Stole another great interface from Lea Verou with a new bar chart on the Archive page and added year archives. I can really see when I took some time off writing over the last few years now. Forward!

As I come into the end of the year, I am adding some nice to haves to the site.

I recently read an article from Lea Verou on tags in her blogging setting and one of the things she mentioned was orphan tags. I took note and it’s been itching me for a few weeks. I implemented a first pass this morning. You can see this on CSS Custom Properties Like This Is a Waste, where the #custom-properties tag is no longer a link. Hover over it and you’ll get a note that there is only one post with that tag. It makes no sense to have a list page with just one post on it, so these are no longer generated.

As Lea noted in her article, this cuts down on number of pages being generated and can lead to performance benefits. I’m working through the later, but the number of pages being generated as of this morning is now 1500 vs 1700 before the change. Over 100 tags were orphans.

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.

C.S. Lewis

Long weekend in the Finley household. It’s good to have a God that’s present in your highs and your lows, in the broadest of daylight and the darkest of night. This song from Rend Collective is echoing with me this morning.

I’ll find a way to praise You
From the bottom of my broken heart
‘Cause I think I’d rather strike a match
Than curse the dark

I had lots of opportunity this weekend to curse the darkness. It’s there that I struck a match and praised God.

Even if my daylight never dawns
Even if my breakthrough never comes
Even if, I’ll fight
to bring you praise
Even if, my heart
will somehow say
Hallelujah anyway

Lord, you’ve got this. Let’s go. Yeah, I know my daylight might not come on my timeline, I know a breakthrough may not be coming for a while. Even if, I’ll fight to bring you praise from the emptiness of my bowels, from the bottom of my broken heart, from my darkened canyon campfire, my heart will somehow say Hallelujah anyway. Because my praise is not dependant on anything thrown my way, any hurtle in my path, and ailment intent on taking me out.

If the consequence of all this is that you do not know who to root for because I have not shared enough information to activate your tribal loyalties, then the only thing I have established here is that you should be disqualified from jury duty for life. You might have attached some tribal loyalties to the story on your own authority by filling in some of the things I left blank, but I guarantee that I could come back and tell the full story in a way as to flip it around for you.

And this is why a bunch of people I could mention should spend a lot less time in comment threads and a lot more time reading edifying material.

It is astonishing how many people think they can ascertain the truth about an enormously complicated snarl from three thousand miles away, and all they needed to do was watch three minutes of a video clip. But it is not that easy—that is just how they make it look easy. Why does it look so easy? You see, it is possible to identify your tribe from three thousand miles away, and you can do that in three seconds or so.

Anthony Bradley, Conflicted Apologist for Bad JuJu by Pastor Douglas Wilson

Whether we’re talking about child abuse— previously known as spanking— or complex family disagreements over the meaning and purpose of life, your ability to ascertain the truth from three thousand miles away based on a video clip or a few tweets is nil, non-existant. Sorry to tell you this. Yeah, the individual may belong to your tribe or a tribe that you are an ally of, but this is not grounds to rally the troops for a good, ol’ fashion lynching.

Just a word of advice.

I was talking about empathy with a coworker and she shared this video from a more secular perspective on the topic. Spoilers, he lands on much the same conclusions that I stated in Misrepresentations From Hecklers in the Peanut Gallery and Empathy vs. Sympathy, namely that compassion is often a better response and empathy has a lot of negative consequences. This of course is not because I am wise, but because I am the fool on “elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious.”

For if this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last. It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.” I’m gonna sit on my fool’s throne for a time and ponder this, mostly laughing.

Nothing on this blog is novel, undiscovered truth that I, wiser than you, have discovered. As Chesterton goes on to note, “Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it.”

My faith-building has been largely discovering the work on 2000+ years of church history and I pray that I can set a foundation for my children and their children to build atop.


Misrepresenting what I say is easy when you don’t include a link to the original work. I am a writer and take care to write what I mean to write and not write what I do not mean to write. While Pastor Doug and Joe Rigney talk in absolute terms— understanding of course that most things that are spoken in absolute terms are not absolute but generalizations— in regards to the “sin of empathy,” I chose not to because I do not believe that empathy itself is sinful, but at times can make you sin in other clearly sinful ways. Permissible but not necessarily beneficial.

To directly quote my article from Saturday,

One could rightly argue that empathy is sinful as it can require you to lie or have untethered anger against someone in an ungodly way. Yet, in the modern age, we are told our only option is empathy[…]

Empathy vs. Sympathy

If one requires me to lie, otherwise I am abusing them, then they are requiring that I sin. This should be clear to any half-wit. If one requires that I feel untethered rage against someone— this being unrighteous anger—, then they are requiring that I sin. Not all empathy requires that I sin to be empathetic, so not all empathy is sin.

But just because something is not sin does not mean it is beneficial.

You can have sympathy for the person that is claiming abuse, you can reach a hand out and help them out of the water, talk with them and understand their perspective. Instead of fueling the rage, instead they need to get better. They are in fact getting bitter if they stay in the water, staying in the rage.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

I do not reject empathy as much as question it’s value compared to compassion and sympathy, two things that are never encouraging sinful actions. This is why my article was titled Empathy vs. Sympathy and addressed the differences and why we should, as Christians, err on the side of sympathy and compassion.

Further, the article was addressing Christians, as I recently wrote that I do a lot here. Why does this matter in this case? Because Christians are required— this being a commandment from Jesus Himself— to love our neighbors and to love our enemies. We are given clear documentation throughout the first letter to the Corinthians on what that looks like— through what it doesn’t look like— culminating in 1 Corinthians 13 showing us what it looks like.

This article being targeted at Christians can conclude that you need to think about the ramifications of empathy and err towards compassion and sympathy because it is grounded in a Christian ethic that we love everyone as God loved us. If this article was targeted at the heathens— those that do not know Christ— then it could not assume the same foundational ethic.

Of course, had my brother (Jason Finley, dba Mx. Sassafras, dba Sassafras Flick) linked my original article, the heckling from the peanut gallery would have had no weight to it. After all, it is easier to gaslight without providing evidence, like the 1300+ word piece you are referring to which clearly draws a different conclusion to anyone that cares to read it.


Quick note. I regularly write articles that address two audiences: me and fellow Christians. Usually you can tell that I am doing this by my specifically addressing Christians. Such as:

But justice! They must pay for their actions, pay for what they’ve done to me! God didn’t say the same for you, Christian. No, Christ said “I’ll pay the bill.” Christian, you don’t want justice done for all that you have done and you surely don’t want justice done to your foes.

When You Forgive Someone, (emphasis added)

This article would not make sense if it was addressing non-Christians, as we cannot hold those outside the Blood to the standards set for those under the Blood of Christ. This article, along with many others, addresses me and fellow Christians and commands that are made of us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Namely, you are to forgive without any reason other than Christ forgave you.

If you are not a Christian and read an article like this and conclude that it is crazy to hold you to that standard, you are correct and I am not holding you to that standard.

Remember that Christ is in the storm with you, He is the other in the fire, He is the flame that guides Israel out of Egypt, you are not alone.

Shared this nearly nine years ago and again the subject is rearing it’s ugly head. This was one of the first things that woke me up to how lacking my public school education was. The Crusades were talked about but the jihads were not. The Crusades were a defensive series of battles against an onslaught of Islamic jihads that were raping, killing, and capturing the Middle East— a Christian region until then— and Europe. Watch the video below to see just how incomparable they are.

Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then it tries to silence good.

We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty — these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square — peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

This morning I was looking through my Archives— making some code changes and such— and noted how much I like seeing trends for months, usually being able to remember why. Why is Brian Sauvé trending this month? Right, new album. Oh, he was trending in April too. New album. Yeah.

Remember one of my goals with this newly updated site— updated back in February— was to diversify the content. These things help me see what I’m posting about and easily identify trends. It also helps when folks try to gaslight me into thinking that I post a lot about fill in the blank, I can easily look back and see whether that is true.

Like metrics that come from fitness devices and smart watches, once you have the numbers you can form plans to change those numbers in meaningful ways.

CSS Custom Properties are super powerful. Unfortunately a lot of people are still using them like Sass variables, forgetting that they are scopable and can do some pretty advanced things. This video walks through some cool methodology for making extendable components with a styling API.

I tried to watch John Oliver’s skit— “a short comedy sketch or piece of humorous writing, especially a parody”— on homeschooling and frankly couldn’t get through it. It was just too stupid and poorly argued. The Wade Show with Wade responded fantastically, pointing to a lot of the fallacies presenting the stats that knock out the stupid arguments being made. Thanks, Wade.

Now I’ll write you songs while I’m watching you cook
And later we’ll dance to them up in our room
Singing about all the babies we made
And all of the rooms that we filled with our love

As a Patreon supporter of Brian Sauvé, I got this song a couple weeks ago and tweeted about it. Brian’s response made my wife and I laugh heartily.

As a dad of three children, I have found myself balancing the introverted desire for peace & quiet and the joy of laughter and rough-housing, a herd of buffalo upstairs as I work, and the incessant need to ask questions. Let me say that I have been leaning much harder into the latter over the last few months and in it has come much peace. It doesn’t hurt that the introvert mind is— when trained— great at escaping internally in wild situations. To say that we love having filled our house with babies, laughter, love, and energy would be an understatement. I couldn’t imagine not having my band of children.

The new album from Brian is out everywhere you listen to music and I strongly encourage you to give this gift to your family.

Come on, boys, don’t you know?
There’re dragons out there, dragons out there
Come on, boys, don’t be slow
Cut down Leviathan, go get the girl.

Plenty of lovely songs for Christian dads to sing with and about their daughters. Sons? I can’t really think of any. Our little hooligans, our rough tumblers, our boys are full of adventure, running into trouble head-on. My oldest boy had a minor concussion before he was four and stitches before he was five. He’s almost six. Deep breath. I know that I am not alone in this because I wisely surround myself with dads. Blessedly for us, our boys are seeking an adventure and they’ve got a Bible full of adventure, a church history full of heroes and dragons.

Been following Brian Sauvé for a while and supporting his Patreon for a few months now. Good guy, great ministry out in Ogden, Utah. If you’ve been reading this blog this year, you’ve seen his blog, podcasts, and music referenced a few times. Out today is his new album called Hearth Songs. Unlike his last album that was all psalms and hymns and his upcoming Christmas album, Hearth Songs is full of songs for his wife and kids. Love songs, songs doting on his daughters, and a song of adventure for his boys.

Mid-song last night I hit pause just in time to hear my young boys belt out “Cut down Leviathan, go get the girl!” and I couldn’t be more happy.

Dads— and moms— tap the link above and give this blessing to your family!

As a father of three, my heart is breaking with all the news coming this last week. I’m finding peace in Christ, settling myself into the Psalms.

For lo! The time is short for them
The wicked ones will be no more
Though carefully, you search them out
You’ll find them not, they’ll vanish, all

But look and see! The meek shall dwell
In fullness of the land, and will
In peace, abundant, peace full well
Delight themselves forevermore

Vengance belongs to the Lord. I am not bloodthirsty, for repaying pain for pain, ill for ill, horror for horror, leaves us with nothing but a shell.

As a Christian, I thirst for justice and at times that means war.

I am thankful that I am not in a position where I have to make the decisions that are having to be made in Israel this week, that I am not having to stiffle my own want for vengence as I bury my family. For those that are, know that we are praying for you. It’s what we have and it’s what we will give.

In the end, God will take care of the wicked.