Category: Uncategorized

Facebook And Public Opinions

It is in the news a lot now, Facebook.

Facebook (etc) is an interesting medium. Whenever something very public or big happens (like today’s Supreme Court decisions), I often want to talk about it, but I almost never feel comfortable participating in a social media discussion. It’s difficult to discuss anything nuanced in that kind of public space (and I believe there are important nuances to every one of these hot button topics), so the airwaves get taken up by people who have firm, settled opinions with no gray area. I feel like I should stand up for what I think – I often feel like staying out of the discussion is still a statement, interpreted differently by different people – but most of the time I just can’t bring myself to do it on that sort of forum. For anyone who knows me, I really enjoy the back-and-forth of in-person discussion on important topics. Just not there.

I think one of the big issues is one of audience. As anyone who is trying to be an effective communicator should do, I tailor my approach to any discussion based on who I’m talking to. When I’m addressing every single one of my very different Facebook friends at the same time, there’s no way to do that. I have a very, very divided Facebook feed – my friends list is full of people who are suuuper conservative and also people who are suuuuper liberal. I like all of them and there are things I agree with from all of them – just not the same things. I know who I can trust to discuss sensitive subjects in sensitive ways, and who I can’t (and some of them, it depends on the topic). My friends are all great, but hold many different beliefs. It’s impossible to address them all at once and have a positive outcome, at least when it comes to taking sides on a big issue.

Another is the issue of permanence. I’m not ashamed of my opinions, but sometimes they change! Especially when it’s a big issue. I don’t love having them preserved forever as they are TODAY, except for myself and maybe a few trusted people (who can understand my own nuances). I think it’s good to preserve them, but for a select audience. I reserve the right to change my mind, and immortalizing today’s opinions that may not be settled yet just doesn’t fit into that.

I wish more people could be more apt to love first and judge later. That’s another issue; in the public, social media space, people forget to put people first. They would often rather drive an agenda or hit a point home than consider that they’re talking to a human person. So only the people who don’t mind coming out fists-first get to talk. I wish that would change.

Regarding Baby Shower Invites

I’ve seen requests for certain gifts on invites before and sometimes I find them tacky, sometimes not. What do you guys think of this?

For instance, my SIL and I both saw this idea online to ask people to bring a book instead of a card. She and my MIL put a sticker with a poem on the back of the baby girl shower invitations for her celebration. The gist of it was ‘please bring a book to start baby’s library’. I thought this was okay. Might do something like it myself with our next, but can’t quite get past the asking for something specific.

Another example I just got a baby shower invitation asking everyone to bring a baby clothing item for the ‘baby clothesline‘. I’ve never see this done, but get the idea. For some reason I’m finding this incredibly tacky. On the one hand I think it’s kinda a cute idea and an easy way to get the mom a good stock of clothing. On the other hand, most people give clothing as gifts anyway and clothing can be expensive so they might feel they need to bring two gifts. I guess you could just bring a cheap onesie.. I dunno.. It wasn’t even asked in a fun way, just scribbled on part of the invitation.

Tacky to asks for gifts at all other than including registry info? Not tacky since the mother isn’t throwing her own party? Tacky unless tastefully worded? Are baby showers just destined to be somewhat tacky?

About Religion

I’ve been thinking lately a lot about everything surrounding my faith these days. I don’t feel uncomfortable with a good discussion about the Church, but I do feel uncomfortable when people want to explain all the reasons why they think I’m wrong to subscribe to it. At first, I thought like those people do – if you’re uncomfortable with it, it’s because you don’t like having your worldviews challenged and you don’t have good answers to these Big Issues – you’d rather stay in your bubble. So I always try not to be uncomfortable with it.

However, I think that this debate is kind of a similar feeling to, say, buying a car. To set the stage, let’s say I have been considering which car I want to buy. I have done a lot of research, found some things I like and some things I don’t like as much, but I have weighed the pros and cons and have spent lots of time and energy coming to a conclusion about whether I feel like it is a good buy. Then, I buy the car. I drive it for a couple of years, and the more I drive it, the more I like it. There are some glitches sometimes, sure, like any car. The a/c makes a weird buzzing noise and only one of the spouts works for the windshield wiper fluid. But overall, I am very happy with my purchase.

Then, someone I know comes to me — someone who is my equal in the case of judging cars — and says that he has found a lot of things that he feels are wrong with my car. He feels like, had I known these things, or had I been of sound mind when I did learn them, I wouldn’t have purchased the car. Further, he feels like I should get rid of my car, because the things he’s discovered are, in his mind, fatal flaws.

First of all, I have ALREADY done my research and have been driving my car for YEARS, and have been happy with my decision. Additionally, I am not sure why he feels like my decision of which car to drive is any of his business. But let’s say he’s coming to me out of kindness. He knows and likes me and doesn’t want to see me in a bad car. That’s respectable, and I appreciate his concern. However, his arguments and the information he has brought to me are all things I learned when I was researching the car in the first place, and I have already weighed them, reconciled with them, or found contradictions to them, and in the end still found the car worth buying. If they aren’t things I learned when I was researching the car, they still seem to fall into just a few categories: They are related to the things I learned, they are fabricated or misconstrued issues, or they are solvable and not worth avoiding the car for.

Let’s say I have this experience over and over. Lots of people have bought my car and are just as happy with it as I am. I know and respect these people. Still, however, friends come to me with their concerns, and frankly, none of their concerns are news to me. I am tiring of this dialogue. Wouldn’t you?

Do they think I’m stupid? Do they think I don’t know anything about my own car? Do they think I can’t make a rational decision, or that I haven’t spent any time considering all the facets of my car that I can find? Do they think I haven’t heard any of this before, being knee-deep in experience with this particular subject? Do they think I WANT to choose a bad car? For heaven’s sake, I already own the thing, and I didn’t make the purchase lightly. Wouldn’t they assume that I would choose a car with the same amount of careful consideration with which they chose THEIR car, or that I don’t have the same opportunity for resources that they do?

To end the analogy, of course choosing a religion is not the same thing as choosing a car. But I typically make fairly informed decisions in most areas of my life – why would they suddenly assume that I don’t understand how to make a choice about something else that’s important, just because they disagree or they don’t like the way I made my decision? And WHY would they think that the only reason I could be offended about these challenges to my ability for rational thought, was if I was indeed incapable of rational thought? Wouldn’t ANYBODY be uncomfortable with and a bit offended by that assumption?

I don’t mind discussing individual issues on a personal level, with someone actually wanting to discuss and thereby come to a greater mutual understanding of truth. But I do not have to justify myself to these people. This anti-Christian crap is not news, I have almost always already reconciled it with my own answers (acceptable or unacceptable to the other party as they may be) it’s almost never delivered in any spirit other than a desire to be right or to convince me that I’m wrong. And THAT is not something I have to be okay with.