My thoughts on what we need to do regarding Ukraine:
As Vladimir Putin continues his best attempt to impersonate a schoolyard bully albeit with unimaginably horrible weapons at his disposal, the reason for staying back and watching is clear enough. Clear, but wrong. The time has come: we cannot be spectators or a mere supply chain: we must use the weight of NATO to stop by force the humanitarian disaster that is Russia’s unnecessary war.
An Ash Wednesday reflection in the shadow of war:
It’s 3 a.m. and I’m on Twitter impatiently refreshing, looking for news from Ukraine. I check over on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s account, too, looking for signs he’s still alive and Russia hasn’t managed to find him yet. Probably a lot of you reading this are doing the same. Death looms large this Ash Wednesday, situated amidst the first global-level conflict of the Internet era.
I’m a fan of the filibuster. Here are my thoughts on it:
Joe Manchin and Krystin Sinema are due a heap of gratitude by all of us. Personally, I prefer a government that is stable and seeks to represent the whole of the country and not a specific subset and it is those two, and not figures I’d probably have been more inclined to elect, that are holding to the esoteric parliamentary rule — the filibuster — that offers us such stability.
Merry Christmas! I love the 12 Days of Christmas as those who follow this blog know well. And, as has become my tradition, I have a new little devotional booklet to share with you in case you’d like to observe those wonderful days between Christmas and Epiphany with me:
During Advent, we all excitedly look towards celebrating Jesus’s birth. However, suddenly it is December 26 and the world resets to its ordinary preoccupations. That’s what is wonderful about observing the Twelve Days of Christmas: it helps us keep reflecting on God’s grace and the miracle of Christmas after the busyness of Christmas Day is past. Tim Butler has prepared a free devotional booklet for these next twelve days.
You can download Because of Christmas for free to begin this year’s devotional journey. There’s a companion Facebook Event where you can leave comments and I’ll be posting some additional reflections.
You can also purchase print or Kindle copies at Amazon (Affiliate Link) if you’d like. I mostly put it on Amazon to reach people who don’t know me and thus might stumble across it there while looking for something to celebrate Christmas with, but the link is there if you want it in those formats.
The phrase kept showing up in my social media feed, probably as it has for you. I’ve been busy, so I kept putting off finding out the reason for the latest social media fad, but finally bit: just who is “Brandon” and why is everyone cheering him on? It seemed like everyone was having lighthearted fun… at first.
tl;dr: The phrase is shorthand for “f—- Joe Biden.” And that seems like a problematic statement coming from believers.
I might be in the minority, but I actually like the Apple Touch Bar:
The way we use the alphanumeric and function keys on a keyboard are quite different. We pound letter and number keys repeatedly by feel when touch typing, so tactility is paramount. The butterfly keyboard failed the “Design is how it works” test, trading an appearance problem for a how-it-works problem.
The Touch Bar isn’t just for looks; it also solves a how-it-works problem in the more cryptic regions of a keyboard. The “F8” label tells me nothing about what it does, say, in Adobe Photoshop.
Diverting F-keys to be “multimedia keys” has been a decent solution for most users, but limits the utility of a significant part of a laptop’s real estate. While in Word, one sixth of the control area of my computer is devoted to functions like “play” and “pause” rather than “bold” and “italic.”
Read my whole Touch Bar eulogy and case for a third edition of the same here.
It's Our Twentieth Anniversary of Exploring Ideas, Culture and Technology
Times certainly do change, whether time feels like it is going quickly or slowly. Twenty years ago today, Open for Business went live. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago. It’s been an interesting and wonderful journey.
OFB at 20 years old. I can’t get my head quite around it. Read on for some reminiscence about the magazine and its various longtime contributors.
My latest musings on tech and mask, all in one:
Over the last week, virtually everything that could go wrong with the technology I depend on for work has gone wrong, as if it has actively turned against me. Having spent a fair number of years wrangling information technology, one thing has always provided a path to survival in those times: redundancy. Redundancy masks problems in the best of ways, much like the physical masks that are such a lightning rod in our culture today.
I can’t believe it was 10 years ago today I started my position teaching at Lindenwood. I truly loved my time teaching in the classroom there; I always miss it this time of year. I’m thankful to still be in touch with many of you who were my students and colleagues — friends — those five years were a treasure! I’m excited for what’s next with Little Hills Church, which is still very much intertwined with that part of St. Charles, which God always seems to lead me back to in ministry.
I’m very concerned about so-called “religious exemptions” to the COVID vaccines. Quite frankly, no one has shown me a legitimate Scriptural basis. In this piece I tackle the subject and ask pastors to consider placing commitment to Biblical truth over what will appeal in the moment to some potential congregants:
While it is a minority of churches thus far, in some cases, it has taken the appearance of a “religious exemption mill.” Some churches promise anyone who attends access to such paperwork, despite having no preexisting teaching opposed to vaccines.
Cynically, I’ll confess some of this smells of an attempt at free publicity for churches, while other examples I’ve read seem more like pastors fearfully bending to avoid conflicting with members’ passionate political (not religious) beliefs. But, to cavalierly stamp “this is what we believe” on an issue for publicity or appeasement threatens all of us who advocate for genuine religious liberty.