For your Information

“Where is the wisdom we have lost in information?”  I heard this T.S. Eliot quote in one of my favorite British murder mystery television shows, “Inspector Lewis.”

The show is set in Oxford England, one of the world-famous centers of intelligentsia where classical knowledge is rampant and the detectives frequently quote philosophers, well-known scholars, composers, and thinkers of every ilk.  It’s a detective show for thinkers; Ooh la la.

Today’s culture is glutted with information, but it is not my lone opinion that all this available information has not led to a culture filled with wise folk.  In fact, we seem to have a dearth of wisdom to draw upon for inspiration to shine.

Most people want just the facts and don’t take the time to ponder, sift, churn or ruminate the information they obtain in order to glean wisdom, something akin to gold or diamonds.  Too many are willing to settle for dirt, ordinary stone, or coal rather than dig for the gems.

Pete Seeger’s 1955 song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” speaks specifically about war, but generally to the cyclical nature of things.  That song was penned the year of my birth, so it talks my language and reminds me of the cycles that have turned during my lifetime.

One of those cycles which I have lived through is the character of learning, knowledge, and wisdom.  I ask, where have all the intellectual miners gone?  Again, there has been a turnabout from respect for the classical thinkers of Oxford England and our aspiring to understand them, to the instantaneous nature of “Wikipedia-knowledge,” where facts are bantered about as if they’re “the truth and nothing but the truth.”  

I wonder, are we even looking to find answers to the questions we all should be asking?  I think it’s perhaps an old person thing, but do most people these days expect others to do all the intellectual work for them?

My husband and I are in a business where we occasionally receive emails from some college student asking for information which one once went to a library to research for oneself.  It’s as if Wikipedia isn’t even easy enough to access, some folks just go to another expert source and ask outright for the answer. 

Have these people not been taught to do even the simplest of research?  They seem not to want to search for answers, they prefer being spoon fed something that resembles fact.

Must it be either a quick fix or give up; a tell me the answers or I’ll move on to someone who will, cultural environment?  Is T.S. Eliot timeless or what?  His intuition about the failure of information to automatically transform to wisdom was penned in 1934.

There is no wisdom in straight-out information.  It’s just the raw materials, so go to work and make something out of it, already!

Information is not the end of the matter.  It’s just clay.  You must sculpt information into something useful to humankind.  Information is not a finished product.

Because we live in an era of unprecedented access to information, access alone does not result in knowledge or even further, to wisdom.  In order to become wisdom, information is combined in a stew of knowledge, experience, perception, comprehension of the difference between right and wrong, judgment as to when and how to act, and a pinch of common-sense. 

The accomplished race-car driver, Mario Andretti said, “Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.”

In some ways, all the information in the world, impedes knowledge because apparently, we’ve not taught the generations how to process, sift, and understand the morass of informational stimuli we are bombarded with.  More is not better.

I’m told that in digital as well as analog communications, there is something called SNR or a “signal-to-noise ratio.”  That’s a technical phrase specific to the field of communications, but it is useful to this discussion of information-processing, or FYI, “for your information.”

Simply put, “signal” is the meaningful information that one is actually trying to glean.  “Noise” is random, unwanted stuff that interferes with the signal.  It’s my judgment that the signal to noise ratio in our culture today has got to be a generous 20/80; twenty percent signal to eighty percent noise.

Therefore, I’m not picking on anybody for trying to simplify the process of information gathering, and often getting it wrong.  There’s too much chaff floating around the environment, to see through it to glean the grain of value.

But let’s not stop trying.  As I am told that one should aim above the mark, to hit the mark, it’s probably smart to aim high toward wisdom, and strive to get there, but be content with compounding knowledge, in the process.  W. Clement Stone put it this way, “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

It’s a personal quirk of mine to dig to the depths, in fact my website ( testifies to this tendency.  It might be that one of my targets has always been wisdom, and depth of thought is part of the process.  I will leave you with a favorite quote by an anonymous writer, “To reach a great height, a person needs to have great depth.”





I’m not sure why we wait until we’re struggling or hurting, to heed the universal advice for mental and physical health.  Live one day at a time.  Take one step at a time.  Put one foot in front of the other one.

Maybe it’s that life is so fast paced and we automatically move from one thing to the next until difficulty stops us in our tracks.  Until challenges shock us out of our routines and expectations, we forget to live in the moment.

Have you ever awakened to a fresh new day with a positive outlook and some plans for how you expect your day to play out?  Then you got up.

After assessing the brand-new crisis that faces you as you roll out of bed, you utter to your partner: “this is not how I envisioned my day, how about you?”

You’re forced into problem-solving mode and all the while in the back of your mind you’re mulling longingly over the day you had expected.  You move fluidly inside your fight or flight adrenaline-flooded bubble, from one step to the next.

Scripture says in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  That Scripture-writer sure hit the nail on the head.  Just maybe, I can tackle today if I can just stick to only this complicated day and not ponder tomorrow just yet.

You’ve successfully faced the loss of your vision, and its plan B instead.  You’ve already adapted to the new plan and you’ll overcome both the sense of loss of the original plan, and the crisis that took its place.

You’re in the marines now, the one of “adapt, improvise, and overcome” fame.  You’re a true warrior.

I didn’t feel much like a warrior, however, on one Monday not long ago when our elderly cat decided to throw a wrench into our plans for the day, not to mention the weeks ahead.  He relieved himself quite extensively under our bed.  And yes, we store sundry things under there, don’t you?

Oh my.  The entire room had to be cleared and the wood floor pulled up with a chunk of it, destroyed.  Needless to say, I had other plans for that Monday.  But needs be, we adapted but it’ll take a few weeks, to overcome.

Today when I got up with those familiar feelings of expectation and plans for the day, I quickly switched my expectations to hopes.  I hope for a few things, at least, to “turn out” the way I envisioned.

“Just put one foot in front of the other,” we say to assuage the hurt in stressed-out friends and loved ones who’ve encountered sickness, pain, procedures, fear, failure, loss, or anxiety about what’s next.  How obvious is the sentiment, “put one foot in front of the other?” However, few of us walk so deliberately.  We scamper and slide from one thing straight into the next, unless something happens to call us to attention.

Then there’s “one step at a time.”  Martin Luther King Jr said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

When pondering the concept of “one,” I noticed that “one” is always first, the lead.  A baby learning to toddle or an adult learning to walk after a trauma of some sort, are examples of the first step as the first of forward momentum, and possibilities galore.

“One” can be an only, or followed by another.  So, one and only reminds me that “alone” and “lonely” are not the same.  Harry Nilsson’s 1968 song, “One (is the loneliest number)” which might make us think that being a one and only is lonely, was really penned when the songwriter tried to make a phone call and got a busy signal.

It’s not such a sad song after all.  It really is up to you to define “one” and to take courage while doing anything for the first time.

Edward Hale puts it into perspective by saying, “I am only one, but still I am one.”  One person can make a difference.  You’ve got this one life, what are you going to do with it?

Then there’s “one love.”  What a wonderful anomaly.  In fact, there are many kinds of love and I think most people encounter more than one love in their lives.  There is eros (romantic love), philos (friendship), and agape (unconditional/religious love).  Take your pick, but like Nike, do it.

“Looking out for number one” is either the most self-centered of outlooks or it is an act of necessary self-love in the biblical sense of “love your neighbor as yourself.”  It would be nice if looking out for number one were just the beginning of an outward spiraling concern for all of humankind, not the selfish kind of oneness.

So, if you’ll wait one minute, please, or if not exactly a minute, then wait one moment of indefinite length and I’ll just conclude this tome with a “once upon a time” tale.   One time, there was a brand-new day and I took it one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other, to see what this day would bring. 

We’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow, thank you very much.  Today is day one.

I Wonder

Do you ever wonder about random things?  I do.

For instance, the other day I wondered if aluminum foil has any aluminum in it at all.  That random thought took me back to a moment when I read a sign at a recycling center, saying that they don’t take aluminum foil because “cans are cans and foil is foil.”

Because that sign was so adamant, I wondered if foil is maybe just paper coated in aluminum.  As it turns out, aluminum foil is ninety-eight-point five percent aluminum, created in an interesting process where the molten alloy is rolled thin and solidified between large, water-cooled chill rollers. During the final rolling, two layers of foil are passed through the mill at the same time…” (U.S. Department of Agriculture).   There’s probably a factory or two somewhere where one could observe that interesting creation.

I’m enamored with manufacturing, and people who make things with their hands.  Although it causes me and the go-zillions of others who buy the things others make, feel a smidgen useless at times.

Inventors are the most fascinating of people.  Is “necessity the mother of invention”, and “if there’s a will there’s a way?”

I think if I’m not mistaken, since the 1950s we in the U.S. are known as a service economy rather than a manufacturing one.  I wonder if that’s true.  Yep, pretty much, with the service sector hovering around eighty percent of the economy.

I wonder how they keep cling wrap from clinging during manufacture.  I guess I don’t wonder enough to spend time watching a descriptive YouTube video.

I wonder which came first, chop sticks or forks.  Actually, I think the Chinese have us on that one.

Who decided that dandelions are weeds and should be eliminated?  Who decided that lawns should be continuous masses of blade upon blade of grass?  Doesn’t the Bible say blades of grass wither and fade?  I wonder if perhaps everything is temporary.

Some people work tirelessly to eliminate any odd plant coming up in their yard, while others nonchalantly throw litter into other people’s yards.  Go figure, people are funny.

I wonder how they make wax paper.  You’ve gotta love the U.S. Department of Agriculture who tells me, wax paper is really tissue paper (like I thought aluminum foil was), and “made with a food-safe paraffin wax which is forced into the pores of the paper and spread over the outside as a coating.”

I wonder if the stuff I put into the recycling bin is really recycled.  Sadly, I heard somewhere that some recycling really just gets dumped into a landfill.  But then I read a list of the things that are, or can be made from recycled materials.  For instance, aluminum cans and milk bottles become new cans and bottles; cardboard becomes toilet tissue, paper towels, etc.

I wonder how they used to coat bath tubs and sinks in that glorious eternally shiny ceramic before they flooded the market with the fiberglass/plastic ones.  I imagine a big crane of sorts dipping them into a vat of liquidy mud kind of stuff and hanging them to drip dry.

How do they keep super glue from adhering to the tube?

I wonder why you prefer earthy brown and beige and sand and I prefer sky blue and yellow and green.  In fact, why do we have preferences at all?  Why isn’t lavender, honeysuckle, or gardenia a pleasant aroma to everybody?  And why doesn’t garlic turn everybody off?

How do they make paper into cardboard?  In fact, how do they make trees into paper, into boards?  And what’s that smell that used to come from the paper mill?  I know the answers having lived shouting distance from “the paper mill,” but I’ve wondered.

I wonder what mechanism allows some people’s bodies to dismiss heavy humidity in the air and others of us to nearly drown in it with wet air sticking to our skin like white on rice.

How does bluing make fabric white yet permanently stains a glass jar?

I wonder why some people are curious to know and others are satisfied to be told.  For that matter I wonder who decided that cats represent the curious and cows are “fat as,” clams are happy, pigs like mud, bigger is better, there are answers to every question, or money solves every problem.

When there is so much to learn, I wonder why so many folks can dismiss wonderingI wonder if wonder causes some of us to wander or even if the two words are at all related.

Please don’t feel you must set me straight in all these and other things that I wonder about.  Because first I believe there’s not a thing wrong with crooked things and not everything or everybody needs to “straighten up.”

Secondly, I think maybe the act of wondering isn’t the bit of stimulus in this world that makes life worth living.  So, I’m thinking that a modicum of wondering never hurt anybody.


Be angry, but…

So, here’s the thing.  There is not much that peeves, grieves, and rankles the blue blazes out of me, more than some banking or credit company personnel demanding to speak with my husband before I can conduct business with them over the telephone.  I mean, what year are we talking here?

Where are they when you need your credit and banking information to be truly secure?  But, try to do business concerning your own accounts and bingo, they are as secure as Fort Knox.

Especially over the last few years, every human being and their donkey want to be recognized for autonomous liberty to be heard.  And yet, even when I am a joint account holder with my partner at some financial institution (not local), I’m still treated way too much as the little lady of the house, with few brain cells remaining from “all that darn washing, ironing, dusting, and baby-making” to speak to a customer service representative.

I mean really, didn’t we burn our bras over fifty years ago?  Yes, I’m ranting, raving, hollering, and maybe cussing a little bit.

This indignity bugs me.  Maybe it’s mostly because in our partnership, household and business, I handle the lion’s share of the management.  So, I’m the one calling a customer service representative when things go wonky.

I’m the one pushing forward through the morass of paperwork and internet hoo-hah to get the job done.  I get the headaches and have to go for a cleansing walk outdoors to get the nonsense of bureaucracy out of my head.

So, when some woman, man or child says to me, usually at the end of a long day of similar silliness and I want to finish one last chore that beckons from my desk, “who’s the primary account holder,” because they couldn’t possibly put two people as primary, and I reply honestly, “my husband.”  It happens.

“May I speak with your husband to get permission to continue speaking with you.”  Oh, my word, can you hear me screaming?  I haven’t needed permission to speak since high school where we were taught to raise your hand until acknowledged.

I want so badly to shout, “I am a joint account holder, not the little woman, and my husband has no clue what I need to know from you.  Why is it that you have to get his permission to speak to the person who knows what we need from you?”

If I were seeking that same information over the Internet, my neighbor’s dog could be getting the permissions that I can’t get as the secondary account-holder, over the telephone.  To be frank, I didn’t want to be bothered with opening that account so my husband said he would do it.  He got two-thirds of the way through the process and asked me to finish it.  And here we are.

If this were to happen in the reverse, and I were the primary account-holder, and my husband, a secondary, trying to get answers over the phone, which is never going to happen, I couldn’t scream institutional sexism.  And I hope, it would happen to him the same way it happened to me.  Otherwise, it truly is institutional sexism.

As it turns out, this written rant was begun when I was angry.  I knew, that I’d wait a bit and the anger would subside, then I’d edit.

However, I began to think, instead of editing my diatribe, about how best to handle anger in general.  I grew up in the Christian Church and I’ve read Scripture for many years.  In fact, the recesses of my heart, head, and my entire being is permeated with Scripture, which leaks out in the oddest moments and sometimes relates to the funniest experiences.

The first Scripture that comes to mind about handling anger is, “be angry and sin not,” from Ephesians, Chapter 4. I know that anger hurts the one who carries the anger around.  One can exercise, cry, work, yell, cuss, journal, talk-it-out and in the end, anger held, just becomes self-harm.

We all get angry.  It’s what we do with it that matters.  I think we can’t let it transform into something else.  So, go ahead and be angry, but….

I guess we all should seek to be butterflies.  I think something called righteous anger is supposed to make us into butterflies.  We’re maybe supposed to be angry, accept it, then turn it into something useful to humanity, or a much more complex entity like knowledge, wisdom, amusement, forgiveness, or art.

So, to all you bureaucracies out there, stop trying to clog up my pores with your untenable and absurd policies.  I’m moving on and you can absorb all the sunshine and flowers emanating out of my newly cleansed pores.  Until next time.

What you pay for

Do you always get what you pay for?  Sometimes.

When my favorite off-brand of fig bars was unavailable, my husband generously sprung for the significantly more expensive and familiar name brand.  The texture was all wrong to my taste and they just didn’t cut it.

As to clothing, a hundred percent cotton is the same thing whether the label says Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, or no known name.  Cashmere is cashmere whether you purchased it at Goodwill or Saks Fifth Avenue.  In this instance you may have paid more than you received by buying a “name,” whether on a label or on a marquee.

Sometimes a generic or an “off-brand” is just right.  But in some circumstances a brand name product is truly the better product.  We all have our preferences, none is right nor wrong, just choices we make.

Whether it’s Heinz, Hunts, or Clover Valley, is ketchup, ketchup, or maybe catsup?  Some would argue, not so much; others will go for whatever is cheapest; yet others will aim to impress you and me by paying more for the name.

One can buy Michael Kors clothing at one of his flagship stores in New York, London, Paris, or many other places in the world.  Then again, you can buy his label in most department stores, outlets, Ross, T J Maxx, or find a gem at Goodwill.

Are you getting what you paid for?  Perhaps it’s in the eye of the beholder.

What about services?  Sometimes the tip for a restaurant server is automatically calculated in the bill.  What if the server was disinterested, inefficient, rude, or subpar?  In that case you didn’t get what you paid for.

I noticed recently with two different shipping companies that when there were “known issues” with their service, I didn’t get a break in the fees.  I pay the same thing whether the service flows smoothly as advertised or if there are significant issues with the service.

I did not get what I paid for, and their trite, “we apologize for the inconvenience,” just didn’t relieve my headache or soothe my frayed nerves.  I did get a laugh at their “workaround” which they sent to me while they continue to work on that “known issue.”

The problem, you see, was with a label receipt.  In some cases, a receipt is important.  But I was told in the workaround, to “just don’t print the receipt.”  “Uh, the receipt is vital to our record-keeping, so I’ll just continue to hand write the number on it until you fix the glitch, sometime between tomorrow and the fifth of never.”  “Okay.”

The other company’s workaround was also amusing.  It resembled the universal, high-tech fix, which is, “unplug it and plug it back in.”  I was told to enter a fake address at the beginning of the form, fill in the remainder of the form but before confirming the entry, go back and change the address to the International one where the shipment was to be sent.

It worked.  Isn’t life crazy, fun, and occasionally mind-numbingly absurd?

Recently while cleaning up after a party, and having to throw out a few plastic bowls, my compatriot said, “well, I’ve found with Dollar Tree items, I usually use them two or three times before I have to throw them out.”  I’d say for a dollar-twenty-five, a few good uses, and occasionally well beyond that, is getting what we paid for. 

The grapes I paid two dollars a pound more for at one store than the cheaper ones at another store, turned out to be awful.  As I dumped them into the compost, I muttered “there goes six dollars down the tubes.”  I usually counter my negative thoughts with something like, “oh well, I’ve wasted six dollars on worse things.”

On the other hand, there have been times when I’ve paid a few dollars extra for something and it did not disappoint.  But then we have watermelons and cantaloupe.  Aren’t they just a crap-shoot?

We will think we purchased a gem that has the nice wide stripes, is round, not oblong, bears the brown/yellow stain from the ground where the vine laid its produce, and get it home, cut into it and it’s pithy, or anemic pink, or bright red close to rotten.  Oh my, “that’s five dollars towards the wildlife fund.”

One time many years ago, my friend Barb and I drove across country on a youthful “walkabout” or discovery tour, whatever you want to call it.  I recall that somewhere in the mountains out west, or was it the desert, anyway we had a lengthy conversation about the distinguishing merits of Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars, from the “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t” fame.  Well, let me conclude this not so lengthy tome with a similar, “sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes you don’t.” 

Walking poem of Thanks

Thank you for the trees

The breeze

And my knees.

I’m an outdoor fitness walker.  I usually try to walk adjacent to some woods but not in them in summer.  I’m a bit too susceptible to leaf poisons so I stick to a path or pavement this time of the year.  But I’ve got to have some trees very nearby.

I’m not a fan, pun intended, of Pennsylvania’s summer humidity.  I respond badly to thick, still, moist air that sticks to your body like cling-wrap.  It’s not a happy place, for me.  So, when a nice breeze kicks up during my warm weather walks, it’s a cause to raise my arms in a Hallelujah gesture of relief, praise and delight.

My knees, containing a goodly amount of arthritis now for over a decade, are usually happy during my fitness walks.  But once in a while, arthritis, likes to make its presence known.  So, I’m grateful for the strong ligaments and supportive muscles surrounding my knees, oh, and for Tylenol and Ibuprofen.


Thank you for the bees

The freeze

And the tease.

My husband has raised honeybees off and on for nearly forty years and we value these critters for their multi-purposeful endeavors to support vegetation worldwide.  I’ve been stung by them, with my classic grotesque reaction, a few times over the years but in all fairness, it was because I intruded into their space, not because of predatory meanness.

It’s vital to the growing season that we have a freeze.  Sometimes, our Pennsylvania freezes come at what we perceive as inopportune times, but without a freeze, there would be – well, no growth, either.

Both Spring and Fall or Autumn are the tease-seasons.  We get a glimpse of Summer; every Spring and we see what Winter might be like in the Autumn as well as a reminder of summer warmth.  I wouldn’t have it any other way that Pennsylvania experiences all four of the ever-changing seasons.  But those tease-seasons are the best.


Thank you for the ease

The sneeze

Excuse me please.

Isn’t it awesome once in a while to take a breather and experience some ease?  I think a sneeze is a breather of sorts, because it clears your head of the stuffed-up accumulation of toxins that have piled up in there.  Gesundheit and God Bless You.


Thank you for the keys

Remedies for fleas

And the vast, open seas.

I’m grateful for the keys that lock and unlike private spaces, secret codes, and the mysteries of the world and the heavens.  Oh, but finding your keys, that’s another story altogether.

Even if it takes a comb and a container of soapy water, a rather simple yet effective procedure, we can usually get rid of those jumping-jacks from our pets, sooner or later.

As to the seas, isn’t it wonderful that since “everybody’s lookin for somethin…we can travel the world and the seven seas” along with Annie Lennox, and hopefully find, that something that we need, to fulfill our “Sweet Dreams.”


Thank you for the she’s

The he’s

All of these.

I’m cool with the different genders.  We aren’t the same but complimentary.  You’re good at this, I’m good at that.  We go together, birds of a feather, as I reference The Pointer Sisters yet again, from “We are fam-i-ly.”









Thank you for lilies


And shopping sprees.

I couldn’t be too grateful for lilies, my favorite flower.  And just like doves, the birds of peace and partnership, lilies are referenced in the Bible as representative of the tenderest of vegetation that God does not neglect in his care, how much more does he care for us mere mortals.

Have you ever eaten fresh, raw peas from the pod?  You’re missing out if you haven’t.  Usually sweet and delicious.

What more can be said about shopping sprees.  I’m far from a shopaholic, but I do love a day once in a blue moon to “go get what I want” at a favorite store like Ross, or don’t even mention Amazon….


Thank you for The Smokies

The Rockies

And The Pyrenees.

I am a lover of mountains.  Any of them, all of them will do.  Driving along mountain passes is my happy place; walking in them is “Almost Heaven,” thank you John Denver.

Metaphorically I’ve climbed a lot of mountains and made it to the top.  It’s a nice view.


Thank you for all of these

And please

Read this at ease.

I wrote this eclectic and random poem during a walk one day.  It just sort of spewed from my soul, so it’s not even close to professionally crafted.  But, as with many of my dreams, I recorded this poem on my phone’s notepad; otherwise, these things are too fleeting to capture.

There is so very much that we can complain about, bombarding us each moment of our lives – and I confess I do enough complaining for the both of us.  I wanted in this column to share a collection of things I’ve been thankful for.  Write your own poem of thanksgiving; you might be surprised how long your tome will be.

Trolls Intend to Offend

Many folks of a certain age who think we’re still young but who are we kidding, played with things called trolls when we were kids.  Whoa baby, times have changed.  Trolls today are mean-spirited bullies who verbally and wholly rip to pieces those with whom they disagree.

Trolls in the 1960s were small hand-sized dolls, if you will, that had wild, “Don King hair” of colors such as fuchsia, canary yellow, blue or green.  They were creatures otherworldly but benign to our childlike minds and hearts.  They were play things.

There may be one or more troll dolls in a holding pattern somewhere in the crevices of our attic or I may have thrown them away in my more zealous Christian period.  In the Scandinavian folk stories of long centuries passed, the trolls of legend, were quarrelsome, antisocial, and slow-witted creatures.

Today’s trolls, and there are aplenty in the world of the Internet and beyond, are especially quarrelsome, human beings.  Their entire existence is based on malicious intent to inflame a reaction from their many targets.

If you have a weakness, and you feel strongly about something, anything, you’re likely to be baited by a troll.  Trolls viciously attack people personally just because they disagree with them.

The Internet has given every ordinary citizen the opportunity to express his or her opinion in increasingly harsh terms and nasty language.  And we had a President, like him or not, who bluntly disparaged everyone with whom he disagreed.  This President does the same, really, but in a slightly different style.  This is now.

Some of the first targets of Internet trolls, way back in the 90s were Christians.  Imagine that.  The Bible says something about Christians being targeted for persecution and voila, here we are, prime bait for trolls.

Why bait Christians?  Many have strong, uncompromising beliefs.  And there are so many kinds of Christians with a myriad of specific beliefs that make this group enticingly ripe for the spoils of Internet-anonymous, vindictive trolls.

I’ve heard it said about Judaism, that there are practicing Jews and there are ethnic Jews or folks who are of Jewish heritage but do not practice Judaism, the religion.  But I’ve not heard the same about Christianity.

However, there are Christians who identify as Christian because of family or ancestral tradition.  Or, maybe historically, these guys associate with Christianity as their religion, but they rarely practice it except on religious holidays and tragedies or near-tragedies, when prayer is emergent.

The Bible, an historical document, sacred to millions, and which references three historical religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, makes its “hermeneutics,” the science of interpretation, ripe for trolls. Some Christians are militant political warriors and will put up a fight in defense of Scripture.  This is all delightful fodder for trolls.

Do you know that one definition of evil is, intent to harm or at the least, ambivalence toward harm done?  Trolls of any ilk, however, are so extremely self-centered that they don’t consider their assaults on another’s emotional or spiritual well-being, to be wrong, or evil.  “What’s wrong with making a point,” they ask.

Sadly, because of the “you bully because you’ve been bullied” circle of life, there are Christian trolls out there on the world wide web, alongside the others who troll.  Christians are not immune to intentionally perpetrating unkindness toward other Christians not of their kind, denomination, sect, worship-style, church attendance, shared political favorites, or interpretation of the Bible.  Unbelievers are considered okay fodder for Christian trolls because they’re not “one of us.”

Trolls are otherwise called, “malignant narcissists,” or in plain speech, self-involved bullies who often hide behind the shield of Internet anonymity.  They just don’t care who they harm. It’s a “me first, you thirst” attitude.

I believe that most Christians don’t intend to offend when they act out their spiritual faith.  But I also think that some of us just offend some people by being who we are.

Internet trolls, however fully intend to offend the folks they target for offense.  Who does that?  I thought such behavior was reserved for sociopaths or psychopaths.  But if you follow any thread of conversation or comment on the Internet, you’ll encounter a troll or two with their daggers out.

Perhaps folks like this just don’t have enough to do.  If you have the time, or maybe I should say, take the time, to make ignorant comments about random people on the Internet, seriously, you need something productive to do with your time.

If you’ve ever looked at a well-developed depiction of a family tree you will have observed that it’s loaded with branches.  From the main trunk, large branches extend outward with bunches of branches growing out of other bunches of branches.

When I think about Christians, “the Family of God,” I’m reminded of The Pointer Sisters song, “we are fam-i-ly, I got all my sisters with me…we’re together…birds of a feather….”  Christians are a family with all kinds of brothers and sisters, half-sisters and step-brothers, all stemming from the same root system and trunk.

Many families don’t see eye to eye on everything, but most of us acknowledge our connectedness. We’re kin, and there is a history and familiarity that reminds us that we’re related through a similar ancestor.  Kinship garners respect, if not agreement.

You’ve heard the saying that you can’t pick your family.  And honestly, we can’t expect to agree with the whole “family of man,” or even accept them.  But maybe we should start acting like kin, just the same.

There’s something to be said for the concept of “live and let live,” and to just shut upHow about instead of trolling the folks we don’t see eye to eye with, we scroll on past and adopt the benign concept of, “no comment.”