This past weekend served as a personal and professional watermark. Our six year journey of launching a Rhetoric School for the Coram Deo Academy Dallas Campus culminated in a Commencement ceremony during which Malcolm Guite blessed our seniors as our inaugural Honored Speaker.. I will forever cherish all of his words that day, but especially these:

If I come from another world, then I have to say it’s also felt extraordinarily like a homecoming here. Because I have loved and recognized the mutual admiration and respect between student and staff, between teacher and learner.

There is more to say about Malcolm Guite’s visit to Coram Deo Academy and our home this weekend, but these photos capture some of the joy of watching my own children, our graduates, and many friends soak up time with him.

I do not think it will pass, but I am excited to see that Premier League clubs are voting next month to abolish VAR as early as next season. There is not any less controversy now than there was before VAR, and the impact it has had on the flow of the game is hard to overstate.

Today, it was finally announced that the new USL Super League team in Dallas is in fact in Dallas. Excited to see Dallas Trinity FC develop as a team in the months to come, and looking forward to seeing them at the Cotton Bowl this fall.

The new crest for Dallas Trinity FC, our new USL Super League team.

The iPad ad shows the true colors of much of the tech industry. These companies stopped making tools a long time ago. They now make Everything Machines that are designed to free us from the shackles of the analog world. Up next: freedom from the shackles of the physical world. This is Gnosticism revisited, not by ancient religious leaders, but by tech moguls who are driven by far more than profit.

I wonder how much of the push towards thinner and lighter is rooted in a desire to free the user from anything physical? Sure, these devices are (sometimes) easier to transport and (sometimes) easier to hold when they are thinner and lighter. But the ad suggests that thinness is about more than usability. The thinner the device, the less reliant we are on the physical realm.

I am writing this on an iPad. I am well aware of the cognitive dissodance involved here. But my recent flirting with the idea of only purchasing used tech devices did just gain an extra measure of resolve.

This ad reminds us that we have too weak a vision for the value of repair and restoration. As one whose views on automobiles and life have been shaped by decades of listening to Car Talk, and admires the folks behind The Repair Shop, the sharp contrast between this ad and the spirit of shows like these is palpable.

The ad works, in a world where advertising is successful in so much as it is viral.

What a perfect subtitle for this season of life: “unexpected demands on a man already tired.”

Lewis goes on to rightly argue, through Uncle Screwtape, that the root issue lies in us holding the utterly unrealistic expectation that there will be no “unexpected demands” in the first place.

Working towards maintaining Inbox Zero while using an “as minimal as possible” setup for Apple Mail that I recently stumbled upon. What you can’t see in the screenshot is the Grayscale mode that remains enabled for MacOS, since screenshots ignore Color Filters.

Minimal desktop with minimal Apple Mail client.

An Ash Wednesday 2024 sermon for my parish and letter for my school community, prepared as we embark on another Lenten season together. This one comes with a reminder that Lent is not the Thing itself.

A lesson for all those who ever have to save and submit things online: USMNT forward Duncan McGuire’s deal to play in England this spring is now gone, following an unsuccessful appeal by Blackburn.

Blackburn thought they had clicked “submit paperwork” on the English Football League’s transfer system before the deadline but had actually hit “save”.

The result was there in the end, and it was thrilling attacking soccer as promised. Three goals within ten minutes of the second half kickoff. What a dream first season under Ange.

Paideia for Preachers—a new regular column I am writing for the Covenant blog of The Living Church—debuts today. If you find yourself teaching or preaching in any number of contexts, these regular glimpses into the Art of Rhetoric from ages past might help.

This is the final exam for one of the Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr’s courses at Morehouse College. I am encouraged by how similar it looks to the sort of exams our Rhetoric School students take, but discouraged by how it differs from our nation’s most common forms of assessment at similar levels.

We did not stop to ask why; we have been had.

When you used to store your family photos in physical albums, and then you were convinced to store them all on a hard drive, and then you were convinced by a large for-profit company to store them in the cloud for free, until the cloud became the only place your photos were stored, and the company decided to charge a monthly fee in order for you to continue to store all of your photos online, you have been had.

When you cannot imagine leaving home for an errand, a day of work, or a vacation without a device that did not exist throughout all of human history until the twenty-ninth of June ano Domini 2007, you have been had.

When large for-profit companies spend significant marketing money to convince you to adopt their flagship product for free, you should stop to ask why.

When a social media app invites you to choose who to follow—giving you the semblance of choice and control over the information you ingest daily—and then decides to decide themselves which of those posts you will see—and when—while also showing you content from people and companies you have not followed, you should stop to ask why.

The first step is recognizing that you have been had. The next step is using that recognition as motivation to more quickly stop to ask why the next time you see something shiny in the world of technology.

It turns out this isn’t the first time that Ange’s first season at a new club has resulted in a host of hamstring injuries. I guess it makes sense that high-line front-footed Angeball takes some getting used to!

Large Language Models and the Art of Rhetoric

Many people are using large language models to write for them because they are acutely aware of their own deficiency in the art of rhetoric. But here is the rub: relying on these tools because you are already deficient in the art of rhetoric only makes you increasingly so.

Multiply this out on a societal scale, and the outlook becomes even more bleak. Imagine communities of people who already have trouble thinking and communicating clearly about things that matter choosing to outsource their thinking and communication to a tool that can’t think. It does not take much of a leap to see why this is a dangerously opposite direction from where we ought to be headed.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, the only remedy might be a form of resistance: a counter-community that chooses to reject the tool altogether out of principle, and that seeks to encourage others to do the same.

Count me in.

This is the face of a dog who loves his new family, but is still learning that when a member of that family leaves, they will come back eventually.

We have also settled on a name for our sweet Blue Heeler mix: Bandit Dunny Jordan. A nod to our family’s elementary sense of humor and our love for Bluey.

Baptized in the Jordan River

You don’t have to travel across the world
to be baptized in the Jordan River;
only through the space time continuum.

By the power of the Spirit of God
The still clear bowl of the modern font
Becomes the flow of that ancient water;
Cleansing you as it was itself once cleansed
by him who came after and yet before.

“This is my beloved,” the voice beckons,
Echoing from those first century shores,
And into our very own, and beyond.

Calling out to the called out ones, it rings
Truer than our own truths we held so dear
Before we, too, were brought through that River.

Currently reading: Life Is a Miracle by Wendell Berry 📚

A blessed Feast of the Epiphany!

The landscape of the Lower Falls at McKinney Falls State Park “looks like something out of Star Wars,” according to our kids. They aren’t wrong.