Resource for faith leaders

Our town social worker pointed out an online course that should be of interest to most faith leaders, including UU clergy — “Mental Health and Aging for Faith Leaders.” This research-based, 4-hour-long course is hosted by the Boston University School of Social Work.

From the course description: “Many older adults and their families turn to their faith communities as they encounter mental health concerns associated with aging. This course is designed to prepare faith leaders and members of faith communities to address these concerns. The course reviews the major mental health conditions that affect older adults, describes barriers to treatment,  and discusses the impact of culture when addressing mental health concerns.”

Get more information here.

Violence, nonviolence

A hundred days ago, Hamas unleashed their attack on Israel. In response, Israel has been carrying out reprisals on the Gaza Strip. And the war is spreading throughout the region, so that the U.S. and other countries have sent warships to protect shipping in the Red Sea. An initial act of violence led to an ongoing violent reaction, which in turn is leading to violence spreading even further….

Many years ago, the science fiction author Isaac Asimov had a character in one of his novels say, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” This pronouncement by a fictional character is a gross generalization subject to all kinds of exceptions (think about Ukraine). But there is a truth underlying this fictional pronouncement, and that is that violence does tend to beget more violence, so any use of violence can suck you into a vicious circle of more and more violence.

This was part of the genius of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his principle of nonviolence. It’s something worth remembering as we celebrate his birthday tomorrow.

Space is not the answer

Online magazine Atmos takes on the myth that living in space, or on other planets, is going to help us with ecological disaster here on Earth, in their article “Sorry, Billionaires. Space Won’t Be Our Climate Haven”:

“…Space is so terrible that in order to be a better option than Earth, one calamity won’t do. An Earth with climate change and nuclear war and, like, zombies and werewolves is still a way better place than Mars. Staying alive on Earth requires fire and a pointy stick. Staying alive in space will require all sorts of high?tech gadgets we can barely manufacture on Earth….”

Tokyo Unitarians

Over at Caute, Andrew James Brown commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Tokyo Kiitsu Kyokai, or Tokyo Unitarian Church, by translating an early document about the history of the congregation. One sentence that caught my eye: “The Unitarian movement in Japan had been quite active during the Meiji and Taisho eras but gradually declined due to various circumstances, although it didn’t completely vanish.”

Japanese Unitarianism (or more accurately free religion) died out in the late twentieth century. Brown’s post is a fascinating look into the history of this now-gone movement.

Banned books pamphlet

Beacon Press has published a pamphlet about banned books. You can download a PDF here. I picked up a hard copy at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. — presumably when bookstores buy books from Beacon, they receive some hard copies of the pamphlet.

The best thing about this pamphlet is not the infographics or text — it’s the QR code that links to some Beacon Press ebooks. These ebooks are free for people who have any difficulty obtaining them, which presumably means schoolkids.

If you’re not familiar with Beacon Press, it started as a Unitarian Universalist (UU) publishing house, got spun off as an independent publisher, but still retains its UU connections.


This isn’t humble-bragging, this is outright bragging. My photo of the Cohasset Meeting House is in the latest issue of Classicist (no. 20), the peer-reviewed journal of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Not that my photo was peer-reviewed; the photos in this issue are merely illustrations for the peer-reviewed material. Still, I guess all my hours in art classes weren’t totally wasted.

A magazine held open to my photo.

Whom does the stock market benefit?

According to economist Blair Fix, when the stock market rises, the only people who actually benefit are just a few top wealth/income percentiles:

“…we set out to look at the stock market and ask cui bono: who benefits? We now have our answer. In the United States, the stock market takes wealth (and income) from the many and hands it to the few. Now, I’m personally not surprised by this pattern. But I suspect that for many Americans, the detrimental nature of stock-price gains might be shocking. In particular, I’m thinking of members of the professional class — the folks who are not rich, but who still devoutly read Bloomberg. My guess is that when stocks go up, these folks cheer. Funny. Unless these professionals are in the top 4% wealth bracket, the evidence suggests that they’re celebrating on a sinking ship.”

I suspect that the younger you are, the more likely you’ll be to feel that Blair Fix is correct. If you’re in Gen Z, for example, you already know that the majority of your generational cohort will have less wealth and lower income than the Baby Boomers. The only people who seem to be offering explanations for your economic reality are either people like Blair Fix on the one hand, or people like Donald Trump on the other hand.


Writing in the New York Times, Stephen King says:

“There is no solution to the gun problem, and little more to write, because Americans are addicted to firearms…. Americans love guns, and appear willing to pay the price in blood.”

Stephen King is a master of the horror genre. Of all his output, this is probably the most horror-infused thing he’s written.


Carol and I got the latest COVID booster on Monday evening.

By mid morning on Tuesday, I had a headache. Carol texted me saying, “So tired.” After my last meeting ended at 2:30, I went home. We spent the day on the couch, went to bed at 8:30, and slept twelve hours. This morning we’re both back to normal.

COVID is here permanently. Which means we now have to plan for a booster sick day at least once a year.