Joe Part II

Joe is everyman, and everyman is Joe. We have all been Joe, and we run the distinct possibility of being Joe again in the future.

To this end, here is the road map of red flags, when taking stock of one’s own heart, to see if love of (*) is leading you down the path of Joedom. Don’t go that way, beloveds. That way lies madness.

  1. The Degree to Which You Like Someone Depends on Their Affiliation with (*). If someone is WAY into (*), they are instantly your best friend. If they are not, they are non grata. Yes, it’s understandable to gravitate towards like minded people, but it’s not always laudable. In a world of tribes and cliques, Love of Humans should transcend love of (*).
  2. If Someone doesn’t like (*), it bothers you. A lot. You lose sleep over it. You try to talk them into it, only to be met with frustration. You finally realize that you can’t even with them, because they don’t love (*). How can you trust someone who doesn’t love (*)? It’s basic human decency to be on the side of (*). Right?
  3. (*) puts you in conflict with others. They feel that (*) gets in the way of your relationship with them, and you are frustrated because (*) is such a big part of who you are that a rejection of (*) feels like a rejection of you. How hurtful is that, that they don’t empathize and identify with (*) when it’s that important to you?

In conclusion, (*) will never matter as much as relationships. If and when it does, (*) has reached the status of a false god, a god that cannot redeem you or love you or give you what you actually need. Sure, love (*), but no more than it deserves–it deserves the love of all non-human, non-Salvific things. It deserves the same love as a Big Mac, or a pair of shoes you know you’ll outgrow. It’s something that will pass away, and become irrelevant.

The End

 

 

(*)=  Political Affiliation, School of Thought, Worldview, or MLM of your choice

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The Story of Joe

Disclaimer: This is not an indictment of (*). I enjoy (*), and most people, I think, also do.

Once upon a time, there was bright, zealous, well meaning church member named Joe. Whether by upbringing, or by discovery as an adult, s/he became involved in (*).

There was truth to be had in (*). Lots of truth. It was easy to tie it back to Gospel Truth. The truth in (*) made Joe feel good, grounded, part of something exciting and real. As Joe progressed in their knowledge and involvement in (*), it also made them feel important. Joe began to make a name for themselves, in real life, and especially online. The writings of Joe came to be admired, championed as pioneering thoughts on the matter of (*).  Before Joe knew it, they were making money, and then a living preaching the gospel of (*).  Can you believe it–Joe became so good at (*) they could build a career on it? Extraordinary, and so exciting.

Joe rose through the ranks of (*), meeting the heads of the field, experts and dignitaries, and, inspired by their greatness, and their glorious condescension in mentoring Joe, Joe threw themselves into the work of (*) with renewed fervor. The glorious, heady high was wonderful, but Joe felt a stirring within him.   It was unfair to keep this light under a bushel. Selfish, even. Sure, there were people who naturally flocked to Joe because they had an interest in (*). But that wasn’t enough.

Joe handpicked people to recruit and mentor, sometimes invoking the spirit when explaining to prospective mentees the gravity and importance of what they were offering. Joe wished all to come unto the Gospel of (*), but also formed a special, insular club around himself of specially recruited adherents they had personally vetted and trained. They could be trusted to hold the proper reverence due to something as important as (*).

There were problems, yes. Sometimes Joe’s spouse or offspring became withdrawn or resentful because of the time, attention, and money that went into (*). Sometimes they didn’t appreciate the importance of what Joe was doing, when Joe bent the whole family’s lifestyle around the tenants of (*). Sometimes, Fellow church members, or even church leadership expressed concern or frustration with the way that (*) worked its way into every  testimony Joe bore, every lesson they taught, every comment they made in class. Sometimes, sometimes.

Joe had seen it happen. Divorces and excommunications where the haters blamed (*). That wasn’t really the problem. (*) was the truth and the light.

The real problem is, people just DIDN’T. Understand. How. Important. (*). Is.

They didn’t understand how (*) is really the Gospel, and how the Gospel is (*).

Joe read this blog post, and meant to write a long reply about how it doesn’t apply and/or how this is blasephemy against (*), but then thought better of it. There is no time for that, because Joe’s time is needed for (*), not for haters who just don’t understand.

 

*(Essential Oils/ Feminism/ Crossfit/ Homeopathy/ Political Worldview or MLM of Your Choice)

Why My Facebook Account is Mostly Inactive (or, Calm Down, I Didn’t Unfriend You)

It has to be said. So here it is.

 

  • I don’t like being that available. I resisted getting a cell phone until after I was a married adult, halfway through college, in 2006. I didn’t text anyone regularly until 2014, and I didn’t get a smart phone until 2015. I have no regrets, and wish I was more of a Luddite. Having my Facebook profile mostly inactive is a way of carving out that autonomy in a hyperconnected world.
  • I like being surprised by our in person conversations. When I ask how you’ve been, or answer when you ask, I want there to be that lovely spark of interest and newness to the situation. When I tell you about my compound fracture from having been trampled by an elephant, I would rather you say, “WHAT?!” rather than, “oh yeah, I saw your post.”

 

 

  • On that note, I miss the realness of more personal communication. I used to hate texting, but frankly, compared to getting a “like” on a social media status, texting feels personal, mindful, and real. I am here for you, I like you, and I think you’re awesome, even if I’m not reading, “reacting to,” or commenting on your social media. Social media relationships are cheap, easy, prolific, and all to easily slide into good or evil flavors of superficiality. Text, call, write a letter, or visit. I want us to be friends, rather than having our frienship being filtered through our online personas.
  • Because an online persona is impossible to avoid. Online personas are, admittedly, somewhat necessary. It’s not appropriate to share everything with everyone, and because of this, we develop our online “brand,” either consciously or otherwise. I’d rather know you from what I’ve seen of you when we’re together in person. I’d rather not be preconditioned, for better or worse, by my impressions of your online brand. And I’d rather you see me for me, rather than my brand.
  • Because sometimes, I’m creeped out. It has happened on two separate occasions with two separate people–the individual unfriended me, then casually photographed me (not the group type photo you expect to show up on social media), then posted it to Facebook without my knowledge or consent and tagged our mutual friends. Since I’m not in the habit of scrolling the pages of people who’ve unfriended me, the discovery of these came in a roundabout, after the fact way, and was somewhat unsettling both times. People, don’t do this. If you’re unfriendly enough with someone to unfriend them, maybe you aren’t on intimate enough terms with that someone to post photos of them without their knowledge and consent? (Maybe you should always ask?) Just maybe.
  • Because social media can create weird little corners of voyeruism and exhibitionism, including, but not limited to, point no. 5. When I realize I’m accustomed to reading the daily update of someone I only sort of know, passively taking in the dramatic narrative of his/ her life without actually interacting with him/ her, that’s just… no. When I realize I am also supplying this for other people, it’s also, just…. NO. See point no. 2.
  • Social media makes people weird, depressed, pessimistic about world events, and insecure. Science says so! I have no doubt that you’re the exception. But I’m definitely not.
  • I have a love/ hate relationship with attention. I’m a middle child. This sort of dysfunction is my jam. Getting attention is my drug, but going unnoticed and underestimated is my SUPERPOWER. I say that without an ounce of irony. There are many, many advantages to obscurity, and I revel in them. These days, I’m all about playing to my strengths.
  • I only have so much time and energy. And I’ve been getting careful about where it goes. Even when Facebook doesn’t take up much time, it can take a lot of brainspace–thinking about what everyone has to say, turning ideas and new and commentary over in my head, posing arguments or wondering if they’ve considered (x, y, z), even if I don’t even respond–can be a habit that drains energy that’s better spent elsewhere. I’ve got 5 homeschooling kids, several church callings, community work, and a writing life, that are all (on paper) bigger priorities for my thoughts and passion. I really shouldn’t be spending my energy debating the merits and pitfalls of unvaccinated vs. vaccinated undocumented endangered fruitbat circumcision healthcare coverage, not even in my head. It’s OK that that’s your cause, but I’m quite certain, compelling as this topic is, that it shouldn’t be a priority for me right now. I’ve got witch burnings to write about.
  • In conclusion, I love you, I didn’t unfriend you, and if you happen to be a relation and/ or dear friend, please don’t be afraid to reach out. Because seriously, you are the best, and I mean that even though I totally missed the docudrama of how delicious your Chipotle burrito was last Wednesday. I’m on Twitter (for professional reasons) and Instagram (I don’t know why, I’ll quit if it becomes a habit and/or gains an actual following–see point 8). You’re free to connect there, for, you know, pictures of my zinnias.