The University of California at Berkeley, the cradle of the free speech movement, just last week cancelled yet another conservative speaker. The college’s Young Republicans had invited Ann Coulter to speak on April 27. Campus officials cited “security concerns” as their reason for cancelling Coulter’s speech, but Coulter says it was all they had left after “imposing ridiculous demands” that hadn’t scared her away.

They demanded she speak off-campus; she acceded. They demanded she speak during the day when students are in class; she acceded. How mad are Berkeley officials that even though they cancelled her, she plans to speak on April 27 at Berkeley anyway? It’s almost like she has courage and a backbone.

Clearly, UC-Berkeley officials have neither, and this is not news. When the Young Republicans invited former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulis to speak in February, campus officials cancelled his speech a few hours before it was to start, also due to “security concerns.” They then hid behind their oak-paneled desks while violent protesters tore down metal barriers, broke windows, set fires, hurled rocks at police, attacked bystanders, and damaged a construction site.

Police were reportedly told to stand down and take no action against the violence. An attorney for the union representing UC-Berkeley police said, “When these rioters saw that there was no action taken against them, it emboldened them into acting more aggressively.” Indeed. When protesters were done demolishing the campus—to the tune of $100,000—they moved on to smash windows of local businesses.



photo credit: jev55 History via photopin (license)

I’m not a devotée of the “many paths, one God” philosophy because I know God cares how we live our lives. Part of discipleship is to discern how he wants us to live. The other part is deciding how much effort to make pleasing him. That being said, I do think God provides many tools for us to find it.

We all need something. Some people need glasses, some hearing aids, some a cane, some a prosthesis, some insulin, some anti-depressants, etc. In every case, the tool (or aid) is meant to return us to as optimal a level of health as possible. All tools have value if they improve your quality of life, but not all tools will speak to you. A pair of glasses would mean nothing to someone with 20/20 vision, and why take insulin if your pancreas is humming merrily along? Continue reading “NO TRUTH CONFLICTS WITH OTHER TRUTH”


photo credit: Elena Penkova Pink glasses via photopin (license)

For once, I’ve decided to view my unfolding leg of travel through rose-colored glasses.

  • I woke up spontaneously at 4:13am instead of the agreed upon 4:45am (agreed upon with my alarm), but it took me half an hour longer to get ready than I thought it would. Less stress at 5am is always a good thing.
  • I thought I had forgotten my phone in my business partner’s car and was going to call him to bring it back…but…(note to self: memorize important people’s cell phone numbers). I panicked for only a couple of seconds before I found my phone in my briefcase. And right on top, too!
  • I babbled incoherently to the ticket agent about the time I had forgotten my ID at the airport (see EPIC FAIL = TSA PAT DOWN, THOROUGH TYPE), and she was only alarmed for about five seconds before I produced my drivers license. She threw me a bone and said it was “early.” (It’s always “early” for me, if you get my drift.)
  • Tomorrow is the day I’ve committed to pulling in the carbohydrate reins (notice no one ever says they’re starting to eat healthier today), but I bought only two croissants at the airport bakery.
  • When I knocked one of the croissants off the counter, the very accommodating (accommodating not reaccommodating) woman behind the counter got me a new one. She said, “We won’t sell that one now,” referring to the one on the floor. Even though I deprived the bakery of some 2 1/2 cents, she was gracious enough to laugh when I said, “I hope you have a dog.”
  • I was pleasantly surprised when I saw TSA pre-check on my boarding pass (the coveted security line where you don’t have to remove shoes or laptop and where, if there should happen to be a terrorist, the screening is woefully inadequate.)



Photo by Donna Voss

If you’ve never been to a swanky, super fabulous (code for very, very gay) neighborhood mixer in Palm Springs, you haven’t lived. Allow me to share the experience.

The first thing I noticed is the open (copiously flowing) bars at either end of the million dollar patio. (In my world, there are only jokes about not having an open bar. Actually, that’s my old world. In my world today, open bar refers to ballet, a ranch or cow roping.) The next thing I noticed was the parade of highly-stylized, fastidiously-groomed, very good-looking men in a bunch of matchy matchy outfits. Then there were the older straight women with scary dark, leathery skin from having spent 50 years beside a pool. You know, the kind of women who apparently find that kind of thing attractive and wear skimpy clothes in their seventies. Then I noticed the straight women who were on their way to scary dark, leathery skin but hadn’t yet rounded third, one of whom was drunk enough to ask if my “very, very gay” (as he refers to himself) business partner and I were “together.” I said yes because I like messing with drunk people. My business partner got as far away from her as he could. Continue reading “IS YOUR LIFE JUST ONE BIG PARTY? NO, IT’S A LOT OF LITTLE PARTIES.”


photo credit: Bernie Goldbach Perfecting chopsticks via photopin (license)

Tell the truth. You’re just as insecure as I am. I am so freakishly self-confident most of the time that when I’m insecure, it’s freakishly debilitating. Lately, I have wanted someone somewhere to be my reality check: am I on track? is this the best I can do? is that a good topic to write about? are those the best colors for a book jacket? who do I think I am putting my ideas out into the public arena? do I look fat in these jeans?

I have quite a few reality checks in my inner circle; the problem is that they’re all checking/affirming a different reality. It’s quasi-pathetic that I need to find someone I respect who tells me enough of what I already know is true (I do look fat in these jeans) that I’m willing to trust them on everything else. I just want someone to spoon-feed it to me, where I can simply coast on his or her opinion of me. As you can imagine, that’s not working out so well. Continue reading “PRAYER IS LIKE CHOPSTICKS”


photo credit: danielfoster437 Disagreement via photopin (license)

I’m sorry, but we don’t. We think we want this utopia where the lion shall lie down with lamb and we all believe and worship the same way, but that would be awful. The number one killer of Christlike love is pride, and we all need a mighty check on our pride. It’s human nature to rationalize everything we believe, say and do as correct. It’s not a flaw. It’s the way we’re made so I assume it has some survival advantage. Meanwhile, it can quickly get out of hand.

It’s very similar to a man or woman who has no intimates to put him or her in his or her place. Unless someone feeds back to you that you’re being selfish, unkind, greedy or egotistical, you go on blissfully unaware that you are being selfish, unkind, greedy or egotistical. That might sound like a good thing (the blissful ignorance part), but it is soul-killing. A) You by definition have no quality relationships if no one ever checks you; B) You are wasting a good mortality for nothing if you don’t use it fully (and the only thing we take with us when we go is who we’ve become); and C) Nothing, but I like the symmetry of A, B and C. Continue reading “WE DON’T WANT EVERYBODY TO BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE”


photo credit: Luis De Anda C. The American Dream via photopin (license)

In case you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump is president. In other words, pigs can fly. The unthinkable is suddenly thinkable, and word to the wise, it’s not an isolated incident. The college kids who shut down Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley and Charles Murray at Middlebury College seem to have missed the memo. The college students who protested Laura Kipnis at Wellesley—triggering a Title IX investigation into the controversial feminist—Charles Murray at Notre Dame, and Charles Murray at Villanova are also behind the curve. It’s so easy to wield the moral high ground when you have it (if moral high ground means unrighteous power), but today’s college students are blissfully unaware that, sooner or later, the moral high ground changes hands.

We’re so busy sheltering and coddling today’s college students that they seem completely unaware of something called “reality.” Reality by any other name is “what goes up must come down.” Rome fell, GM and Chrysler weren’t too big to fail, Brad and Angelina divorced. Change can happen. Change does happen. Change will happen. Continue reading “WITHOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH, DO THE OTHER FREEDOMS MATTER?”


photo credit: mark6mauno Deucez via photopin (license)

You know how they say you can always find someone better off than you and someone worse off than you? The same is true of religion. You can always find someone living their faith more diligently than you and someone less diligently than you. The trick is to realize that because then you cease comparing yourself to other people (theoretically). We’re all somewhere on that continuum and probably move up and down depending on the day. (As an aside, I think we can be pretty sure that at least some of the people who live their religion more diligently than we do are miserable doing it, i.e., doing it for show. And now I’ll have to repent of that very unchristian thought. But it’s still true.)

So A) we’re lost in the pack of religion runners, but it doesn’t really matter; we’re all going to cross the finish line sooner or later, one way or another. Now B) is worth pondering. Whenever you’re feeling grumpy because you choose to watch tv shows that don’t technically qualify as making your home a temple; or you don’t sacrifice your lifelong goal of becoming an Olympic gymnast because the meet is on Sunday; or you sleep in instead of going to a church function, just remember, you’re still living your religion more diligently than someone. Now, this isn’t a way to excuse laziness, it’s merely an acknowledgement that we are all at different places in our gospel knowledge and we need to walk before we can run.

Back to living your religion more diligently than someone else even though you don’t live it half as diligently as the shiny people next door. If you feel this grumpy around the family that glows with gospel light, imagine how grumpy are the people who don’t live their religion half as diligently as you do. If Shiny Family was the only example available, it would be too high a bar to meet and the less than diligent would give up. By you striking a more middle of the road path, you make a bridge between not diligent and blindingly diligent. Someone who’s still barely walking in the gospel can see in your example that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It might be nice to hit the high notes all the time, but few of us do.

Let the Shiny Family shine if that’s their thing. You do your thing  as diligently as you can. Someone out there is more likely to keep trying because your level of diligence is realistic for him or her.

No slacking! But no guilt either.



Are you up on your New Orleans happenings? Mayor Mitch Landrieu has prevailed in the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and will begin removing the statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.T.G. Beauregard, all heroes of the Confederacy. In an interview with NPR, Landrieu linked removal of the monuments to the city’s efforts to rebuild after Katrina.

And so the thought of the people of the city – and I share this thought – is that as we rebuild the city of New Orleans, we ought to rebuild it in a way that reflects our whole history, that’s inviting and that it’s open and not one that continues to cast shadows over a group of people where the message is still sent that, look, we didn’t even think that you were fully formed human persons and we think that the Confederacy was the right way to govern America. Those messages were wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

The same thing is happening and has been happening all over the country.  Continue reading “SAY GOODBYE TO THE ROBERT E. LEE MONUMENT IN NEW ORLEANS”


photo credit: m01229 Wrapped Christmas Presents via photopin (license)

Good news! Sanctuary cities are better than Christmas morning! Who knew? Dr. Tom Wong—Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California San Diego—knew. The Center for American Progress recently published his study with the stunning conclusion that:

The data are clear: Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties—from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment.

Semi-expert that I am now on sanctuary cities (shameless plug alert: Deep Dive: Sanctuary Cities, Amazon, $2.99, you should check it out), I figured I better add such felicitous information to my store of knowledge. Having learned the very hard way to do all my own fact-checking, I began what was to quickly become an epic takedown of this bogus (did I really just say that?) study. Continue reading “NO! PROPAGANDA ABOUT SANCTUARY CITIES? NOT POSSIBLE!”