Category Archives: Opinions

in defence of facebook.

I am going to skip past the introduction where I talk about how facebook has revolutionized the world and get straight to it.

As much as I dislike the term, social media can be really useful. I very rarely hear genuine, serious criticism about facebook, so I think the general populous must agree that it’s all right.

The critics are often fb users themselves, so imagine that they are just musing about the perceived defects, large or small, depending on the person. The disparagement that I do hear about it seems to have the same undercurrent.

objection no. 1 fb cheapens relationships

objection no. 2 fb allows users to play it safe with how impersonal it is

objection no. 3 people can “create” themselves on facebook

My immediate rebuttal to both of the first objections is that fb is a tool. Mismanagement is the fault of the wielder, not the tool.

So what if people publish their relationship statuses on fb? There are too many people to keep up with all of them, and it’s nice to know that so-and-so from camp eight years ago got married.

For all this jabber about the loss of “real” conversations and interaction, I don’t see that anything has been lost. Face-to-face communication is resilient and enduring. People instinctively know that they need it or something. I don’t see that fb has in anyway diminished or decreased this.

People that spend ages (excuse my british english) on fb would find other ways to waste time if it didn’t exist.

It has been decried as the facilitator of fake, shallow, or meaningless relationships. Those who will to have relationships like any of the above can do so without a social network. A genuine person will not change when they are logged onto a profile. And the person who is in some weird, co-dependent relationship is to be pitied, or dragged away from the computer by a good friend.

As for no. 3, who are we kidding? It’s like the kid who uses the thesaurus on MS Word to puff up his vocabulary in a paper. Usually, it’s quite obvious what he did. Of course people put their best forth on fb, but what discerning person cannot take the material they see and make a perceptive judgment on the person? People can’t hide themselves that well.

That’s basically all. I am going to stop before I have to write “facebook” another time. As much as I appreciate the concept, it’s a really ugly word, as most compound words are.

** a note about my capitalization. I am currently experimenting with how I want to use it. Sorry if it offends your eyes or sensibilities.

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I’m not suffering.

I used to think that people living in developed nations were wimps when they talked about their problems.  A third of the world is wondering how they will get enough food to survive the week, and we are talking about how hard our life is because our car is breaking down.

Oh, wait, my car did actually break down on me last week. I used to think, “Our problems are nothing compared to the rest of the world.” That may still  be true from a certain perspective. That doesn’t mean that we don’t still have problems.

Even here, in America, people get murdered, die from rampant illness or a disease. Families are broken here. People do suffer here.

I still do think Christians shouldn’t try to pass off the suffering that comes with being human as “suffering for Christ”. There is suffering that comes distinctly to believers, but there is just plain suffering too. I don’t think my recent car woes were because I am a Christian; I’m pretty sure that nonchristians have had their cars break down.

Mostly, I’ve changed my position about who experiences “the most suffering” or who should be most able to say that their life is tough, because it seems wrong to belittle anyone’s legitimate pain. And who am I to make the call?

According to  Strength Finders 2.0, one of my five strenghts is emphathy. I don’t think that my empathy always turns into the emotion of sympathy. But just know that I do understand.

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the need for purpose

It has been said that everyone lives for something.

They may not know it, but they do. You can see it how they live their lives, what they say, their choices. Humans needs stuff like that.

We’re thinking and feeling creatures enough to feel the  need for purpose. I’m just guessing that beavers don’t wander around wondering that their purpose is.

Some people have thought about this and can verbalize that they are living for. “My family is what I live for.” “I just want to have a good time.” “It’s about moderation -working hard and doing things for yourself.” “I live for my kids. For my husband.” Others don’t seem like they have really given any brain time to it.

It’s kind of hard to synthesize and verbalize.

I can’t decide if it’s admirable, pitiable or both, this need  for purpose. Without purpose, we shrink. Nothing can cause depression and despair more quickly than a feeling of one being useless, meaningless, or powerless.

It seems like it either shows an innate understanding that there is something meaningful about life, or it shows the feebleness of our ability to cope with the world, that we must continually try to justify the legitimacy of our existence by searching for meaning.

What a burden, trying to create meaning. Can meaning be created? Is “creating a meaning” an oxymoron-ish statement? Is meaning intrinsic or can it be created?

And if someone responds to this post with the Rob Bell’s “Yup.” or “Both”, i.e. “I’d rather eat a sandwich than think about this”, I’ll yell you at you and tell you to actually engage with me. Or you can go read my other blog, Mythopoetic, which is less mentally-draining.

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me on metric

Do you remember your math teacher ever saying something about these lines:

“There are 5280 feet in a mile. You just have to memorize it. The English measuring system is bogus. If we just used metric, it would make a whole lot more sense. I don’t know why we don’t. It’s way easier. But, *sigh, we don’t, so let’s trudge through this.”

I remember hearing this sentiment from more than one teacher growing up. And, along with verbal platitudes like “perfect fifties family”, I’ve heard many other people give lip service to this idea.

I disagree.

Metric is way more confusing than the English system. And it’s not just ’cause I originally learned the English system and use it more often. The numbers and conversions are much easier to understand with the English system. Now, I will concede, I am number-impaired (self-diagnosis). This may be why I like the English system better. But in any case, listen to my argument.

In the English system 1 foot = 12 inches. 1 inch = 2.54 centimenters. and you know the rest.

In metric, 1 meter = 100 centimeters, 1 centimenter = 1,000 meters, 1 kilometer = 1000000000 meters (this part is exaggerated)

The reason metric is touted as being easier is because, “It’s just zeroes and ones. Just move the decimal back and forth.” That’s why it’s hard. It’s just zeroes and ones. The numbers have no personalities. And sure “centi” means hundred, but how do I know what it’s a hundred or hundredth of?

As I said, perhaps it’s the vice of people who can’t remember numbers. But this is how I do numbers: 12 equals a foot. I associate the numbers with something. The number 12 is “owned” by foot.

You can’t use that method with metric. It’s just a lone 1 and the occassional companion or gaggle of 0’s. It leaves the numbers much to abstract to comprehend.

And that’s why I don’t like metric.

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proverbial “last straw”

That’s it.

I’m over it. I’ve had it.

I understand that it’s in vogue right now to be up on technology. I understand that there’s merit to using it well and using to effectively to meet your needs. I understand social networking is the buzzword of the previous year and likely this year.

Technology is cool. Using technology well is cool. but being into technology is geeky. Remember high school? The kids that knew computers weren’t your Abercrombie and Fitch clique.

I work around a lot of older (50 is probably the average age) people. They have all recently gotten on facebook. It’s bemusing to walk by a conversation 40-50 year olds and hear one of them say to another, “Well if you look on my facebook page…”

Talking about Twitter,  has suddenly become the default conversation topic among my spheres. Seriously? Twitter? It’s what everyone talks about but no one actually uses.

I went to hear a live talk by Dave Ramsey about the economy last night. After he gave his piece on how we need to stop freaking out, because the economy is really not that bad, he took questions from the audience.

I don’t know why they thought it would make people like them better if they advertised all of mediums of question-collecting they were using (in my mind, that’s not what we were there to hear about. And who cares if you can get people to respond to you in a bunch of different ways?)

But they continually pointed out all the ways they were collecting questions. They took a question from the audience. They took a phone call. They took an emailed question. They played a person over youtube. They took a question via Twitter, and, of course, from facebook. Seriously?! I don’t care. The only thing I think they were missing was Skype.

There must be a limit.

No. I just did some online banking. Home page:  “Find us on Facebook” sticker.

*Sob.

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.the skirt.

I have this skirt. It’s red and white and flowery. I got it from one of my friends from the Middle East. She gave it to me right before she left the US to go back to the Middle East, saying she wouldn’t have much of an occassion to wear it over there. It’s a really pretty skirt, full and cut right above the kness. It’s very modest.

In the strictest sense, I am a feminist. Let me explain. The denotative defintion for “feminist” is someone who thinks that men and women should have equal rights and treatment, especially in the political and social realm. I think that. I am hesitant, however, to volunteer to put myself in that category. You know why. The connotation of a feminist is very different from the dictionary definition.

When I call someone a feminist, I am usually referring to someone that seems to embrace the ideology of radical feminism. This movement of feminists was athe most radical, and it appears that they are the people who come off as men-haters and want women to basically run around pretending like they don’t need men.

For most of the people I know and me, “feminists” are annoying women, always paranoid that man somehow is looking to keep her down. I don’t think that is generall an aim that men in America hold dear, especially today, when they’d suffer harm for expressing such an ideology. So that’s why I don’t call myself a feminist.

I don’t want to talk about the inequalities, on either side of the sexes, because it makes me nauseated. Sufficient to say, there are some discrepancies, inequalities, prejudices that remain, toward both men and women, and the US seems to be the top of the pile politically and socially for trying to right injustices as they crop up.

I’ve been learning about a certain Middle Eastern country though, and as my fried pointed out, comparaitively, finding a gender inequalities to combat here is like searching for two fleas on a single monkey.

Let me tell you a little bit of what I’ve learned about this country’s gender inequalities. I’m not trying to pick on them, but I’m pointing out things you might not know.

One of my friends from this country has a couple kids. Once, I was taking her kids somewhere and the girl piped up from the backseat, “I wish I were a boy.”
“Why?” I asked her.
“So I could drive a car.”
In her country, women aren’t allowed to drive.

The woman that gave me the skirt can only wear beautiful and colorful clothes inside the privacy of a friend’s home or her own. Anytime she goes outside, any other garb must be completely covered by a head-to-toe black robe; her face is covered except for her eyes.

Women are not allowed to go anywhere in public, unless they are escorted by a male relative. I have been told they are not even allowed to be seen speaking to a man in public.

Once, my friend flew back to her country with her newborn to visit her family. Her husband remained here since he was studying at the university. When it was time for her to leave, her brother dropped her off at the airport. The official at teh airport almost didn’t let her board the plane. “Where is your father? Where is your husband/” She explained that her husband wasn’t traveling with her, she was flying back to him, and that her brother had dropped her off. Finally, she was allowed to board the plane and fly back here. Women can’t leave the country unless they are accompanied by a male relative or have written permission.

A man may divorce his wife but women are not allowed to divorce their husbands. Men may have more than one wife, but women certainly may not do the reverse.

It is interesting to note, though, that women retain their family’s surname when they marry, instead of adopting her husband’s last name. Any children they have, though, get the father’s name. My friends told me also that when a woman has her first son, she is no longer called by her first name but is referred to as “the mother of ______.”

I am told that it is not the wish of the general population for things to remain thus, and it is not even likely the wish of the monarchy there to keep things so strictly controlled, but there is a radical minority that is succeeding in preventing any changes to current policies.

So any change would necessitate a huge divergence from hundreds of years of tradition, not to mention somehow overthrowing or wooing the radicals who are able to keep such tight control in the country.

My friend was sad to go back to her country and lose the freedoms she had here. I got a skirt out of her shoddy deal and lots of perspective on gender inequality in this globe.

My parting thought: Instead of whining about how statistically in the US women make 98.999 cents on every dollar men make, maybe any men or women looking for a gender-equality cause to pick up could move to the Middle East.

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organizations

If I end up actually getting to learn linguistics, I want to work for Wycliffe Bible Translators as a translator.

If I end up being single for a while yet, I want to join Campus Crusade -their young people are really cool and have lots of fun.

If I end up getting married relatively soon, I want to go overseas with the Christian Missionary Alliance. It’d be awesome to raise kids in another country.

If I end up never getting married, I want to work in the slums or in an orphanage in Asia.

If I can’t raise any support, I want to join the International Mission Board (they cover you).

If the US economy really gets in a bad way, I want to go to the jungle with Pioneers. They know how to live with little there.

When I retire, I want to work for Wycliffe Associates.

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