I'm a citizen of Lexington, Kentucky, the United States, the world, and the digital sphere. Politically, I care about equality (and changing structures to support it), elections (that is, making them more fair and representative), and electronics (or, rather, their impact on society).

I am a believing agnostic in Community of Christ with a (mostly) cherished past as a (mostly) literalist Mormon.

You can subscribe to this content through this RSS feed or this Mastodon account.

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I have lots of concerns about LLM training, but I think it’s better to think of the issue in terms of digital labor, not copyright. My blog is licensed for reuse, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less exploitative for someone to scrape it all to develop software that will make them rich off my work.

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I didn’t learn to swear until I was in my 30s, so I have a lingering suspicion that I wind up sounding like Captain Kirk in Star Trek IV.

🔗 linkblog: mes pensées sur 'La première église urbaine de Suisse romande ouvre ses portes à Lausanne - rts.ch - Vaud'

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De quoi s’inspirer pour imaginer de nouveaux avenirs chrétiens. lien pour “La première “église urbaine” de Suisse romande ouvre ses portes à Lausanne - rts.ch - Vaud”

another upcoming sermon for Toronto Congregation of Community of Christ

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Last July, I gave my first sermon for a Community of Christ congregation, preaching on the Parable of the Samaritan. I guess I didn’t do too badly, because their pastor reached out in December to ask me to give another sermon this month. On January 21st, I’ll be preaching on Matthew 4:1-11, covering the Temptation of Jesus. This has been a fun passage to revisit and see with new eyes. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to say just yet, but I’ve got plenty of notes and ideas and am looking forward to nailing things down over the next week and a half.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Welcome to the public domain, Mickey Mouse - The Verge'

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Happy Public Domain day! link to “Welcome to the public domain, Mickey Mouse - The Verge”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Jesus for the Non-Religious, by John Shelby Spong

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I have a lot of small irritations with this book: I feel like Spong takes too long deconstructing before reconstructing (though that may reflect my own personal stage of faith), like his arguments are sometimes sloppy, and like he can be awkward (but clearly sincere) to modern eyes in his commitment to non-discrimination. He also seems more sure than I am that this is the obvious and only way to read Jesus; I agree with his reading, but I’m not sure it’s as straightforward as he makes it.

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I don’t understand why Buc-ee’s has such a following. Every time I enter one, I feel like I’ve entered my personal hell.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '‘God Is Under the Rubble in Gaza’: Bethlehem’s Subdued Christmas - The New York Times'

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Again, what’s going on isn’t bad because it happens to touch on things significant to Christians, and it’s bad when Christians only care about Palestine and Israel because it fits with their religious worldview. Yet, it would be a missed opportunity to talk about Bethlehem this Christmas season without asking about the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza, and how to make a better world for everyone there. link to “‘God Is Under the Rubble in Gaza’: Bethlehem’s Subdued Christmas - The New York Times”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Substack says it will not remove or demonetize Nazi content - The Verge'

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There are legitimately difficult content moderation decisions, but this is not one of them. Shame on Substack for this approach. link to “Substack says it will not remove or demonetize Nazi content - The Verge”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'With war raging in Gaza, Christmas in Bethlehem has been canceled : NPR'

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As I’ve written before, I’m skeptical when Christians see the Middle East uniquely through the particularities of our beliefs and tradition—there’s so many ways that can (and does) go wrong. Yet, if we’re going to sing and preach about Bethlehem this year, we ought to use modern Bethlehem to get us thinking about a better world for the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza. link to “With war raging in Gaza, Christmas in Bethlehem has been canceled : NPR”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Adam Mosseri spells out Threads’ plans for the fediverse - The Verge'

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I think folks are right to distrust Meta, but Threads with ActivityPub seems to me to be clearly better than Threads without. link to “Adam Mosseri spells out Threads’ plans for the fediverse - The Verge”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Kingdom of God is Within You, by Leo Tolstoy

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This book took a while to finally get through. After two failed attempts at an ebook, I finally succeeded thanks to a LibriVox audiobook! I have mixed feelings about the book, though I ultimately liked it. Tolstoy’s ideas are radical, and though I aspire to a certain radicalism in my faith and politics, that is certainly not my nature, so I brought some resistance with me into the text. Even accounting for that, though, I don’t think Tolstoy’s argument is as self-evident or well reasoned as he thinks it is.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on ''Shameless': Reporters Without Borders rebukes X for claiming to support it : NPR'

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Kind of hilarious, actually, but in the depressing way that most Twitter news is these days. link to “‘Shameless’: Reporters Without Borders rebukes X for claiming to support it : NPR”

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I was invited this week to give a sermon in January for an online congregation from Toronto. Last time I preached there, I referenced a story from Astro City and got told in a YouTube comment that mixing comics and the Bible was bad taste. Tempted to double down in January, but that would be petty.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Ranked choice voting: what it is and where it might be next : NPR'

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I wasn’t aware of these critiques of ranked-choice voting. The right-wing hand-wringing about it is obviously ridiculous, and I still believe more RCV is the way to go, but I appreciate more nuance in the conversation. link to “Ranked choice voting: what it is and where it might be next : NPR”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Community Notes Is Great Until It Challenges Elon, And Then It’s Being ‘Manipulated’ By State Actors | Techdirt'

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Is this the same feature Elon says will be sufficient for keeping Alex Jones in check? link to “Community Notes Is Great Until It Challenges Elon, And Then It’s Being ‘Manipulated’ By State Actors | Techdirt”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Elon Musk unbans conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from X - The Verge'

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This… this is even worse than just giving him an account back. Ugh. link to “Elon Musk unbans conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from X - The Verge”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Apple’s Nonsensical Attack On Beeper For Making Apple’s Own Users Safer | Techdirt'

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Good observations by Masnick here. link to “Apple’s Nonsensical Attack On Beeper For Making Apple’s Own Users Safer | Techdirt”

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Kiddo’s grade is learning about how “other countries celebrate the holidays,” but I’m afraid the result will be reinforcing US Christian supremacy. Framing Hanukkah as Israeli suggests that it is foreign to the US, no? I also worry that there will be a class assigned to do Kwanzaa “from Africa.”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Elon Musk restores X account of Alex Jones : NPR'

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Musk keeps digging his hole deeper and deeper. link to “Elon Musk restores X account of Alex Jones : NPR”

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Remembering my sister’s BYU roommate who called ketchup and mustard “toppings” because she was deeply uncomfortable pronouncing the first two syllables of the word “condiment.”

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Kiddo has a very non-literal father and an atheist mother, so we pay close attention to what happens during Zoom children’s ministry. It’s always a bit tricky, but this week’s combination of Elf on the Shelf stories and non-critical approaches to the Book of Daniel was probably the hardest yet.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: An adversarial iMessage client for Android (07 Dec 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I’m an Apple user, but that never stops me from agreeing with Doctorow’s critiques. link to “Pluralistic: An adversarial iMessage client for Android (07 Dec 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Meta’s new AI image generator was trained on 1.1 billion Instagram and Facebook photos | Ars Technica'

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The phrase popped into my head before the article could even get to it: We are the product. link to “Meta’s new AI image generator was trained on 1.1 billion Instagram and Facebook photos | Ars Technica”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Trump's not-so-secret plans for unprecedented power : NPR'

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Some worrying information here. link to “Trump’s not-so-secret plans for unprecedented power : NPR”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'You Still Don’t Own What You Bought: Purchased TV Shows From PS Store Go Bye Bye | Techdirt'

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The digital could have been used to expand access to content, but we’re using it to actually restrict that access. What a crappy future. link to “You Still Don’t Own What You Bought: Purchased TV Shows From PS Store Go Bye Bye | Techdirt”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'A New Trump Administration Will ‘Come After’ the Media, Says Kash Patel - The New York Times'

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I try not to post too much about this campaign because I find it overwhelming, but this is worrying stuff. Really worrying. link to “A New Trump Administration Will ‘Come After’ the Media, Says Kash Patel - The New York Times”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

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Over the weekend, I watched The Muppet Christmas Carol with kiddo for the third year in a row. That makes three years that I’ve been meaning to read the source material, so I went to LibriVox and found a free audiobook. It was an excellent read! It’s aged, and not always well, but the message is just as biting, and I appreciate the Muppet adaptation all the more. Dickens has clever writing, which I appreciated, and it was nice to read the original after seeing so many adaptations.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'This Palestinian American professor leans on his Quaker faith during conflict : NPR'

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I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Quaker faith, and this example only reinforces that. link to “This Palestinian American professor leans on his Quaker faith during conflict : NPR”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Henry Kissinger has died at 100: his legacy in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China - Vox'

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I knew Kissinger’s name, but I was embarrassingly unfamiliar with his record (especially given the many international relations and poli sci classes I took in college). This was a helpful—and difficult—read. It’s especially jarring to read this while reading up on non-violence and consuming fiction on the brutal cynicism of the cold war. There was a time in my life where I would have acknowledged the complexity behind these decisions, but I can’t see how anyone could accept that complexity as somehow justifying the loss of life and other tragedies.

Bethlehem in the Nativity and in the West Bank

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Earlier this year, I read Guy Delisle’s excellent comic Chroniques de Jérusalem twice in the course of two months. I began by finally checking out the English translation from a local library to give it a try (I like Delisle, but I’d had trouble getting into this particular comic in the past). Then, as I was getting into it, my brother-in-law texted me from New York to say he was stopping by a local French bookstore and ask if I wanted anything.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: The real AI fight (27 Nov 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I haven’t been following this debate, but Doctorow and White’s points resonate with me. link to “Pluralistic: The real AI fight (27 Nov 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

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Thomas Merton believed that he could (and should) advocate for a clear cause even in understanding that the actual solution would be complex and that he did not therefore know the details. The most prominent of these causes was an abolition of war, and I feel like that’s more relevant than ever.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Killed at Historic Pace - The New York Times'

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I had been reading and thinking about non-violence for months before the 2023 Israel-Hamas war started, but its outbreak is making me more committed to the idea than any abstract philosophical argument. I’m more inclined than ever before to believe that military force can never be justified, and I think that’s especially true in cases where civilians are deliberately targeted (or allowed to be caught in the attack). Hamas’s attack on Israeli civilians is unjustifiable, the IDF’s seeming disregard for Gazan civilians is unjustifiable, the U.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Call to Life | Daily Bread | Community of Christ'

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Seeing an official publication of my church advocate for public transit is a beautiful combination of two of my favorite things. I’m very pleased! link to “Call to Life | Daily Bread | Community of Christ”

Leo Tolstoy on Black Friday

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This morning, a Michigander friend of mine texted to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. Her husband and their roommate work at Walmart, and so I asked her whether they had to work today. It took my friend a few hours to respond, but I already knew the answer—as long as I’ve known them, they’ve both had to work on and around most major holidays. Their Thanksgiving has traditionally been on Thursday morning or Wednesday evening to make sure that they have some time to celebrate as a family before they get called in to work to get things ready for the capitalist rush that will come on Black Friday—and increasingly, on Thursday night.