All that once was: Life before and life after COVID-19

Stay home
For eight and a half years I wrote a mostly feel good column in a few small town newspapers. And you know what? I was okay at it. People liked it. They looked forward to it. And so did I. I enjoyed making people’s day. I became adept at finding the good in what felt like the darkest of times. But in the last few years, I couldn’t do it. My life got too dark, and so did ...
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None of us deserve a free jerk pass

free jerk pass
I was already struggling with whether to publish this post, before COVID-19. Now I’m even more unsure. It is so heartening to see the amount of good will that is going around, even among people who normally are at each other’s throats. I wish we could bottle this good will and sprinkle it around whenever people start to get caustic again. Because we will – start to get...
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People crave community: Narrowing the urban/rural divide

We were neighbors before we were enemies
Growing up in the rural West, I can’t tell you how many times I heard jokes about Californians, “city folks,” and “back East,” as though people who lived in Cali or east of the Mississippi River were basically clueless idiots. Then I moved east. Not all the way to the coast, but far enough to learn that people “across the river” were pretty much just like people on the othe...
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Holiday Permissions

If you need someone to give you permission to be joyful this holiday season, in spite of it all, let me be that person.
This may not be the most warm and fuzzy thing to talk about this time of year. But our refusal to talk about it only makes the situation that much more difficult for those who are struggling. We have to name our pain before we can address it. So I’m going to do the unpopular thing and put it all out there. The holidays are really hard for a lot of people. Like, hardest ti...
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Does UC Berkeley really hate rural America?

Red barn
Okay, guys. We need to have a talk. I’ve discussed this before, and really… It’s so important. You’ve got to stop believing everything the Media tells you. This is the first post in a two-part series on narrowing the urban/rural divide, and just being a responsible, rational citizen in general. Certain news outlets... ...are blowing up over a tweet by a UC...
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A safe place to tell your story: A candid discussion about faith

This is a safe place to tell your faith story.
No other topic that I’ve written about has resonated with readers as much as when I talk about God. Why is this? Are we all so hungry for meaning? I think perhaps yes. I’m tired of the rule that we aren’t supposed to talk about religion. Why not? Does it so offend us when someone disagrees with our foundational values that we are unable to listen? Are we truly that inse...
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Gossip is my weakness

When you stop talking to people, stop talking about them, too.
The tricky thing about gossip is that it’s hard to define. When does genuine caring and concern turn into gossip? What about venting? We all need to get things off our chest, right? Because it is so amorphous, gossip is an easy crime to commit. I know I have. In fact, it’s my biggest vice, or it used to be. I grew up in gossip central. Nobody does gossip lik...
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The death of grace

Perhaps the most detrimental fallout of an entire generation obsessed with perfection is the death of grace.
As my kids gear up for back to school, I can’t help but wonder how they will look back at their childhoods, the time and place in which they were raised, their family experience, and the impact their culture has on their growing hearts and minds. How did we get here? I can’t pretend to be perfect. I actually tried that for a really long time. It didn’t work. Her...
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Do you have a toxic relationship with your news source?

Do you have a toxic relationships with your news source?
In order to understand the big picture of Redefining Love, we must learn that institutions can be just as toxic as individual relationships. Just as family systems can be rife with dysfunction that developed over generations, so too can larger systems within our society. Entire religions, governments, political parties, corporations, education institutions, and sectors...
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Eliminating snobbery from our lives

Rather than seek to be open minded, a better goal is to dig deep to identify our own bias.
One of the personality traits that I struggle to forgive the most is snobbery, in myself as well as others. I used to live with the illusion that I was immune from this particular sin. (This kind of arrogance is the first sign that you need to get real.) Judgement is the universal sin Back when I bought into the “open-mindedness” myth, I believed that I accepted eve...
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