White Heron

by John Ciardi What lifts the heron leaning on the air I praise without a name. A crouch, a flare, a long stroke through the cumulus of trees, a shaped thought at the sky--then gone. O rare! Saint Francis, being happiest on his knees, would have cried Father! Cry anything you please But praise. By [...]

By | February 8th, 2017|Blog|

Three links

Hey there! Thanks so much for all your interest in my story of coming out of Christianity and into secular humanism. There are three separate ways you can find out more about this: (1) Mark Oppenheimer's great piece in the New York Times Magazine, which you can read right away HERE if you haven't already. [...]

By | December 29th, 2016|Blog|

Homebrewed Christianity: Me and Tripp Fuller

A few months ago I got a call from my old friend, Tripp Fuller, inviting me to be a guest on his curiously popular theology podcast, Homebrewed Christianity. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance, mainly because I knew that Tripp and his crowd are confident enough in their various versions of faith that [...]

By | August 23rd, 2016|Blog|

No one gets over anything

I’ve gotten some wonderful emails lately, but I’m sharing this one because the poem at the end of it really does capture the essence of Humanize Me 106. Thanks for paying attention, Polly, and for sending me such a gem. Hey Bart Just listened to your episode 'Sitting in a Car Contemplating Finitude'. I mean... [...]

By | June 3rd, 2016|Blog|

Wanna change some hearts and minds for the better?

On my bike ride to USC, I often use one ear to listen to podcasts while minding traffic with the other. I love plenty of episodes of WTF with Marc Maron, Science Friday, Freakanomics Radio, On Being with Krista Tippett, Beautiful Anonymous with Christ Gerhard, and Tangentially Speaking with Christopher Ryan, but all of them [...]

By | May 4th, 2016|Blog|

How this ‘humanism’ thing works in practice

Rural Haiti isn’t the usual landing pad for recent USC graduates. But then again, Adrian Saiz isn’t your usual USC graduate. He started out like so many others here, joining a fraternity, majoring in accounting, and quickly learning to balance hard partying and academic achievement while diligently networking valuable contacts, acing his internships and plotting [...]

By | March 21st, 2016|Blog|

We keep ourselves from broken places

Last Sunday morning Marty and I drove over to Pasadena to hear Bryan Stevenson speak at All Saints Church. I’ve known Bryan since I was a little boy growing up on the campus of Eastern Baptist College and he was one of my father’s all-time favorite sociology students. Bryan went on to Harvard Law School [...]

By | March 4th, 2016|Blog|

A poem that reminds me…

As a young man, I ran a ministry called Kingdomworks, which recruited Christian college students to spend their summers in inner-city churches, organizing day-camps for children. Since becoming a humanist, I’ve heard from many of my former volunteers. Some are confused or disappointed by my transition, but others are thrilled that I’ve not only joined [...]

By | February 22nd, 2016|Blog|

A conversation with a student called Ray

A few days ago I met one of my favorite USC seniors for breakfast. Ray is not usually awake before 10 am, so I considered it a compliment that he rolled out of bed for me. I'd have been more flattered if he'd combed his hair as well, but that's really just bald man jealousy [...]

By | February 14th, 2016|Blog|

On being ‘ministers’

Ever since I became a humanist, I’ve been trying to work the word 'ministry' into the secular lexicon. After all, almost every government but ours calls its various departments 'ministries' (and their heads 'ministers') because they tend to the various needs of its citizens. Plain and simple, ministry is a great descriptor of effective, intentional [...]

By | January 15th, 2016|Blog|