CommonPlaces Breaking60 TravelingNotes UU Exploration Belief and Practice
Belief and Practice

Guideposts for the religious liberal
in the early 21st Century



As I was approaching a decade and a half of preaching in Unitarian Universalist congregations, I began to have an increasing sense of unrest concerning the groups I faced on Sunday mornings (and also at other times in religious education classes). These were all good, well-meaning people, committed, as Jews would say, to tikkun olam, healing the world. What seemed to be missing was a central religious sense.

Some years ago, at a UU meeting during a discussion of values, I became irritated and asked, “Where shall we take a stand? Is there anything among our seven principles and their sources that we are willing to die for?” It should come as no surprise that there was no answer from either the leader or the members of the discussion group.

What is needed is a sense of that center, that place on which we can stand and move the world. Thus, I conceived this project, Belief and Practice. the title was chosen deliberately to echo Faith and Practice, the theological “handbook” of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, and is proposed to fulfill the same general purpose. Originally intended to be a free standing published work, I present it here as an incomplete collection: Some chapters are new work, some are revised versions of previous sermons or essays and some do not exist.

About the latter (which have no links in the Table of Contents; however, I intend to add those preceded by “*”): I encourage you, having read the Foreword and Introduction, to write your own version. (And to consider adding new topics!)

These are the ground rules:

• Be brief,
• Be clear,
• Be original (cite work of others correctly!), and
• Be mindful

I will read any submission ( and respond to you. When we are both satisfied with the result, I’ll add it to this work, with appropriate attribution.


*The Problem of Evil
*Just Wars
Free Will

Personal Sovereignty

Birth and Death
Cycle of Life
Life After Death
*Credo and Ksero

Life Lessons

Good Works
*An Army of One
*Considerations of the Present Moment
What Brings You Here?
*The W Word
Dear Rev.
Ministry and Ministers
The Two Box Church
*Community and Self
Seven Principals, revisited (2007)
*Thoreau at Walden
*Public Governance
*Eight Simple Rules

*Links to be added later


Black, Jonathan, 1939
Carven Press, King of Prussia, PA, 19406
No copyrights reserved by author1999