The freedom to be tomorrow what we are not today—becoming Free Spirits and Archeologists of Morning

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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 archaeologists of morning. However, to know what on earth that means you'll have to read what I wrote.

Since it is so central to what it is I'm trying to do it seemed appropriate to revise the text and record it. If you would like to read this just click on the following link to go to the appropriate page on this blog:


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”.