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June 15, 2015

I spent the last few days at a men’s retreat in Nebraska. To a Californian, Nebraska is a peculiar state. It’s unrelentingly green and nearly flat. Low hills rise just enough to block distant vistas. You can’t see more than a couple of miles, at least in the part of the state where I was. Your view is truncated, which may be appropriate when trying to focus on the interior life.

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April 26, 2015

Saturday’s lead editorial in our local newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, was titled “Who Should Represent California: Father Serra or Sally Ride?”

There is a movement afoot (and more than afoot: it seems to be running to the finish line with almost no opposition) to replace the statue of Junipero Serra that appears in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol with a statue of Sally Ride. Serra’s statue has been there since 1931. Ride’s statue is yet to be commissioned.

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March 16, 2015

It is said that half of all the art in Europe is in Italy, and half of all the art in Italy is in Florence. That may not be arithmetically precise, but it can’t be far from the truth.

When Florentine art is mentioned, everyone thinks of the giant Uffizi Gallery, but there are many other showplaces, among my favorite being the Bargello, which once served as a jail but today houses chiefly sculpture, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, where the best pieces from the cathedral are kept....

February 5, 2015

At today’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama criticized the Islamic State for its brutal atrocities, which seem to be multiplying beyond our ability to express outrage. For example, earlier this week while America was passionately debating whether the Seahawks should have passed or run on second-and-goal, the Islamic State doused a captured Jordanian pilot...

December 22, 2014

This post is the third in a series about the most prevalent modern myths about the Crusades and how to refute them.

Anna Comnena was the thirteen-year-old daughter of Emperor Alexius I when the initial group of Crusaders marched into Constantinople during the First Crusade in the late eleventh century. Later, as a woman in her forties, she wrote the Alexiad, an account of the events of her father’s reign. In describing the arrival of these warriors from the West,...