Essays & Columns

Published Essays & Columns

by Chris Highland

Many of my essays and columns are collected in these books:

Friendly Freethinker; Broken Bridges; A Freethinker’s Gospel; Nature is Enough; Simply Secular; Birds, Beetles, Bears and Beliefs; Was Jesus a Humanist?; A Secular Gospel; Once Upon a Faith; Beyond the Boundaries of Belief; Highland Views; Intersections; One Nature Indivisible; Eye to Eye; The Affable, Amiable Apostate

NEW!: Humanist Meditations

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A Revolution with Revolutionary Religion (Citizen-Times)

We Don’t Know, But We Have to Know (Citizen-Times)

“I enjoyed last Saturday’s column about seeking truth.
It did raise a topic for me which you may have addressed in an earlier column: What is wisdom? How do you define wisdom? How is it attained—the scientific method?”

Foreword to Adventures of a Southern Country Sandlapper by Knowlton Johnson

The Almighty: Elohim Elephant in the Room (Citizen-Times)

“I find myself struggling alongside you as you express your questions.”

“I hear you, [I have] felt the same way …”

“Your column recently was added to a local newspaper [in PA] … I enjoy your columns much more than the previous religious writers.”

Reverence for Night in Our World of Light (Citizen-Times)

“Wonderful piece of writing.

“I love today’s column!”

Don’t You Wish Jesus Had Said That? (Citizen-Times)

“Thank you for [this column] … thanks for your writings.”

Preserving the Heavenly Wilderness Above (Citizen-Times)

Strands, Threads and Secondhand Scriptures (Citizen-Times)

“I envy your focus to write, publish and distribute your work. The envy doesn’t last very long as it is founded upon the inspiration of your freethought and secular approach to our many challenges and free time to join with our earthly environment.”

An Exclusive Interview with the Risen Christ (Citizen-Times)

“To live right is the key as Chris says, no matter religion or not.
Imaginative essay. Neat humor.”

 “I loved your tongue-in-cheek column on Saturday. Interesting how you made Jesus more evolved than his father!”

We Do Ordain: The Founding Error of Christian Nationalism (Church and State)

“An excellent essay.  So instructional and so timely. Very glad to have read it!”

“The essay/article you shared is well done, informative, and thought provoking.”

“I just read your “We Do Ordain” article, and I absolutely loved it. It really is inspiring … Your piece is well-reasoned and has such a solid base to it. I like, too, that it makes the point, supports it thoroughly, but doesn’t go on and on, the way some who write about topics like this do. It makes a really powerful impact.”

“Your article is outstanding!! It was very meaningful to me and did a great job of clarifying the place of religion (or lack thereof) in the formation of the United States and its governing documents. I’m also glad it introduced me to you. I look forward to reading more of your work.”

 “an insightful essay … very helpful” 

“I am a longtime subscriber and supporter of Americans United. I have read many essays in Church & State, but your piece in the latest issue, titled “We do Ordain” stands out as one of the best I have read.”

If Trees Can Be Deciduous, So Can We (Citizen-Times)

“Excellent … and shared.”

Is it Really any of God’s Business? (Citizen-Times)

“I cannot say enough how much my wife and I appreciate your column in the Citizen-Times. Your observations enlighten and enrich our own interpretation of these matters. Today’s column about “God’s Business” was refreshing … important remarks that I hope many will hear.

In a community that is more liberal than most but nevertheless imbedded in the heart of the Bible Belt, I appreciate your bold stance (and that of the Citizen-Times!) to publish what I’m certain confronts deeply-held beliefs. I hope you and your publisher will keep at it.”

Facing Our Leopards with the Faith of a Fox (Citizen-Times)

Maybe We Shouldn’t Mess with a Messiah (Citizen-Times)

Visibility Impaired: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Citizen-Times)

 “I read your article “Notice the ‘Invisible’ man in the sanctuary” and was sad to hear of your experience. I would like to invite you to visit our [Catholic] church … so you don’t feel like an “invisible” man.”

What Would Christianity Be Without Paul? (Citizen-Times)

“Today’s version hit me where I live … Thanks for your continued guidance.”

“What a wonderful column!” 

“Our study group passed this around and it really got a good conversation going.”

 “It’s a very good column … It makes a clear point without being preachy, and offers a lot to think about. Nicely written.”

“I read your article in the Greenville News today regarding Paul and Christianity.. In my opinion it is excellent … I had never read anything by you before this article. Thank you again.”

Hitchhiking along the Journey of Friendship and Faith (Citizen-Times)

Do Humanists Pray? If so, to Whom or What? (Citizen-Times)

Does It Really Matter What We Believe? (Citizen-Times)

Do You Hear What I Hear? (Citizen-Times)

“I am enjoying reading your Saturday columns.
Thanks for your insights!”

Love the Stranger as Yourself (Citizen-Times)

Delicate, Delightful Designs by Nature (Citizen-Times)

“Glorious column today! You wrote so beautifully, so suggestively, about the incredible beauty of nature, from cells to snowflakes … So thank you for inspiring my own brief philosophical journey as I sit inside watching the swirling snow on a bitterly cold Saturday morning.”

Biology, Belief & the Encyclopedia of Life (Citizen-Times)

Sustaining Our Optimism and Gratitude (Citizen-Times)

“I just read your column. I could not agree more–call it prayer or meditation, we spend time daily remembering to be grateful for the many joys in our lives … It helps put the pain and suffering of THE world and our world into perspective. Thanks for another thoughtful, helpful article.”

“I want to thank you for your column on optimism and gratitude … your wise words [were] exactly what I needed this morning.”

Pursuing the Light of Truth with Devotion and Humility (Citizen-Times)

A Sun Sleeps, A Son Awakens (Citizen-Times)

“I read your column and firstly was a bit taken aback to see it in our [local] newspaper, and then I read it again to make sure I read what I read! Finally something that held my interest.”

Amazing, Extraordinary, Wonderful Gifts of Nature (Citizen-Times)

A River of Respect for a Living Force of Nature (Citizen-Times)

 “I love reading your essays. It’s like listening to you in class or over tea.”

Do We Have to Be the Center of Everything? (Citizen-Times)

Oh the Games that People Play (Citizen-Times)

When the Healer Could Use Some Healing (Citizen-Times)

“Always read your posts and a few of your books which are now on an “all by themselves” shelf. The number keeps growing.”

Bread, Boat and Blindness:  Who’s Got a Secret? (Citizen-Times)

When Favorite Places are in Outer Spaces (Citizen-Times)

Returning to Our Senses along Common Streams and Paths (Citizen-Times)

Mystics, Heretics and Other “Souls on Fire” (Citizen-Times)

“Wow! I say about this article. The best of his that I’ve read. I had never heard of Porete. So good to learn. Sharp writing throughout. Some fine metaphors.”

F-Words: Fate, Fortune, Faith, Failure and Fear (Citizen-Times)

First Church of the Search: an Invitation to Infidels (Citizen-Times)

“You have a nice writing style (enjoyable to read).”

A Small Twig on the Vast Tree of Life (Citizen-Times)

A Log Across the Bog—Balancing Natural Bridges (Citizen-Times)

“Thank you for writing another excellent book!”

Thunder and Lightning: Are the Giants Bowling Again? (Citizen-Times)

Remembering a Minister, Chaplain, Mentor and Friend (Citizen-Times)

 “I admire your courage and tenacity in writing and talking about these ideas and gently pushing us beyond our own bubbles. Never easy and somehow seems especially challenging in this world.”

Vonnegut: Conflicts and Conundrums of Faith (Citizen-Times)

Hereafter, Afterthoughts on the Afterlife (Citizen-Times)

“Working my way through your vast array of essays, which are wonderful to read. I am thoroughly enjoying the Highland reads.”

The Devil’s in the Details: Do We Still Need Satan? (Citizen-Times)

Audre Lorde: Breaking Silence and the Power of Difference (Citizen-Times)

Handling Difficult Conversations: Suggestions for Freethinkers (Citizen-Times)

“Read the last pages of A Freethinker’s Gospel this morning. You really did a good job. As a Deist, I find your book helpful with my path.”

The Coffin Confessor and Doing Something We Have to Do (Citizen-Times)

From the Moon to Making Meaning in Our Mind (Citizen-Times)

“I follow your weekly column in the paper, and admire your writing and ideas.”

Teaching, Transgressing and Independent Thinking (Citizen-Times)

Religious Morality and Secular Ethics: Seeking the Good (Citizen-Times)

“Read your column yesterday. Man, you are a “profound thinker”! Have to go back and read it again today; it’s good.” 

Ubuntu: A Secular Response to Spiritual Questions (Citizen-Times)

“Learned from and loved today’s column!”

“Your column on Ubuntu reminded me of an incredible coincidence in my life [while teaching in Jamaica].”

“This is an excellent description of my spirituality today. Thank you.”

Seneca, Wisdom and Living Well with Nature (Citizen-Times)

“I have mentioned the special place your weekly articles have in my life.  On Saturday afternoons I find a quiet time to read and reflect and follow your thoughts.  Your introduction to the writing of Seneca was especially inspiring.  A very appropriate message for today.  I am now digging deeper into his background and the philosophy of that time in history.  Thanks for opening this door for me.”

Is a Creator Playing Hide-and-Seek? (Citizen-Times)

Do Different Paths Lead to the Same Peak? (Citizen-Times)

Old Hats, New Trolleys and National Days of Prayer (Citizen-Times)


Paul Laurence Dunbar and The Heart of Happy Hollow (Citizen-Times)

The Sweetness of Light in the Blink of an Eye (Citizen-Times)

“I appreciate the joy of Light is Sweet! … Focusing on the light helps remind me to live in the light and maintain hope.”

Olaudah Equiano: Slave, Sailor, Scribe (Citizen-Times)

What Ever Happened to the Golden Rule? (Citizen-Times)

“Thanks for posting this very important article. It has really made me think hard.”

You Have Heard It Said, Ego de Lego (Citizen-Times)

Three Mothers, Three Preachers, Three Transformative Sons (Citizen-Times)

“I’ve been reading selections from your book off and on and they’ve also helped in [making an important] decision.”

Looking for Lessons for Living the Greatest Love of All (Citizen-Times)

A Nudge and a Push with a Bumper of Kindness (Citizen-Times)

Mirrors of Reflection inspired by Japan’s Ise Jingu Temple (Citizen-Times)

“Thought provoking indeed!  Individuals like yourself, Chris, and others of like sensibility and intellect can help open the door to sensibility and sensitivity!”

There Goes Many a Ship to Sea—who are our crewmates? (Citizen-Times)

“Thank you for your column today.  I always like what you write. Thank you!”

Thai Monks: Resisting the Restrictive Robes of Religion (Citizen-Times)

” ‘the move from orthodox tradition to heterodox innovation’  LOVE that phrase!!!  Thanks for another great article.”

“Excellent column.”

“Nice article.  Really thoughtful exploration.”

The Ministry of the Mountains (Citizen-Times)

“Love it!”

The Light of Day: John Burroughs and a Freethinker’s Religion -Part Two (Freethought Society Ezine)

“We love your writing!”

Eco-Religion and a Blue Ridge Mountain High (Citizen-Times)

“Interestingly enough the boundaries are changing in these matters and I say right on—Most of us enjoy pondering new and different perspectives—so write on!”

Cafeteria Christians and Food-fights in the New South (Citizen-Times)

“I certainly relate to today’s column! However, I laughed out loud reading “chaotic cacophony”! Perfect description of a middle school cafeteria!”

“Might apply to our lives in general, which is good.  How do you come up with such creative themes week after week?”

“I enjoyed reading your recent column as is my usual experience … Keep up the good work from the “other than mainstream” religious community!”

Scientist, Pastor, Rabbi: the Natural Sanctuary of E.O. Wilson (Citizen-Times)

“Surely the Wilson / Chris approach is the only way to get much done … Praise to Chris for his efforts.”

“I enjoyed your column today.  I follow your writing all the time.”

“Read the column earlier today; you were spot on and enjoyable to read!”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Breathing and Mindful Engagement (Citizen-Times)

“Just wanted you to know how much [we] appreciated your piece on Thay, and your wedding as a bonus.”

Langston Hughes-“In spite of all, life must not cease” (Citizen-Times)

This Little Light of Mine, and Yours, Let it Shine (Citizen-Times)

“Fine article, Chris. I especially liked how you used several “case studies” reports on us common folks doing what we can in our particular situations. I suggest that more of the same stories/reports are helpful for stimulating our imaginations and moving us to be creative in doing what we can.”

“I appreciated your Saturday 6 January column cataloging the efforts of faith congregations and committed activists working with them to efforts to create positive responses to racism, hunger, and houselessness.”

Jefferson’s Leg, His Pocket and Rule for Religion (Citizen-Times)

The Light of Day: John Burroughs and a Freethinker’s Religion -Part One (Freethought Society Ezine)

After the Fall: On the Ground with the Fallen (Citizen-Times)

“I’ve become a little less Christian (at least a lot less theistic) and a bit more Buddhist over the last decade or so. I’ve read some of your essays … and found them interesting and enjoyable.”

African Nativity: Stories of Refuge and Refugees (Citizen-Times)

“Chris is a person here in Asheville … who has given my spirituality focus a major boost.”

Welcoming the Solstice Season of Light, Dark and Gray (Citizen-Times)

Freedom of Thought is Good for All, Religious or Not (Citizen-Times)

 “I have enjoyed your columns immensely … I always find your writing has something to say to me.”

“Your column today was incredibly good!”

“Very interesting. Thought provoking …
Ever thankful for my freedom.”

“Always refreshing to see his articles and that the paper prints them.”

Shining a Light on the Good Things We Do (Citizen-Times)

“I did enjoy your ACT message today so I decided to help you get the word out to [other] freethinkers …Keep your ideas flowing.”

“Excellent article. I’m going to look up his books.”

On the Right Path, Not Quite Far Enough (Citizen-Times)

A House of Sticks in the Hundred Acre Wood (Citizen Times)

“Love to read your column. Todays using my Favorite Winnie the Pooh really speaks to our world…. oh bother.”

A Rope of Turbans: When Humanity is the Religion of the Moment (Citizen-Times)

“Good column today! I can learn a lot from you as I set the parameters of my spirituality.”

Goodall’s Gospel: The Hopeful Philosophy of Jane Goodall (Citizen-Times)

Passing Seasons–In All the Living, Flowing Currents (Citizen-Times)

“Your column today deeply resonates with me …Your writing should be helpful to many. Thank you for giving us a hand.”

Written in Stone: Monumental Changes and Conceptual Dismantling (Citizen-Times)

“Excellent column today … I’m scanning my memories of travels around the world, and find supporting evidence of your statement in my own experience.”

Even the Rocks Remember, the Soil Rich with Life (Citizen-Times)

“Last weekend’s column … thumbs up!”

“We’re enjoying your columns.  Really well done.”

If This Life, This World, Is All There Is (Citizen-Times)

“[This] piece is one of his best weekly columns that I have read.”

Teaching a “Biblical Worldview,” But How and Which One? (Citizen-Times)

“Amen!  You’ve been on a roll the past month … just incredibly thoughtful and well-written articles.”

Space to Play, Pray or Say What You Think Today (Citizen-Times)

Energy, Matter, Nature, Universe, Consciousness and God Too? (Citizen-Times)

“I usually read your column in the paper. Just wanted to say today’s essay about Energy, Matter, Consciousness, God, etc. was of special interest. Would really like to read more articles regarding this topic as my religious journey has brought me to this place.”

“I loved today’s column—a very interesting perspective.”

When One Day Changes Everything, and Nothing at All (Citizen-Times)

“I read your columns in the ACT regularly and am grateful that you represent a more “liberal’ expression of religion than the other columnists.”

Jesus, John Wayne, and Militant Masculinity (Citizen-Times)

“Thanks again for your book [Friendly Freethinker]. I continue to enjoy the article format and your friendly tone – so approachable.”

The Pleasure of Discovering You Are Wrong (Citizen-Times)

“A delight.”

 “For quite some time now I’ve been reading your refreshing and insightful column.”

Yoruba: The Greatest Religion You’ve Never Heard Of (Citizen-Times)

“I’ve been keeping up with you semi-religiously via your columns which usually leave me thinking … Keep up the work on behalf of those of us who remain skeptical.”

How Do We Know What an Atheist Believes? (Citizen-Times)

Is it True All Religions Worship the Same God? (Citizen-Times)

 “[I am] grateful that my inklings of connection to your journey were confirmed. The more I read of your Views the more I know this to be true.”

Thomas Merton, Shakers and the Paradise Myth (Citizen-Times)

Shakers, Trappists and the Inclusive Dance of Simplicity (Citizen-Times)

 “I read your column every week in the Citizen Times and get so much out of your perspective on religion and secularism.”

“Your thoughts have affected me deeply in affirmation of my values.”

Should We Fear or Cheer the Rise of Secularism? (Citizen-Times)

“I thought your column was thoughtful and on the money … Love your thinking.”

“Again you remind me of your wisdom.”

Wonder is Wonder, Breathing is Breathing, Presence is Presence (Citizen-Times)

Turtles, Snakes, Rabbits and the Human Race (Citizen-Times)

Learning the Living Language of Humanity (Citizen-Times)

“[We] wanted you to know how refreshing it is to hear another freethinking voice reaching out to others to increase a sense of purpose, understanding, acceptance and love … To see a weekly column related to intellectual freethinking but deeply rooted in compassion gives us a sense that we are not alone. So thank you.”

What Truth Looks Like in a Post-Truth World (Citizen-Times)

“A big Amen for today’s column!”

Still Points of History along an Appalachian River (Citizen-Times)

“I read your regular columns in the Asheville paper. Your articles are always thought-provoking. Today, I discovered your website and books. I will share them with others.
Thank you for what you write!”

In the Galaxy of Religion, Resistance is Not Futile (Citizen-Times)

“… a fun read, as always, full of alliterative wit and wisdom, vignettes that stick to you. Thanks so much for your voice, refreshing.”

The Problem with the Profane, and Profanity (Citizen-Times)

Rich in Small Wonders but We’re Poor in Seeing Them (Citizen-Times)

“Your newspaper column this week struck home with me.”

Do We Have to Choose between Aggressive Religion or Aggravated Atheism? (Rational Doubt)

“You are speaking my language.”

“I give this column an A+”

“Thank you for such a powerful reflective article!”

 “A thought-provoking and well-written article.”

When to Act as if there were No God (Citizen-Times)

“This is beautiful….superb.”

Wasps, Willows, Water and the Way of Wonder (Citizen-Times)

“I read your columns every week.  Thank you for writing them!”

Time for an Awakening and Revival of Reason (Citizen-Times)

Elegant Incognito and the Art of the Wild (Citizen-Times)

“Congratulations on today’s column. I’m amazed that the AC-T publishes your excellent views.”

An Ethiopian View of Nature, Beauty and the Divine (Citizen-Times)

“Great articulation and perception.
I would like to present my deepest gratitude and pay respects for this kind of reflection to readers about my stand in Life.” (Thomas, from Ethiopia) 

We Could Have a Little More Faith, in Nature (Citizen-Times)

Kneeling and Planting for the Life of the People (Citizen-Times)

“I love every essay [in Broken Bridges] … I’d like to share well-deserved praise for your work.” (M.F., from Ireland)

Pilgrimage to Seek the Resurrection of the Good (Citizen-Times)

What Happens When Ancient Religions Grow Older? (Citizen-Times)

“Your writing is validating, yet soothing and balanced. You express your thoughts with compassion that is consistent with a humanist stance. It’s as if you kept the best part of yourself and left behind all that is wrong with religion. I sincerely appreciate you!”

Are We Nomads Searching for the Unseen Nearby? (Citizen-Times)

Birds, Beetles, Bears and Beliefs (Patheos)

 “It particularly resonated with me, almost one year into the pandemic.”

Can We Talk About Religious Supremacy? (Citizen-Times)

“You are one of the writers keeping me from despairing, Chris, so thank you again!”

Welcome to a Full Service Secular Church (Citizen-Times)

“I again want to thank you for your columns. I read them each Saturday and sometimes even share them on Facebook. It would seem to me to be a lot of work to figure out how to come up with a worthwhile topic. But I think ….that even though you don’t know who or how many of us out here are reading your words….it is your way of spreading some love … Thanks again. I really do appreciate your words…..they keep me going.”

Having Difficult Conversations without Destroying Relationships (Citizen-Times)

“This is quite beautiful Chris. I feel encouraged about my relationships with those who hold a different world view. Thank you.”

Is There a Secret to Becoming a Secular Mystic? (Citizen-Times)

“Thanks for your inspiring and thought provoking writings, we enjoy them very much.”

Is Religion in Jeopardy of Becoming a Game Show? (Citizen-Times)

Hey a-nonny, a-nonny: Q-anon, the Q Continuum and Quackery (Patheos)

“Great article, Chris, and what an insightful and apt comparison. My favorite line among many is, “The stickers faded and fell from the bumpers of our beliefs.” Terrific!”

The Man Who Changed His Name to God (Citizen-Times)

A Walk Through the Forest of Faith and Freethinking (Citizen-Times)

 “I would enjoy that walk.”

I’m Not Certain This is True (Citizen-Times)

Emmanuel or E-Manual: Faith by the Book (Rational Doubt)

“Very clarifying. This will “preach!” Thanks.”

Parables and Sayings from Hindu Sage Ramakrishna (Citizen-Times)

“Your articles are a gift to our community!”

The Radical, Liberating Roots of Relevant Religion (Citizen-Times)

An Unstable Story (Patheos)

“Great post!”

Celebrating Many Traditions Through the Seasons (Citizen-Times)

A Wreath of Relationships in a Season of Light (Citizen-Times)

“Thanks for helping to add to Asheville’s enlightenment.”

Breathing and Belonging in the Sanctuary of Nature (Citizen-Times)

“When I read your article I was happy that someone could confirm the feelings I have had in regards to spirituality … thank you for the poem and the thoughts that give me hope.”

Nearer to Wonder: A Response to Religious Naturalism (Patheos)

“You have expressed my thoughts exactly in this piece.  Much better than I could have.”

The Privilege and Adventure of Grateful Living (Citizen-Times)

“Your article touched me. Impressive!”

“Hit home for me.”

Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame (Citizen-Times)

Old Friends, Faith and the Journey Forward (Citizen-Times)

“I continue to be a big fan of your weekly ACT columns, and this week’s was one that was especially important to me. I like the account of your and your friend’s growth and development toward your current values and belief systems” 

Still Some Mysteries Left in the World (Citizen-Times)

Ringing Bells Call Us In, or Out (Citizen-Times)

Neighborliness: Keep the Home Fires Burning Bright (Citizen-Times)

“Last Saturday’s column reminded me of how important it is to “keep the homes fires burning” so that you can share them …  

Thank you for a wonderful column–I hope the world reads it!”

Confessions of a (Slightly) Contrite Charismatic (Rational Doubt)

How the Tao Speaks to Us Now (Citizen-Times)

Can We Be Converted to a Secular Faith? (Rational Doubt)

Battling Bullies in Boyhood and Beliefs (Citizen-Times)

What We Don’t Want to Think About (Citizen-Times–original title)

“You helped me think about some things which has enriched my experience of this day.”

Young Sheldon the Atheist Goes to Church (Citizen-Times)

Can a Secular Person be a Christian? (Citizen-Times)

John Muir and White Supremacy (this website)

 “I very much appreciate your article. It provides valuable perspective and balance … I wish your article were commonly published in parallel with the critical articles. The public discourse would be far better for it.”

Troublesome Pigeon-holes and Secular Clergy (Citizen-Times) Full Text

When It’s Time for a Changing of the God (Citizen-Times)

Tradition of Truth: Standing Up and Speaking Out (Citizen-Times)

William James’ Lesson from North Carolina (Citizen-Times)

 “I consider this one of his best pieces.”

We/They: Divided By Beliefs (

Thawing Our Frozen Theological Views (Citizen-Times)

The Ability to Learn from Disability (Citizen-Times)

“The lessons I learned from over 40 years of teaching children and adults with special needs far outweighed whatever I may have taught them. Lessons in kindness, humor, perseverance and patience were there every day when I opened my eyes and my heart to see them. Thanks for the reminder of how lucky I was!”

Is There an Invasion of Humanism? (Citizen-Times)

We Are the Angels (Moving Truths, excerpt from Broken Bridges)

Thoreau’s Practice of Sacred Disobedience, Part Two (Citizen-Times)

Thoreau’s Practice of Sacred Disobedience, Part One (Citizen-Times)

“Any thoughts about you using a ghost writer are now abolished!
Only you could come up with ‘secular saunterer.’
I did enjoy your thought-provoking article.”

Unmasking Ourselves to Face Each Other (Citizen-Times)

Responding to Emergencies with Practical Compassion (Citizen-Times)

“A moving article.”

Why Does the World Still Need Scriptures? (Citizen-Times)

A Conspicuous Cricket in the Commode (Citizen-Times)

Teaching to Find Common Ground not Battle Ground (Citizen-Times)

“I often carry thoughts re your columns in my head through the week – mostly on long walks with my dog which seems to work as worship for me these days.  So, thank you.”

Meaning in Mini Migrations (Patheos)

“Excellent reality based article.”

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha at the Brewery (Citizen-Times)

We Don’t Have to Be Soulless or Heartless (Citizen-Times)

Mature Christians and Grown-up Atheists (Patheos)

“Thank you! Your tolerant, thoughtful article is a welcome alternative to all the attacks and distortions by various religions, ideologies, and life-stances.”

“Your post is well thought-out and kind.”

“I wish I had written this!”

A Natural, Supernatural or Sub-Natural Cosmos? (Citizen-Times)

“Just want to express my appreciation for the weekly article each Saturday. They provide an opportunity for intellectual engagement that is not often provided in most publications. It is a real pleasure to have articles that are ‘not preaching to me’ but opening up perspectives and stimulating reflection and thinking.”

Reflections on Race, Religion and Rational Thinking (Citizen-Times)

“This column was excellent!”

Music–Secular, Spiritual, Shades of Gray (Citizen-Times)

Scratching Around a Corner of the Earth (Citizen-Times)

“I want you to know how much I appreciate your vision and gift of words.”

What I Would Most Like to Believe (Citizen-Times)

“Thank you for sharing the freethinking viewpoint in the ACT. There are a lot of us out here!”

The Friendship of an Atheist and an Evangelical (Patheos)

“Love the questions. love the dialogue. this is what we should be doing.”

A Freethinker at Passover and Easter (Citizen-Times)

Pan, Panic and Predators, Great and Small (Citizen-Times)

“Born and raised Lutheran (LCA), practicing Quaker for over 35 years and your “essays” as offered in A Freethinker’s Gospel are the most compelling (Bible) ever for this 70 year old! A million thanks to you for sharing such remarkable wisdom.”

Facts, Foundations and Castles in the Air (Citizen-Times)

Still Under the Spell of Godspell (Citizen-Times)

Panic, Pantheism or Panoptics Through a Pandemic (Patheos)

“Just what I needed to read this morning.”

“Wow, Chris, thanks so much, that was beautiful and you spoke to what I felt but had no words for.”

If There’s a God in Nature, Which One? (Citizen-Times)

Spirituality Through the Spectacles of Ben Franklin (Citizen-Times)

Whatever Works? (Citizen-Times) p2

“I wanted to compliment you on your work and essays in these often confusing and chaotic times. Keep writing! Please.”

What is Your Vocabulary of Faith? (Citizen-Times)

Hunting for Game and God (Patheos)

 “I enjoyed the article tremendously and continue to be impressed with your writing style and the feel you have for words and for how to put them together.”

Does Religion Begin and End in Silence? (Citizen-Times) p2

The Gentle Love and Kindness of a Street Musician (Citizen-Times)

“This was an article by a good storyteller.”

Hearing the Bells of Nature’s Church (Citizen-Times) p2

A Non-Believer’s Open Letter to God (Citizen-Times)

“What an excellent, wonderful piece. It’s as though [the author] read my mind.”

Sequoyah and the Language of the Human Tribe (Citizen-Times) p2

“I ran into one of your many readers yesterday … and he proceeded to explain that he enjoyed and always reads your columns in the paper!  You are bringing [the C-T] a bunch of devoted readers!”

What Name Do We Call God? (Citizen-Times)

Memories of Mischief and Mirth from Heretic Hollow (Patheos)

“Very thought-provoking article!”

A New Religion in the Neighborhood? (Citizen-Times) p2

Candles, Cranes and Light in Dark Places (Citizen-Times/USA Today)

“Really liked your article in the Citizen Times today. Brilliant that you shared the origami story, and inspired everyone to fold!”

John Muir’s Radical Religion of Beauty (The Humanist)

 “I thoroughly enjoyed your exemplary writing and insightful understanding of John Muir.”

“I find myself profoundly at home in this article and am deeply grateful to you for eloquently expressing what I, too, believe.”

“Beautifully written and expresses where I stand on my spiritual path as well.”

“It’s a lovely piece beautifully written from a perspective as only you can do.”

A Definition of Religion Even Seculars Can Accept (Citizen-Times)

“You managed to convey so much of the beauty of John Burroughs’ writings in your column today … so many thanks for bringing awareness to some of his profound thoughts.”

Strings of Light in the Solstice Season (Citizen-Times) p2

Saving Jesus, Again (Rational Doubt/Patheos)

Was the Bethlehem Baby Jewish, Christian or a Freethinker? (Citizen-Times)

“We continue to read your articles in the paper each week. Your article last week was one of your best ever. We saved it for further contemplation.”

Restlessness and Greatness (Citizen-Times) p2

Practicing What We Teach and Preach (Citizen-Times)

Miracles, Science, Skepticism and Poetry (Citizen-Times) p2

Does Religion Have an Animosity toward Animals? (Citizen-Times)

“I am one who reserves a quiet time every Saturday morning to retreat with your column and my coffee into my study, a practice which has become a very treasured interlude in each week.”

Tom Paine Goes to Church, Then Builds His Own (Citizen-Times) p2

Are We Only Seeing Through a Glass Darkly? (Citizen-Times)

Are We All Agnostics, Or Is Anyone Truly Agnostic? (Citizen-Times) p2

“Having evolved religiously to agnostic views; your article caught my interest.”

Seeking Healing in Our Natural Origins (Citizen-Times) p2

Casting Stones or Stepping Stones? (Patheos)

Is Honesty Honored in our Faith and Freethought Communities? (Citizen-Times)

“My wife and I are faithful readers of your column in the Asheville paper.  I have been wanting to thank you for your thoughtful words week after week. Yesterday’s article was especially meaningful.”

Conversations with Ancient Voices (Citizen-Times) p2 

The Pastor and the Atheist (Citizen-Times)  

Growling and Shaking Our Heads in Disbelief (Citizen-Times) p2

Trying to Understand the Lord’s Prayer (Citizen-Times)

“A rascal!”

Dangerous Crossings of Faith and Freethought (Citizen-Times) p2

What I’ve Come to Value in World Religions (Citizen-Times)

Why Would I Want Everyone to be the Same as I Am? (Citizen-Times) p2

Is Hate, Like Love, Built In to Religion? (

“Thank you for posting this article. You have a unique insight – given your pastoral history and apparent proclivity for forthrightness.”

If You Had the Ear of the World (Citizen-Times)

“Wonderful article — thanks for spreading the good word!”

-Alan Alda’s Podcast Team

Seeking Directions on the Trails of Life (Citizen-Times) p2

“Your articles in the Citizen-Times are one of the highlights of my Saturdays.”

Religi-publicans in Crisis (Patheos)

“Chris Highland’s comments have a positive reach beyond what he might think.”

A Parable of Bears, Trees and Naps (Citizen-Times)

“First let me say how much I enjoy your column. I look forward to the Saturday paper and skim most of it but always read your insights.”

Streaming Wisdom from Wilma Dykeman (Citizen-Times) p2

“I loved your article on atheism in the Citizen-Times a few weeks ago.”

Nature’s Secular Sacrament of Baptism (Citizen-Times)

Questions Often Asked of a Contented Atheist (Citizen-Times) p2

“I read your column regularly and I appreciate it so much. As a fellow humanist and free thinker –and on top of that– a mayor, I want to let you know today’s column was on the mark … Stay the course.”

A Wedding, or Church, without God? (Citizen-Times)

Jumping Spiders are Meditation Teachers (Citizen-Times) p2

“Your writings have often helped reinforce and enrich our lives. Thank you.”

Nature Reigns and Rules the Whole (Citizen-Times)

Disturbing Poverty Can Cause Disturbance (Citizen-Times) p2

“Thanks, Chris.  Keep providing that balance!”

An Important Question for Friends and Strangers (Citizen-Times)

Walt Whitman at 200:  Songs of Divinity and Humanity (Citizen-Times) p2

Saints, Socks and Sundays (Citizen-Times)

“I have walked a spiritual path much different from yours, but it feels like we’ve arrived at a similar destination.”

Our Mother Who Art in Heaven, and Earth (Citizen-Times) p2

Finding Transformation at Land of the Sky (Citizen-Times)

When the Roof Forest Burns (Patheos)

“I wanted you to know you are read and greatly appreciated by a like-minded secular friend also doing some writing.”

Is This What Jesus’ Church Might Look Like? (Citizen-Times) PDF-p1, PDF-p2

Is There Hope Beyond Death? (Citizen-Times)

“Really had to smile, even laugh out loud, on your breakdown of various communities’ beliefs of the afterlife.  I look forward to your weekly column.”

A Freethinker Climbs The Cross (Rational Doubt)

A Progressive Lutheran Minister’s Season of Questions (Citizen-Times) p2

A Black Woman Pastor Provoking Justice (Citizen-Times)

“You do great work!  I …  hope that people see the importance of doing this work in themselves and their respective faith communities to dismantle white supremacy where it began, the church.  Peace to you!”

The Light of Humanistic Judaism (Citizen-Times) PDF

Is There an Orthodox Atheism? (Patheos) 

“We share much of the same approach to our world view and need for civility and humility in approaching those religious advocates who want to shout us down.”

Wise Words from a Witch (Citizen-Times) PDF

Emergency!  Can Faithers and Freethinkers Respond Together?  (Rational Doubt)

“Thanks for making me think!”

A Smile, Breath and Bow for a Buddhist Priest (Citizen-Times) PDF

A Synagogue Baking Bread, not Beliefs (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Curious Apostate in the Pew (Citizen-Times) PDF

If Uncle Tom’s Cabin Had a Library (Citizen-Times) PDF

“This writer is very balanced and fair.”–evangelical pastor

What is the Soul, if there is One? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Why I’m Not an Angry Evangelical Atheist–Part One (Patheos)

Why I’m Not an Angry Evangelical Atheist–Part Two (Patheos)

“I suspect Highland’s problem is that he’s a “pastoral” type … It’s really a little demeaning to have to waste time deflecting criticism from supposed atheists [like Highland] whose main concern is retaining warm personal relationships with all their superstitious buddies.  I would suggest that Highland’s problem with other atheists is indeed HIS problem … ” –evangelical atheist?

When the Leader Isn’t Who You Expect (Citizen-Times) p2

Do We Have to Burn All Our Bridges? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Faith and Freethought Forums (Patheos)

“What I appreciate most is that I feel that you are representing me as a “non-believer”and that it is possible to be a thoughtful, caring person participating in society.”

Sufi Stories that Make Us Laugh and Think (Citizen-Times) PDF

Collaborative Compassion:  A Secular Perspective (The Interfaith Observer)

Pauli Murray (Citizen-Times) PDF-p1, PDF-p2

“Count me among the many who read your AC-T column and appreciate the “breath of fresh air” it represents on the religion page … Thank you very much for your valuable engagement with the community.”

Good Grief and Living with Loss (Citizen-Times) PDF-p1, PDF-p2

A Deep Breath for the New Year (Citizen-Times) PDF

How to Start Your Own Religion, Just Add Water (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Your photographs are stunning. I love what you write.”

Genesis, God and the Good Earth (Citizen-Times) PDF + Des Moines Register

Unwrapping the Present:  A Chris-mas Message (Patheos)

Another Kind of Christmas (Patheos)

“A short reflection that is more along the lines of the nature-focused essays that Chris loves to write (and we love to read).”

To Be More Like God, or More Human? (Citizen-Times) PDF + Des Moines Register

Why God Created Atheists, and Nature Created Believers (Citizen-Times) PDF-p1, PDF-p2 + Des Moines Register

Good ol’ Biblical Cherry Pickin’ (Patheos)

The new book, A Freethinker’s Gospel, a collection of 52 of Chris’ columns, is now available wherever you purchase books!

Treasure Closer Than We Think (Citizen-Times) PDF

Trusting the Power of Love and Goodness (Citizen-Times) PDF

Baffled by Belief and Unbelief (Citizen-Times)

“We really get a lot of pleasure and stimulation from your AC/T column. Thank You!”

Autumn Leaves Mark the Passing of a Pastor (Citizen-Times) PDF

Margaret Fuller’s Thirst for Truth and Good (Citizen-Times) PDF

Is a “Growing Faith” Always a Good Thing? (Citizen-Times)

Secular Sermon:  Re-defining the Sacred (Rational Doubt)

“Today’s column made me say YES out loud!”

You Show Us What Could Be (Citizen-Times) p2

Discovering Our Better Angels (Citizen-Times) PDF + Post Crescent (WI)

Prayer or Presence? (Citizen-Times) PDF only + Post Crescent (WI)

“I really appreciate your down-to-earth approach to matters of faith, including the message in today’s article which is the message so many of us desperately needed to hear.”

What’s on the Menu of Faith?  (Citizen-Times) PDF

Jail Chaplaincy:  No Place for a Closed Mind (Citizen-Times) PDF

Choosing Justice as Faith in Action (Citizen-Times) PDF

James Baldwin’s Prophetic Voice (Citizen-Times) PDF

“You always inspire me with your ability to connect with everyone, no matter what their background or belief or where they are in their life.”

Driving Lessons for Heretics (Citizen-Times)

Less Blessing and More Human Touch (Citizen-Times) PDF

Deliver Us from Our Concept of Evil (Citizen-Times) PDF

Broken Bridges (Citizen-Times)

Sojourner Truth:  To Stay Here and Stand the Fire (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Sensitive, creative, relevant.”

Red-Letter Bibles and Godless Gospels (Citizen-Times) PDF

Life in the Secular Jewish Community (Citizen-Times) PDF

A Secular Pilgrimage with James Baldwin (Patheos)

The Dalai Lama and Ethics Beyond Religion (Citizen-Times) PDF

When the Country is the Classroom–and Sanctuary (Citizen-Times) PDF

“I always skipped over the Religion page in the paper, but I don’t any more!”

Can the Heaven-bound and Hell-bound find Common Ground? (Citizen-Times) PDF

What an Inter-faith, Inter-secular Marriage Can Look Like (Citizen-Times) PDF

Should We Keep Our Religion to Ourselves? (Citizen-Times) PDF

I Went to the Bridge Last Night (Citizen-Times) PDF

“A weekly column on interfaith issues and the relationship of nonbelievers to communities of faith and to nature from Asheville’s Chris Highland” (USA Today)

The Awfully Incredible (R-Rated) Story of Noah (Citizen-Times) PDF

Meditation Practice Open to Anyone (Citizen-Times) PDF

Who, What and Where is a Christian? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Walking Hand in Hand into Hell? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Camps Can Help Us Appreciate Nature or Miss It (Citizen-Times) PDF

Is there a Spirituality in Nature and of Nature? (Citizen-Times) PDF

When Faith Steps in to Block the View (Citizen-Times) PDF

“These reflections and your personal blog are creative contributions to a healthy dialogue in this region and far beyond.”

The Nature of Our Tribe and the Tribe of Nature (Citizen-Times) PDF

Who is Welcome around the Communion Table? (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Resurrection of Martin (The Clergy Project)

“Thanks so much for your recent article … I have enjoyed reading your work and learning about your freethought journey.”

The Greatest Story Not Yet Told (Rational Doubt)

A Young Farmboy Learns Lessons of the Seasons (Citizen-Times) PDF

John Muir’s Prophetic Call to a Wild Heaven on Earth (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Thanks so much for your insightfulness and mind provoking articles.”

The Value of What We Don’t Know and Can’t See (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Three C’s and the Segregation of God (Citizen-Times) PDF

When a Person Loves Religious Feelings but doesn’t like Religion (Citizen-Times)

“Reading your column gives me hope that it is possible to help people find a more honest way of thinking and living.”

No Lock on the Truth in this Church (Citizen-Times) PDF

If God was Female and Holy Books were Written by Women (Citizen-Times) PDF

Searching for the Heartbeat and Drumbeat of Native America (Citizen-Times) PDF

Is Interfaith Harmony better than Unity? (Citizen-Times) PDF

In a Wholly New Light, the Biology of Faith (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Beautifully written and inspiring!”

Witches, Wicca and a Pagan View of the World (Citizen-Times) PDF

Looking Past Windows that Separate and Stun Our Beliefs (Citizen-Times) PDF 

Freethinking about Faith, Feathers and Flocks (Citizen-Times) PDF

Mountains to Sea, Crossing Lines for Humility and Humanity (Citizen-Times) PDF

A Post-Christian Christmas Card (The Clergy Project)

“Thanks for the voice you bring to our community.”

Light for the World–A Secular Christmas Story (Citizen-Times) PDF

Jesus Was Jewish, but Should Jews be Christians? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Frederick Douglass on Religion and Discrimination (Citizen-Times) PDF

Secular Responses to Addiction (Citizen-Times) PDF

Strangers on the Road, a Parable (Citizen-Times) PDF

What We Bring to the Table is Important (Citizen-Times) PDF-p1, PDF-p2

“Highland’s thoughtful essays … are a welcome addition to the paper.”

When Suffering Comes to the Door (Citizen-Times) PDF

Walt Whitman: Model for Chaplains, Secular Saint (Citizen-Times) PDF

Mission Work, Compassion or Conversion (Citizen-Times) PDF

Facing Disasters with Faith or Without Faith (Citizen-Times) PDF

Blessed are the Poor? (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Thank you so much for your eloquent essay.”

So You Believe or Don’t Believe in God, Then What? (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Fiery Freethinking Gospel of Frances Wright (Citizen-Times) PDF

Theology for Beginners, Hints from Hindus (Citizen-Times) PDF

Seeing Through Stevie Wonder’s Eyes (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Wonderful pieces. . . .  Your articles must come as a relief to many of the readers in [the] community.”

An Incredulous Creed (Rational Doubt)

Awakening to Sabbath (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Interfaith Alternative (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Face of Nature (Citizen-Times) PDF

Proverbs from the Sea-Island Gullah (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Just read [your] article–wonderful and very well-written, expressed. YES!”

A Secular Crusade? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Is Your Family Divided By Faith? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Rivers Across the Religious Landscape (Citizen-Times) PDF

Does Nature Care? (Citizen-Times) PDF -corrections:  fourth paragraph should begin with “Pleased that I am now known. . .” and in the first paragraph of the last column the line should read “beauty, God or much good”

No Clergy Guilt for a Naturalist/Secular Chaplain (The Clergy Project blog)

Kitty Hawk, Curiosity and an Ethic of Care (Citizen-Times) PDF

“‘A’ [grade] to Chris Highland for his ‘Highland Views’ inspirational column found weekly in the Saturday paper.  ‘A’ also to AC-T for … publishing views of a perspective differing from [others] on the religion page.”

Thoreau, Darwin and the Book of Nature (Citizen-Times) PDF

Ingersoll’s Middle Name was Green (Citizen-Times) PDF

What Does it Mean to Be a Religious Progressive? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Here We Sit:  The 500th Year of Luther’s Reformation (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Wisdom of Doubt (Citizen-Times) PDF

“I thoroughly enjoyed your most recent column.”

Francis of Assisi: Secular Saint? (Citizen-Times) PDF

In Whom Do We Trust? (Citizen-Times and Coloradoan) PDF

Naturally Curious, Children Ask Good Questions (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Heaven I Look For Now (Citizen-Times) PDF

The Nature of Humanism and Faith (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Thank you for posting this great article! I plan on picking up a few of your books and I’m enjoying your website.  Please keep posting!”

Fostering Contemplation (Citizen-Times) PDF

Peeves, Goats and the Faith of Children (Citizen-Times) PDF

A Secular Reflection on Passover and Easter (Citizen-Times) PDF

Meditations of Robert Ingersoll, Part 4: “Fear” (North American Review)

The new book, A Freethinker’s Gospel, a collection of 53 of Chris’ essays, is now available wherever you purchase books!

Bridging the God-Gap (Citizen-Times) PDF

Welcoming People Not Like You (Citizen-Times PDF and USA Today)

Non-Fiction Book Review:  Manifold Nature (Rain Taxi)

Bridges to and from Belief (Citizen-Times) PDF

“I look forward to following you and reading more of your articles.”

A Secular Jesus (Citizen-Times) PDF

Climbing Beyond Scripture (Citizen-Times) PDF and USA Today)

Meditations of Robert Ingersoll, Part 3: “An Equal Right to Be Wrong” (North American Review)

Faith and Frederick Law Olmsted (Citizen-Times) PDF

Freethinker’s Trek Through Spirituality, Mysticism and Nature (Rational Doubt)

“Great column as always. As a Unitarian Universalist I enjoy the intellectual and theological thought you put into your writing.”

Climbing Out of Hell (Citizen-Times) PDF

Shoes On, Shoes Off (Citizen-Times PDF and USA Today)

Nature Calls Us to Step Back, Consider (Citizen-Times) PDF

Meditations of Robert Ingersoll, Part 2: “A New, Secular Scripture” (North American Review)

“A very refreshing read. . . Thank you for your courage in publishing such clear, well thought out (albeit controversial) common sense articles.”

One Nature Indivisible (Citizen-Times) PDF

A Religion of Freedom: Ingersoll’s Cane and Thomas Paine (North American Review) PDF (Ingersoll’s Cane, Dresden, NY) 

Secular Prayer (Citizen-Times) PDF

When a Minister No Longer Believes–The Clergy Project (Citizen-Times) PDF

Meditations of Robert Ingersoll, Part 1: “A Church of the Future. . .Without God “(North American Review)

“I really liked and appreciated the article … and what you are doing in the column … a member of my congregation [said] he looks forward to reading your column every single week!”

Do Holy Books Speak? (Citizen-Times) PDF

Ever Mindful of the Needs of Others (Citizen-Times) PDF

Give Fire to Your Dreams (Citizen-Times) PDF

Nailed to the Manger: A Christmas Baby Reflection (Patheos)

The Good Beyond Us and Them (Citizen-Times) PDF

“Thanks to ACT and Chris Highland for his excellent column “Highland Views.” He offers a much needed example of taking the high road … that it does no good to vilify people we disagree with, but rather we can seek common ground as we must live together for a while and can agree on some work for the common good. Pretty much what Jesus taught.”

Adopting the Bethlehem Baby (first printed in the Citizen-Times) PDF

Welcoming to a New State? (Rational Doubt)

Something is Broken in Religious Education (Citizen-Times) PDF-p1 PDF-p2

Giving Thanks–Without Religion (Citizen-Times) PDF

Can Secular People Also Have Devotion? (Citizen-Times) PDF

(My original letter to the editor of the Citizen-Times, August, 2016)

“I hope the column. . .by Chris Highland. . .is a harbinger of things to come.”

~Reader’s Letter to the Editor of the Citizen-Times

Beyond the Trumpery (Rational Doubt)

A Freethinker Returns to Seminary (State of Formation-Journal of Interreligious Dialogue)

“Secular Testimony” (The Clergy Project)

The New American Religion (Patheos)

Divorcing Spirituality (Patheos)

Why Isn’t Wonder Wonderful Enough? (Rational Doubt)

Why Progressive Faith Needs Progressive Secularism (Patheos)

Taking the Sacrament with John Muir (Patheos)

“Your articles are amazing.  I want to echo your thoughts.  Free-thinking is not anti-faith.”

Climbing (not cutting) a Christmas Tree (Rational Doubt)

An Atheist at the Cross (Rational Doubt)

A Post-Supernatural View of Death (Patheos)

The Bible of Nature: A Scripture for Seculars (Realization)

Clergy Doubt (interview with Rational Doubt)

Seminary or Cemetery (Rational Doubt)

Leopard in a Minefield (Patheos)

Practicing Secular Chaplaincy (Rational Doubt)

Holy Babies (Faith Forward, Patheos)

Higher Trails (Ex-Christian Net)

John Muir Was a Pagan (Patheos) 

Bless You!  The Last Blessing (State of Formation)

Proof of Heaven (State of Formation)

Why I Am a Freethinker (Faith Forward, Patheos)

The End of Spirituality (State of Formation)

Beyond Sectarianism (Patheos)

“My kind of read…I truly enjoyed this article!
Well-written & an excellent read to pass forward!”

Praying Down the Tornado (State of Formation)

God in 100 Words (Patheos)

“Waterfall Spirituality” (Marin Independent Journal, interview)

Free to Be a Freespeaking Freethinker (Marin Interfaith Council blog)

Interfaith Marriage (Patheos, interview)

There’s Always that Beginning (SFTS Chimes, interview)

Energizing Trail Mix:  A Review of “Engaging Voices” (Patheos)

“Local Author Writes Two More Nature Books” (Whidbey Record, interview)

“Thoreau’s Teachings Still Inspire Many Lives” (USA Today, interview)

Rain and Need for Shelter Return (Marin Independent Journal)

End of Shelter. . .Closer to Home? (Marin Independent Journal)

Tam House Keeps the Light Burning (Marin Independent Journal)

Homelessness is an Emergency (Marin Independent Journal)


  1. Your articles are amazing,I want to echo your thoughts. Free thinker is not antifaith. Its pro faith and pro God. Thank you.

    • Thanks for the comment. You are correct that freethinking is not necessarily anti-faith, but Freethought tradition challenges orthodoxy and questions faith and theology, so I wouldn’t say it is “pro” faith or god. There is a primary agnostic position, which is the most reasonable, in my opinion. Glad you’re reading.

  2. Your column today on peeved goats and faith of children was spot on. When I had children and started to teach them the practice of kneeling by the bed for prayer each evening, I started to teach them the prayer I had recited as a child: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake,, I pray thee Lord my soul to take.” and it hit me: what a terrifying thought with which to end each day! No wonder I suffered from insomnia all my life!

  3. Re: “What if nature doesn’t care about us?”

    A very refreshing read. Nice to disconnect the frivolity of anthropomorphism from Earth’s activities and forces. Faith, in and of itself, is fine. It only becomes clouded and controversial when contaminated by organized religion and its dogmas. I am reminded of a cartoon by Wiley, the creator of Non Sequitur, showing the supreme deity gazing down on a turbulent Earth and saying, “That’s it. Lesson learned. Next time, no religion.”

    To say that the solar system and the vast, intricate, and expanding universe are stunning, is an obvious understatement — to say the least. We, intellectually lilliputian, short-term residents, of the planet, lack the depth of intelligence and mental power, in our present state of evolution, to grasp how this all came about. Given the current course of human events, it is unlikely that we will reach that understanding before we achieve our own extinction. That is a shame, because the odds against our having come into existence at all are truly astronomical. Homo sapiens really need to re-evaluate priorities.

    Thank you for your courage in publishing such clear, well thought out (albeit controversial) common sense articles. Nice to experience “thought freedom” so well articulated.

    • Good to hear, and well said, Peter.
      Yes, it would be a shame if we didn’t learn our lessons and show human evolving.
      I figure that publishing more common sense, in the radical tradition of the writer of “Common Sense,” shall we say, makes sense!
      I appreciate your comment.

  4. In re your article “Theology for beginners, via Hndus,” your “summary of the world’s major religious philosophies” was cute. Even though you have handed in your membership card with Christian religion, I still see many echos of it in your writing. You probably know that there are many different kinds of yoga (cognate with “yoke”). The brand of yoga one practices reveals what your yoke to God is: Hatha yoga connects through the physical body; jnana yoga connects through knowledge and the mind; bhakti yoga is practicing devotion to God; nada yoga connects through sound/music; karma yoga is the path of unselfish action. Christianity falls very nicely into the karma yoga path, as the heavy emphasis on behavior suggests: what you do or don’t do foretells whether you go to heaven or hell. In my mind the two best features of Christianity are its call to forgiveness and charity. In your writing I often see your approval of such behavior. Perhaps you are a karma yogi? I recall one of my spiritual teachers explaining “guru” as G-U-R-U (Gee, you are you!)

  5. Re your column today on Sojourner Truth: did you know that at the turning point in her life, she was tried for murder? She had fallen into cahoots with a religious cult leader who called himself Mathias. It was said she was one of his wives. Matthias’s cult was funded by a man named Pierson. Pierson was murdered.

    When I was director of the Westchester Co. Historical Society, Princeton historian Nell Painter contacted me because she was writing a biography of Sojourner Truth and wondered if we had the transcript of the trial. We did not but she came and used what research info we had. Then many months later, a county staff person came to me and said “The County Courthouse just gave us an old filing cabinet they found in a closet. And it is in the transcript of the trial.” Nell came up immediately. Alas, the transcript did not shed much light on the situation.

    But do read Nell’s fine biography of Sojourner Truth. Nell also wrote an awesome book titled The History Of White People. She really gets at the heart of how we came to distinguish races.

    • Yes, thanks for the note, Karolyn. Truth was an amazing human being. I read Painter’s book and The Narrative before writing the article. Very good. Truth will be among the “Most Dangerous Women” I’ll be teaching in my course this fall alongside Mott, Stanton, Wright and Fuller. All the best.

  6. Jumping spiders are very good teachers 🙂 Thanks for dropping by me nest and leaving a like.

  7. Chris, I appreciated so much your column “What I would most like to believe.” I had several close encounters with grey whales on a Lindblad trip to the Sea of Cortez. I was actually able to touch one when she came near our zodiac. She looked at me, and I knew I was meeting an intelligent being from another world. The message was a simple “Hello, I see you.”

  8. Science asks the question “What?” and eventually will come up with an answer. Religion asks the question “Why?” and is unlikely to ever reach THE ANSWER, only MY answer, YOUR answer.

  9. Wonderful article. there are lessons you can learn.

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