I’m putting microblog posts in the same stream as regular posts. It’s blog succotash!

Do you ever have that thing where you write something incredible in the ecstasy of a caffeine high…only to find it incoherent the next time you read it?

I love and work alongside older adults everyday, yet I can’t help but think we need a Jubilee election in which no one over 30 can vote.

Safety

Sen. Marco Rubio, in 2014, in a bid to raise his NRA rating from a B+ to an A:

The safety of our families is not something people should hope government can provide.

Martin Luther and the Reformers, in 1530, in the Augsburg Confession:

[Government defends] not minds, but bodies and bodily things against manifest injuries, and restrain[s] men with the sword and bodily punishments in order to preserve civil justice and peace.

I’d wager more Americans would agree with the 500 year old statement than with Sen. Rubio’s.

At the gym there are three muted TVs set to Cable News, SportsCenter, and a contestant show…and they all look remarkably similar at a glance.

Explicit Bias

If your skin is white, like mine, I urge you to take the online Implicit Bias test conducted by Harvard University. They have several, but I’m specifically talking about the White-Black bias test.

You won’t like the results. Most of us white folk put a lot of energy into appearing to be unbiased based on race. Most of us get very defensive if called a racist. I admit to having a certain amount of ill-founded pride in being ‘very tolerant’ towards race — so I was very disappointed to find the test revealed that I had a certain amount of implicit bias. In other words, I automatically have a stronger positive feeling towards people of lighter skin than darker skin.

My first response (which is typical for people taking the test) was to blame the test. After all, I think racism is evil, and all prejudice based on skin color is wrong, and even dumb. But what the test measures is our ‘gut response,’ formed before the thinking part of the brain kicks in. Just take it and you’ll see what I mean.

Now that I’ve calmed down, I know it’s true. My experiences, conversations, media, and curricula have taught me to see dark skin in a more negative way. Think of a Disney villain…I’ll bet they have darker skin than the Hero. How many Bad Guys can you think of that have dark skin? How many mugshots have you seen on the news of folks with dark skin? I didn’t ask for this. But I am responsible for my response. These experiences form my automatic bias, and if I pass them on uncritically…well, I’m not one of the Good Guys.

I’m not a Bad Guy for having implicit bias, but my responsibility is to stop uncritically accepting the ways that my bias gets passed on or tolerated. I have to start with myself, so I’ve developed a list of ‘explicit biases’ that I want to train myself in. Just as our negative implicit biases take a while to learn, so will my correction to them.

When I encounter a person that is culturally, socially, economically distant from me, I run through a list. I affirm in my head that this person:

  • is different from anyone else on the planet
  • has a rich inner life that I may or may not see
  • has an education that I don’t
  • is embedded in family relationships, some of which may be complicated
  • is embedded in social relationships, some of which may be complicated
  • is a Child of God

It might seem clumsy, but I already make those assumptions about people I find very similar to me. Either way, I am convinced that my moral responsibility to change racism does not stop at passively deciding something is wrong, but includes actively changing the way it works through me. In this case, it starts with rewiring my brain.

Not only that but when you finish making your website you will have gained superpowers: you now have an independent voice, a URL, and a home on the open web.

Robin Rendle

Yes, Florida has seasons. You just don’t look at the tree leaves to tell them apart.

Doors and Walls

I’ve been finding myself feeling frazzled pretty regularly which is something that happens when I haven’t taken time to review everything going on in my life from a ‘big picture’ perspective. Tasks are essential, but without a larger sense of goals and priorities they just become turns around the hamster wheel.

The problem for me is that I cannot get the big picture perspective without slowing down, stepping back, and doing honest-to-god thinking. And because I’m an introvert, I cannot do that in the midst of other people. I really have to take some time by myself to do that.

My office has a door and walls. The walls are permanent and meant to keep the environment out, and me in. The door, however, opens and closes – alternatively allowing things going in and out and then stopping things going in and out.

I’ve not been treating the door that way. I see the open door as symbolic of my openness to people. I like people and God knows I want them to like me. So I leave it open almost all the time. As if the door were a wall and of course I don’t want to put up walls between me and people.

But the alternative is not between walls and unrestricted access: I have a door. My door is here to selectively enforce boundaries that I – and I imagine, everyone else – need. There are times when I need to temporarily close off open access to me so that I can do some deep, reflective work. I may only need this a couple hours all week. But I do need it, and the door helps me take that time.

I need to be able to close my door without feeling like I’m putting up a wall. I’m just closing the door now, so I can better welcome others through it later.

Parenting is helping children grow from generally being monsters to whatever specific type of monster they become.

I wouldn’t be a true micro.blog user without a blog post on setting up my micro.blog, right?

How This Site is Built

Here’s how I post blog posts to www.netfull.org and microblog posts to www.netfull.org/microblog as well as Micro.blog

My blog, this blog, which is trying to tie together the various threads I’m interested in, is now hosted on Github Pages. It’s a static site built by Jekyll which means that Github builds it automatically every time I update the files.

The nice thing about building the site this way is it’s always under version control so there’s always a trail of bread crumbs back to any previous version of the site. I can revert back in time to fix the mistakes I regularly make while coding it. Also, the source is public so you can see the mistakes yourself.

I’ve been intrigued by Manton Reese’s Micro.blog project as an independent way to publish little thoughts and to have a little dialogue back and forth. Like the way I once thought Twitter should work, but without all the baggage. Twitter’s annoying attempts at monetization are understandable; Twitter’s enabling of White Supremacy, misogyny, and genocidal nuclear threats are unconscionable.

I really recommend you give it a try. I also recommend you pay a few dollars a month and get Micro.blog’s hosted service unless you really want to sink some hours into a painful, substandard, DIY system like mine.

For now ‘microblog’ posts, which you can think of like Tweets, don’t show up in the main JSON/RSS feed or on the homepage. Instead, they live on the Microblog part of my site. To get that set up, I relied heavily on excellent posts by Tim Smith, Ross Kimes, and Kirby Turner. You make fewer mistakes when you stand on the shoulders of others.

Update: I’m now putting my microblog posts into the same stream as my blog posts. This required some pretty major changes to the structure of the site since my plugin options are limited on Github Pages. You can now subscribe to just the full (titled) posts, just the microblog posts, or both (the default feed.)

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