I’m Doug Muder. I like to write about the stuff people argue over — mostly politics and religion — but I try to add light to the discussion rather than heat. I do my best to bridge differences in worldview, and I have a (probably irrational) faith that if you say things clearly, simply, and reasonably enough, people may not agree, but they can at least understand where you’re coming from.
All my major pieces show up here eventually, and this web site is the best place to get the full picture of my interests. If you want to see my stuff as fast as possible, though, there are some other places you should look:
The Weekly Sift: This is my weekly political/journalism blog. It’s updated every Monday afternoon with all the stuff I’ve learned in the previous week by cruising the other political blogs. I keep each weekly entry down close to 3000 words, which is why I bill the Sift as the political blog for people who don’t have time for political blogs.
Free and Responsible Search: This is my religion/philosophy blog. I’m a Unitarian Universalist, and the name comes from the Fourth Principle of Unitarian Universalism: a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Historically, Unitarian Universalism comes out of the Christian tradition, but has evolved in a humanistic direction and has minimal amounts of dogma. So I hope that most of what I write here will be of interest to people of any faith or none, if they’re trying to figure out what life is about and live well.
My author page at UU World. I write a bimonthly column for the web site of UU World, the flagship magazine of Unitarian Universalism. I also occasionally do book reviews or longer articles for their print magazine. The article that got me the most attention there (so far) was Not My Father’s Religion: Unitarian Universalism and the Working Class.
I also occasionally post as Pericles on Daily Kos. (I used to do that more often before I started the Weekly Sift.) Any journalism too long for the Sift winds up on my Open Source Journalism blog. Mainly, that’s where I cover the New Hampshire primary campaign, which happens right outside my window.
Talks and sermons. I’m not a minister, but recently I’ve been giving two or three sermons a year in a variety of places. I find I enjoy it and would like to do more of it. (If you came to this page wondering whether your church or group should ask me to come speak — you definitely should.) My general take on UU discussions is that we do too much critique of other religions and don’t spend enough time putting forward a positive message. So that’s what I try to specialize in: positive message.
Political journalism and commentary. I got started blogging because after I moved to New Hampshire it was effortless to see presidential candidates in small-group settings. So I thought I’d share the experience with friends; then I started posting my accounts to the web; and now I’m a blogger. This section also includes commentary on important legal decisions and discussions of how to frame a progressive point of view.
Essays. Subjects vary from abstract religion/philosophy to everyday-life issues like deciding whether to have children.
Course notes and study guides. My wife Deb and I have led several discussion classes at our church. This section includes outlines of some of the books that get discussed, like Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People or Bertrand Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness.
Fiction. I write short stories to try out ideas. Not that I’ve written many lately, but I hope to get back to it. One of my characters, Mike DeSalvo, has turned into a fictional alter ego, and I never know when a new Mike story is going to pop out. I’ve also written, fables, fairy tales, and an occasional poem. And then there’s my half-finished Superman novel, which I actually do know the end of.