The freedom to be tomorrow what we are not today: “The newer testament—the Gospel according to this moment”—Becoming “Free Spirits” and “Archeologists of Morning”

Back in July 2016 I gave a talk at the “Sea of Faith” Annual Conference in which I tried to explore just what it is that I'm trying to do week by week, not only for members of the Cambridge Unitarian Church where I am the minister but also for regular readers of this blog. It is simply to help people become free spirits and archeologists of morning. Properly to what on earth that means you'll have to read what I wrote but here's the abstract I wrote at the time:


In this essay I ask whether “Religion—Where Next?” (the Sea of Faith conference theme) was the right question to pose and that perhaps a better one might be “Religion—Where Right Now?” I begin by suggesting that, rather than overcoming our past religion/s in a strong fashion (replacing it/them with new strong religious ideas and practices), we might do better to employ Gianni Vattimo’s “weak thought” (il pensiero debole) which uses more subtle and creative ways consciously to surpass, twist, and reinterpret our inherited religion/s. I then turn to who is to do this kind of “weak thinking” and argue that the primary task we face is not to create any kind of new religion but to create and form new, liberal religious subjects. I suggest that one way this task can be achieved is by combining the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s therapeutic idea of how a “free-spirit” is made with the poet Charles Olson’s self-description as “Archeologist of Morning.” When combined I suggest that they might help free some men and women to be more fully alive, awake and present in this world than they might otherwise be and so become people “without a position”, ever open to what Henry David Thoreau calls the “newer testament — the Gospel according to this moment”.

Anyway, since its subject matter is so central to what I'm trying to do it seemed appropriate to tidy up the text, format it so it can be printed up as a booklet and to make the pdf file available to one and all. If you would like to read a copy just click on the following link to download it.