Mean Exchange

I know.  You clicked on this post because you actually thought it would be about math or accounting.  It’s not.  I will not be averaging out a series of numbers to share something cool.  Sorry to disappoint.  You’re welcome to visit Numberphile on youtube if you need some more maths in your life.

No, this post is about our demeanor and how we treat people.  Particularly, it’s about how we treat people online.  

I’ve reduced the amount of social media I consume significantly over the years.  Facebook’s feed doesn’t really show me the folks I do care about.  LinkedIn’s feed obnoxiously gives me a notification as if there was something new, but in reality it’s just another random post.  Twitter is great for brevity but I found that less actual news in my life makes me happier.  Mastodon is a pretty cool invention, but we’ll see how it turns out over time.  

One of the things I’ve noticed since being on the internet since 1994 is that people often feel the ability to be harsh to those they interact with online.  It’s not something that needs government regulation, but it is something that needs self-regulation.  Case in point.  There’s a woman named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who recently got elected to Congress.  She’s garnered a lot of attention in the process.  Some because of her age.  Some because of her philosophy.  Some because her campaign style.

Being a public figure means that she gets a good share of criticism.  I recently came across some of this criticism when I was looking at LinkedIn.  The original post began with:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “If we work our butts off we can take back the three chambers of government, the Presidency, the House, and the Senate”. OMG help us all, Idiocracy is here…

The comments below the video were tremendously unkind.  One person even predicted that her life would crash and burn and she’d find herself doing porn in a few years.

That seems to be an easy comment to write online, but I doubt they’d have the ability to say anything in person.

I tried to take the comments a different route and said:

Pointing out that someone might be wrong is vastly different then trying to understand how they got something wrong.   This might be an inexcusable mistake based upon her position, but it’s an understandable one based upon nerves (yes talking in front of the camera isn’t easy) and the reality that the majority of the coverage for government focuses on the areas she mentions.  I know I’ve learned plenty of lessons the hard way.  I hope she’s able to weather the storm of emotion and expectations that are in front of her.   She’s walking a harder path than the one I’m on right now.  I wish her all the best.

I do try to consider how others draw their conclusions.  Life is so much less contentious when you consider others.

Of course the commentors didn’t exactly see my point of view and continued along the lines they had started.  I think the original poster using the word “Idocracy” really set the tone.  It reminds me of something we read this week that can also be found in Matthew 5:22 which warns us against calling someone a fool.  

If the world can see what we post online then so can the people we talk about, and so can God.  I’ll play it safe and try to be the same person online that I try to be in person.

woman sitting on black chair near brown table
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Joy to the World is NOT a Christmas Song

img_20141223_144803This is one of those posts that gets me labeled as the crazy relative at family gatherings.  Yes, I’m that guy.  Sometimes at church we discuss talents and when we do I get to share that I have the ability to take any normal conversation and make it awkward faster than anyone else.  It’s not a talent I’m proud of per-se, but it’s one I’ve come to live with.

So, this is one of those things.  Joy to the World is a wonderful song, but it is not a Christmas song.  People who sing it at Christmas time are woefully ignorant of what century they live in and are singing about.

Jesus Once of Humble Birth shows the contrast of Christ’s comings.  The first one was under very humble circumstances.  The second will be in his glory.  Which one does Joy to the World speak of?  Let’s take a look at Jesus Once of Humble Birth:

1. Jesus, once of humble birth,
Now in glory comes to earth.
Once he suffered grief and pain;
Now he comes on earth to reign.
Now he comes on earth to reign.
2. Once a meek and lowly Lamb,
Now the Lord, the great I Am.
Once upon the cross he bowed;
Now his chariot is the cloud.
Now his chariot is the cloud.
3. Once he groaned in blood and tears;
Now in glory he appears.
Once rejected by his own,
Now their King he shall be known.
Now their King he shall be known.
4. Once forsaken, left alone,
Now exalted to a throne.
Once all things he meekly bore,
But he now will bear no more.
But he now will bear no more.
Again, this hymn shows the contrast between Christ’s arrival for his mortal ministry and his second coming.  Let’s see which even Joy to the World speaks of (based on the lyrics):
1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints, and Saints and angels sing.
2. Rejoice! Rejoice when Jesus reigns,
And Saints their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
3. No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found,
Far as the curse was found,
Far as, far as the curse was found.
4. Rejoice! Rejoice in the Most High,
While Israel spreads abroad
Like stars that glitter in the sky,
And ever worship God,
And ever worship God,
And ever, and ever worship God.
Ok, Sir Isaac Watts.  What were you writing about here?  If verse 3 wasn’t the clincher, I don’t know what is.  We’ve definitely got sin and sorrow now, but we wont at the second coming.  If you think this is a Christmas song.  You’re wrong.
img_1525_31368Now, if you’re feeling sad because you’ve been doing it wrong don’t worry.  You’re in good company.  I’m right along there with you.  I love this song, especially around the holidays.
But, if I’m not good enough company for you to feel comforted then I’ve got another bit of news for you.  There’s a lot of people who are wrong about this song with us.  According to Wikipedia it’s the most published Christmas song in the world.  That’s a lot of people being wrong together.
So, enjoy singing the world’s most popular second coming song during the part of the year when we celebrate Christ’s birth.
Being wrong about what you’re singing and when might just be another sign that we all need to repent and that can use the Savior in our lives.