Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Secular Life Will Look Like

1/28/2010—Last night I was happy to miss the sell-out on healthcare, otherwise known as the State of the Union Address (Someone should tell the Democrats to push through the Senate bill in the House where you only need 50% plus one). Instead, I attended the first lecture of the Allegheny YMCA Lecture Series in the YMCA on the Northside.

The series has been underwritten by the Pittsburgh Steelers, among others. We are hoping to do 6 lectures a year, along the lines of the 92nd street YMCA series in NYC.

Bill Pricener, the Director, was the MC and Brian O’Neill of the Post-Gazette spoke on his new book, The Paris of Appalachia, which is about Pittsburgh. About 60 people showed up and it was an experience in community building.

I have been wondering what secular life will offer to replace religious life. It is true that the YMCA is a religious organization, but their slogan—body, mind, spirit—is one that any secularist could embrace. We are going to need new social forms instead of the churches. There used to be more such social groups. America has become more individualistic over the years and that is a trend that may hamstring secularism if social solidarity is not instilled in other ways.


  1. I would not call the State of the Union address a "sellout" of health care. The whole situation is the result of a successful strategy by the Democratic PArty and the failure of leadership of same. The party, in it's desire to gain seats, endorsed "moderate" Democratic candidates who, once they got to Congress, refused to fall into lockstep with the party agenda. My opinion is that neither Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi are strong leaders in their respective chambers. Perhaps after having read Robert Caro's series of books on LBJ, I'm wishing that he was back. Strange world, isn't it?
    Bob Sebastian

  2. Nice to hear that the 92nd Street Y (where I am PR director) is a model for other centers. Just thought I'd let you know that the "92nd Street Y" is actually not a YMCA -- we are a Jewish community and cultural center -- a YM/YWHA (as in Young Men's Hebrew Association) -- that is open and welcoming to all. Good luck with your series!