same time I joined the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. There’s a great deal of overlap and bidirectional influence between the church and the movement, although UU is not explicitly pacifist. Given UU’s liberal Christian roots (along with the Quakers), it’s no surprise that many UUs are also pacifists.
Despite my personal philosophy, there’s a vast gulf between myself and the modern pacifist movement. I don’t feel that the peace movement has done any good, definitely not since Operation Iraqi Freedom, and may have hurt its own cause.
Continue reading The Conflicted Pacifist
I had a very startling experience at a church service recently.
Continue reading A UU Perspective on Utopian Storytelling
Nothing is quite beautiful alone; nothing but is beautiful in the whole. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Most of what I read in grade school sucked.
It was not for want of material. I was lucky to have attended good schools, with access to many books and stories of all kinds. No, my problem was what I was force-fed in class: dry and humorless, assigned by committee, designed to be as encompassing and “important” as possible. I learned quickly to look outside of school for material that entertained me.
Some of the school curriculum was good. Dickens. Shakespeare. Whitman. Others.
The rest wasn’t.
But there were some stories, some essays that were transformative and quietly profound, moving me in ways I couldn’t understand until years later. Continue reading For Love of Transcendentalism