Ahmed Mohamed, and The Need For A New Narrative

Photo courtesy of Anil Dash

  Ahmed Mohamed, a high school student in Irving, Texas, had a rude awakening this past week when he brought a homemade clock to school. Much has already been written about Ahmed’s experience, as he appeared on Good Morning America, had a shout out from Mark Zuckerberg, and President Obama himself.One of his teachers thought the clock looked like a bomb, and alerted authorities. Ahmed was escorted out of class, handcuffed, and interrogated. He was not even allowed to call his p … [Read more...]

With the Mormon Church’s Backlash Against Boy Scouts, Gay Leaders Are Merely Scapegoats


Young men in the Mormon faith are almost guaranteed to be automatically enrolled with the Boy Scouts of America. I spent the majority of my teenage life attending BSA camp-outs, rafting down rivers, and camping out in the middle of no-man’s land. The BSA has always stood for some perceived transition into manhood by many members—learning how to start a fire, properly use an ax, and how to tie one-thousand-and-one-knots.However, last month the BSA announced a policy change that would allow gay … [Read more...]

The Hidden Telos of Marriage

As I made my way through the 100+ page ruling of the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, I was puzzled by a subtle discursive difference between the majority and dissenting opinions. I couldn’t put my finger on it until the word leapt out from page 5 of Justice Roberts’ dissenting opinion: “The premises supporting this concept of marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations betw … [Read more...]

Resolutions and Desires

I’m terrible at New Year’s resolutions. I’ve read all read the strategies for proper goal-setting—manageable, concrete tasks, tell a buddy, be accountable, etc., etc. But a missing ingredient I think I’m just beginning to understand is the significance of desire (and not just the cliché “you have to want it for yourself” kind of advice).I think many failed resolutions result not simply from insufficient willpower or poor strategizing, but from not being honest with myself about what the resol … [Read more...]

The Restoration and War

A stray M16 on my pulpit in Shukvani, Afghanistan

Written on Memorial Day, 2014  This is my first Memorial Day home after combat.  In Afghanistan, I prayed over the injured, the dying, and the dead—and I suppose it's fitting to pray for all of them again, today.  I'm not as haunted by the dead as I am by these words, which I often heard when a casualty came in and a Marine or Sailor would respond, "Don't worry, Chaps: it's only an Afghan."  I suppose the moral wounds are greater than the physical. As a mili … [Read more...]

There Will Be Blood

On Saturday President Obama took to the podium in the Rose Garden and announced that he had decided that in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, resulting in well over a thousand casualties including hundreds of children, he believed that the United States “should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”  Acknowledging paralysis at the level of the United Nations Security Council and a lack of will even among our closest allies, he assert … [Read more...]

A Plea for Identity on the Internet

I recently watched a preview for The Fifth Estate, the new film about WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.  At one point in the trailer, which seems to me to lean toward an image of a crusader for democracy and free speech, Benedict Cumberbatch earnestly portrays Assange as telling a hushed crowd, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. But if you give him a mask, he WILL tell you the truth.”I don’t buy it.Much as I have studied, discussed, and analyzed the questions surrou … [Read more...]

The Ethics of Bad Friends and Good Art


"We can keep being friends, just so long as you know you're a bad one!"What a line. Hannah Horvath, everyone's favorite narcissist, coked out of her mind and newly freed of her inhibitions, captured the entire ethos of the show Girls, in 15 words.The scene came back to me when I saw yesterday's new trailer for the next season of the show. It looks fabulous. Hannah's cut her hair! Jessa's reappeared from Peru/Bali/the South Bronx! The inevitable manslaughter-suicide of Ray and Shoshanna … [Read more...]