Best of Podcasts
Selected podcasts describing our Society and its philosophy
Many of us have experienced, and all of us will experience eventually, changes in our lives that overturn much of what we have known and counted on: we move to a new place, we lose a job, we retire from a vocation, we lose a beloved person. And so we must start over; we must remake our lives within new circumstances, find new reasons for and new ways of living. The dawn of a new year is an appropriate time to acknowledge that life is a series of endings, but also of beginnings, and to ask, where do we find the knowledge, strength, and help to start over?
What is “horizontal religion”? Well, it’s not religion that you practice while lying down, but otherwise you’ll have to come out to the Ethical Society this Sunday to find out. As part of the answer to this question, we’ll continue our 2007-08 theme of Ethical Communication. Over the last two Sundays, we’ve heard about communicating with our unconscious and communicating with the wider culture in which we live. This Sunday we’ll try to define ethical interpersonal communication and explore how we can practice our ethical values in our everyday interactions. Buddhism has a concept of “right speech”-what does Ethical Humanism have to say about how we should speak and listen to each other?
The founder of Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, was brought up in a Reform Jewish household, the son and grandson of rabbis who were influential in Germany and America. Although Felix eventually chose a different religious path, his roots had a strong influence on his ethics, his beliefs, and the practical organization of the movement he founded. This platform address will explore some of the history of Reform Judaism in the mid-to-late 1800s and its impact on early Ethical Culture, using as a source the study by Benny Kraut, From Reform Judaism to Ethical Culture: The Religious Evolution of Felix Adler (pre-reading not required!).
Kate Lovelady has been the Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis since 2005. Previously, she was Leader Intern at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, the Ethical Society of Austin, and the New York Society for Ethical Culture.
Felix Adler defined spirituality as awareness of our “infinite interrelatedness.” A few weeks ago, we explored our emotional and imaginative awareness of our interdependence with each other and the natural world. This Sunday, we’ll look at philosophical theories and beliefs. Ethical Culture’s assertion of universal human worth grew out of a long discussion in philosophy about human nature: How are we different from other animals? Are we more than material beings? On what can we ground our beliefs in worth and dignity and human rights? Adler’s struggle with these issues will lead us to perhaps the hardest question in ethics: What is our ethical responsibility to others? How do we live with that sense of responsibility and use it to inspire us?
“If men talked about only what they understood, the silence would become unbearable.” – Max Lerner ”
“Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A very free and idiosyncratic re-wording by Kate Lovelady, Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, of the Founding Address by Felix Adler, May 15, 1876, New York Society for Ethical Culture.
On May 15, 1876, in New York City, twenty-five-year-old Felix Adler delivered the founding address for Ethical Culture, laying out his argument and design for a new movement that would modernize religion, ethicize philosophy, and commit its members to affirming the infinite worth of every man, woman, and child.
“Diversity in the creed, unanimity in the deed!” Felix Adler, Founding Address
For the 130th anniversary, we will revisit the Founding Address, translating it where necessary into modern understanding, and see how well it has held up and what inspiration and direction it offers our still-moving movement. This will be the inauguration of an annual Founders Day, a day on which Ethical Societies across the country recall our roots, celebrate our individual Society’s history and people, and consider our legacy as the founders of the future.