An inspiring message at USC

An unexpected benefit of being the only openly secular campus minister at USC was being asked to offer a reading amidst the pomp and circumstance of this year’s Baccalaureate Service. As you can see here the ceremony itself was quite impressive. My reading of my friend Gretta Vosper’s prayer shows up at 14:00, but by [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 June 4th, 2015|Blog|

An email about labels and identity

Here's a recent email from my inbox: Hi Bart, I'm a Christian. I left the church two years ago but retained the identity. Now I am not sure I want to be associated with Christians at all. It's all tied up with the Christian hegemony in my country, frustration with liberal Christians who won't stand [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 May 27th, 2015|Blog|

A secular prayer

Last week it was my honor to participate in USC’s baccalaureate service. Thrilled as I was to be included, I was a bit nonplussed when Dean Soni asked me to offer a Scriptural Reading. After all, we secularists have no holy books. While most of my interfaith brothers and sisters consider their favorite texts holy [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 May 22nd, 2015|Blog|

A mission spark without faith

I’ve corresponded with lots of ministry-minded people who have lost their faith, many of whom once were or still are church pastors. What these good folks fear most about going secular is losing the privilege of reaching out in love to hurting people, or the urgency to do so. Here’s a question from one of [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 May 4th, 2015|Blog|

The essence of ‘humanism’

Recently it was my privilege to speak to USC’s Secular Student Fellowship. Instead of speaking, however, I asked the group to help me overhaul a document I found on the Yale Humanist Community’s website called What Is Humanism?, which I think almost but not quite captures the essence of many of those students’ spiritual identities, [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 February 25th, 2015|Blog|

National exposure and – just to clarify!

After I talked with John Rogers of the Associated Press a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure how clearly I’d communicated my commitment to secular goodness as a way of life, not just a way of thinking. After reading his article about me in today’s New York Times, Washington Post and and a bunch of [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 February 15th, 2015|Blog|

Kids need… what?

Hey Bart, I am enjoying keeping up with your podcast and blog, etc. I wonder if I might pick your brain a little? At this point I am probably described best as an universalist/humanist with a base in Christianity. Our family quit attending church a couple of years ago. I LOVE not going to church [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:11+00:00 February 10th, 2015|Blog|

A talk on secular community building

As an evangelical Christian platform speaker, I regularly spoke to huge, boisterous crowds at music festivals and youth conventions, with all kinds of high-tech lights and cameras capturing my every word from multiple angles. Those days are long gone, of course. I’m still out there trying to motivate people to make the most of their [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:12+00:00 January 5th, 2015|Blog|

A bigger issue than cyber-terrorism

Maybe it’s because I live near Hollywood, but most of the conversations I’ve had about the Sony hack and The Interview have focused on issues of free speech and cyber-terrorism. Everyone from President Obama on down seems intent on protecting those of us in the Free World from the monomaniacal destruction of Kim Jong Un, [...]

By | 2015-01-29T02:14:23+00:00 January 3rd, 2015|Blog|

Thanks for your fairness, Jonathan Merritt!

I met Jonathan Merritt a few years ago, while I was working with the Telos Group on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was impressed by both his intellect and his compassion. Later we talked about my emerging humanist identity, and agreed that he might write about it once I figured out exactly what I was doing. [...]

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:12+00:00 January 2nd, 2015|Blog|