I’m less angry if I accept at the beginning of the day that being a parent will elicit physical pain by the end of the day.

Internet Friends: 1: How We Met on the Internet

This podcast about the internet and society really resonated with me, in particular, how each of the hosts described a time of great optimism for what the web could be, and how it’s all become pretty complicated and, um, disappointing in 2018.

So I thought about it and came up with my great (naive?) period of hope for the web. It was about 2006. I had stumbled upon a couple internet communities that were flourishing…

One was the show with zefrank, a quirky video blog that used a bunch of short, creative, and confessional segments by its creator. But notably it also encouraged, facilitated, and shared back contributions from the people who followed it. People were asked to (and did) submit little pieces of songs or sounds or pictures that Ze would put together in creative ways. The people who became the show’s community helped produce these cathartic pieces of group art. In today’s world — where groups of guys who’ve forgotten whether they are ironically or earnestly neo-nazis organize to abuse others on the internet — remembering old episodes of the show feels like remembering the internet’s Garden of Eden.

The other community was Radio Open Source, a public radio show and podcast hosted by Christopher Lydon (a name associated with the very beginnings of podcasting.) The setup of the show and the wide range of topics it covered fostered this incredible conversation on its website. Listeners shared insight from all kinds of perspectives that enhanced the context of each show and steered the direction of the next one.

Open Source has been through several incarnations through the years, and still exists, although I don’t think the community still does in the same way.

Pastor Lura N. Groen: Spiritual Abuse at the Meeting at ULS regarding Dr Latini

I understand Dr. Latini’s desire to control her own story and her own identity.  And yet she has applied and accepted a position as a public face of a religious institution before being able to talk about parts of her religious life that were very public.  Public theologians, and public representatives of institutions, need to be able to take responsibility for their public record, and to explain previous writings and actions.

Context here.

I agree with Lura. There is a crucially important distinction between personal repentance and redemption and public accountability.

I expect more from the president and board of my alma mater or any institution.

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.

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