STLT#343, A Firemist and a Planet

I am very tired of the humanist/theist debate. It seems to me that there are so many bigger, more important things for us to wrestle with, especially since – at least in Unitarian Universalist circles – even our most divergent theologies support the principles where we all meet. And I get that it’s harder to …

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STLT#339, Knowledge, They Say

If you’re looking for music to accompany a service about anti-intellectualism and fake news, this is your hymn. Heck, even if you’re just looking for music to accompany a service about James Luther Adams’ five smooth stones, or William Ellery Channing’s Baltimore sermon, or our fourth principle, this is your hymn. Knowledge, they say drives …

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STLT#338, I Seek the Spirit of a Child

Welcome to Pinocchio’s favorite hymn. I can’t deny making Diana wonder what this hymn practice as actually done to my sanity, because I am sitting next to her on the couch, drinking coffee and cackling manically as I ponder why we ever doubted that children might not be real, unless we are surrounded by Geppetto’s …

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STLT#337, Have I Not Known

I am in Peterborough, New Hampshire, preparing to lead a retreat with dear friend and colleague Diana McLean. And as I was preparing to write today, I waxed a little poetic about the Blake poem this hymn tune (Jerusalem, by Charles H.H. Parry) was written for. And I burst into tears. Like, not just a …

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STLT#334, When Shall We Learn

One of the cool things about this particular hymnal is that the commission had some remarkable 20th century poetry set to music, like this poem, “Canzone” by WH Auden. The downside, of course, is that most of those poems – including “Canzone” – are far longer and intricate than we have breath for in a …

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STLT#332, Perfect Singer

True fact: context matters. I mean, I know you know this, but in this case it’s not just the context of where the lyrics come from or when they were written or how they were used. In this case, it’s about the accompaniment – in other words, the context in which the melody sits. And …

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STLT#329, Life Has Loveliness to Sell

I’m just gonna say right up front that for all of my belief in beauty and its role in revealing truth and inspiring connection to Mystery, I dislike the premise of this hymn. The premise – that loveliness costs, that the spiritual and inspirational are currency, that this entire piece is set in a capitalist …

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