Posts by Daniel Braga-Lawlor

Keep the Resilience

I write this four days after the March for Science, and three days after Yameen Rasheed, a human rights focused secular blogger in the Maldives, was murdered.

What to make of all this.

I happily participated in the March for Science with my local Sunday Assembly community, and was heartened to see several, well worn, yellow "Standing on the Side of Love" t-shirts throughout the crowd. The East Bay Atheists, the Kol Hadash Humanistic Jewish Community, the Center for Inquiry, and the Bay Area Humanists were also proud and present, as was a big contingent from San Francisco's Grace Cathedral - with big "Grace for All" signs.

While "listening" to speakers before the March (Can you ever really hear them?), one of our Sunday Assembly members recounted a story from the novel Catch 22- a bit macabre - involving the mix up of a catheter and an IV. "It's crazy!" he recounted, "and when I see what's going on, I just want to shout "This is crazy!" Read more about Keep the Resilience »

Not Just Mourners

Last summer, there was terrible violence in South Carolina. 9 individuals, 9 black Americans, were shot dead by a deranged terrorist in their church. There was outcry. Preachers and leaders promised change - or, at least, held up the communities of concern that formed out of pain.

Now, a year later, across the country there are communities of concern that have gathered in response to pain. This time, 49 individuals, LGBT Americans, many Latino, were shot dead by a deranged terrorist in an LGBT Club. 49 murdered, 53 wounded. 

Just a few days ago, here in Oakland, a young girl was shot dead after leaving a funeral. 

What do we do in response to these murders? What does our movement, religious and secular, do in response?

Some people, when pain happens, need to be alone, or with one person. 

When I heard the news, I craved community. I wanted to be around others, I wanted to see and contribute and be with other people trying to do something- even if initially it was only a witness.  Read more about Not Just Mourners »

Humanists Doing Good

By Daniel Braga-Lawlor 

Sunday Assembly is a negotiated community, a network of secular congregations across the world, primarily in Western Europe, North America, South Africa, and Australia. The dominant, though occasionally debated, ethos in Sunday Assembly is faith-neutral secularism ("Let's celebrate the one life we have! We don't do deity, but we won't tell you you're wrong if you do!"). 

Sunday Assemblies organize a monthly celebration, have no official text, no clergy (we rotate hosts for our Sunday celebrations), and each community has great latitude in selecting its speakers, songs and readings, as well as defining the local service work. The songs we sing are not hymns, but come from across pop music - in Northern California, we've sung "Superstition," by Stevie Wonder, "Lean On Me," by Bill Whithers, "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell, "Time after Time," by Cyndi Lauper, and many others. We operate from the premise that knowledge from across the fields (arts, sciences, economics, ethics) offers insights, and that all people, as believers and non- believers alike, matter. Read more about Humanists Doing Good »