It’s Complicated, or Think McFly! Think!

A quick thought on American society today.

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First of all, the featured image has nothing to do with this post.  I saw the photo.  I liked the photo.  The photo was free to use.  That’s it.  It’s from Stella Tzertzeveli on Unsplash if you want to see more and support her.

With that said, I have a lot of friends.  Okay, let me rephrase… I have a few friends and a crap ton of acquaintances.  Some of them are people that I went to high school with and some are old college friends with whom I’ve lost touch over the years but still get updates from in my Facebook or Twitter feeds.  Some are old co-workers, and some are from old cities and churches where I’ve lived and been a part of.  These people have a lot of differences — race, gender, socio-economic standing, education, and nationality (to name just a few) — but they also have a lot of things in common.  Obviously, they all know me so that’s one point of commonality.  Some are the same race and/or gender.  Some are old and some are young.  Some are rich, some are poor.  Some are super-progressive and some are very conservative.  Some have a college degree, some have a PhD, and some dropped out of high school.  Some are American but others are English, Canadian, Colombian, Kenyan, South African, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and the list goes on.  I say all of this not to point out how many friends I have, or to pat myself on the back for whatever someone might think is worth of that from this list of people.  I bring it up because I recognize that my friends reflect the cultures around me.

I’m not saying it’s a perfect one-for-one comparison, but I am saying that as I watch these friends interact with others on social media and in person, I see certain trends that reflect much of American society.  Likewise, on the rare occasions when these friends disagree with one another (usually as a result of something I’ve shared or posted) I see a lot of the culture in those interactions as well; so don’t take this as a criticism of my friends, but as a critique of what I’ve identified of our American culture in 2018.

I’ll be brief with these, but am happy to speak more on these if anyone is interested in hearing more.

Stop Picking Teams

First things first: Stop picking teams.  Somehow over the last thirty years we’ve stopped being “fellow Americans” and have started self-segregating along intersectional lines.  Not sure what intersectional means?  It’s refers to “the complex and cumulative way that the effects of different forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, and yes, intersect—especially in the experiences of marginalized people or groups“.

Wikipedia is a bit clearer defining it as:

“…an analytic framework which attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society.”

But even if you don’t want to consider the intersectional left as divisive, we can’t deny the divide between the American right and left.  I swear, if you watch the news you’ll get the impression that the American population is broken up as progressive democrats and alt-right conservatives with maybe 5% sprinkled between moderates from both sides.  However, the truth is that the American public is a lot more diverse than that.  What about libertarians?  What about environmentalists?  What about people who just want to leave you alone and be left alone to live their lives?

I understand why we trend toward this type of neo-factionalism (yes I made up a word).  It’s because we are, at a fundamental level, tribal creatures.  It’s why we congregate in cities and towns.  It’s why we celebrate team wins and national athletes.  It’s why we bet on sporting events.  We want — no, need — to be a part of a group or community.  Some of you might disagree with that statement, especially you introverts and I get that.  I enjoy my quiet moments away from crowds, but even in our introvertedness (made up another), we still want to be a part of something.  If you want an example, look to the internet.  Are you a part of any message boards or online communities?  Do you follow any channels on YouTube or Twitch?  Do you actively follow any podcasts, but especially the smaller ones?  All of those are examples of gathering around mutual interests.

However, as with just about anything, we can take it too far.  Just because we are wired to be a part of a group doesn’t mean we must pledge sole allegiance to that group.  For instance, my family heritage is roughly 50% Fijian, 25% Scottish, and 25%Austrian (I haven’t done anything like 23&Me, nor do I plan to but what I know is from family).  I embrace my heritage, but it’s not what defines me.  I love America, but that’s not what defines me.  I’m a libertarian but that’s not what defines me.  My love for Jesus defines me, and directs me to try to love and serve others well, but the title “Christian” as society understands it does not define me.

If things are going to get any better, we have to stop picking teams as we address social and political issues and start loving one another — which leads to the next point.

People You Don’t Like Aren’t Nazi’s

If you’ve called someone you don’t like (especially a politician) “Hitler”, “Literally Hitler”, or “a Nazi”, go repent.  I will wait.  Unless, of course, that person is a self-avowed Nazi or is actually named Hitler… then you get a pass.

In all seriousness though, people need to stop it.  Just because you don’t like Donald Trump doesn’t make him Hitler.  Just because you didn’t like Barack Obama didn’t make him Hitler.  Just because you didn’t like George W. Bush didn’t make him Hitler — and in case anyone has forgotten, we’ve seen that claim for (at least) the last three presidents.

Conservatives who don’t agree with abortion or open borders aren’t Nazis, and neither are progressives who want those things.  Historically speaking Antifa is pretty close, what with using Brown Shirt intimidation and violence, but they’re a pretty extreme example.  Just stop calling people Nazis… it’s not helpful and nobody takes you seriously when you do it.

Everyone is Wrong (to a degree…)

For some reason we like to pretend that relativism is a net good.  While it’s a complex topic, the core of the belief is that every perspective can be true.

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Some people and ideas are wrong.  In fact, I would say that we are all wrong, at least part of the time.  We need to learn some humility and accept that we, and our respective groups, are not the bastions of all truth and knowledge.  Having learned to accept that over the years, I close with the following…

Everything is Complicated

In America today we are dealing with a lot of major social and political issues.  These issue cannot be solved or resolved through a share/retweet an a sentence or two (or ten) of your off-hand commentary.  Major (and even minor) social and political issues are extremely sophisticated.  There are seemingly endless examples of subtle nuance and anecdotal exceptions.  Does that mean we should discount those for the majority narrative?  No, that’s stupid.  But do we also throw out the majority narrative for the minority exception?  No.  That’s also stupid.  As reasonable people, we should be analyzing them together in order to find actual solutions.

But that’s all for now.  It felt good to get that out.  Until next time.

-Jumpman

New Look, New Direction

Hey all, how have you been?  It’s been about 3 years since I wrote anything on this blog but having now done so, this has now become my longest running blog ever!  I started RebornJumpman way back in 2009 — those were simpler times, when I was young and hopeful with dreams of changing the world… nevertheless, time goes by and life looks different than I thought it would.  Anywho, much has happened in the last three years away, which if you also follow Ancient Abandon you already know.

In my time away I’ve been working a lot, finishing school, and generally just doing some growing up.  Ancient Abandon has grown nicely in that time, starting with 5 followers in 2013 and having over 200 in more than a dozen countries today!  However, I have found myself struggling to write for the site lately.  You see, Ancient Abandon has a pretty dedicated purpose — to help the post-modern/post-Christian world understand Christianity and to help Christians walk faithfully with Jesus through life in a postmodern Western society.  It’s a worthwhile ministry, to be sure, however I am a man of many interests.  I like writing/speaking about the news, politics, culture, science, music, film, video games, and all sorts of other things.

RebornJumpman, from the very first post back in 2009, has essentially been a journal-styled outlet for me to share my thoughts on whatever and that is exactly what I find myself in need of.  So with that said, I officially welcome you to RebornJumpman’s resurgence.  If you like what I cover, feel free to follow me, or not… it’s cool either way.  It just feels good to be back!

 

Best wishes,
Jumpman

Avatars: The Danger of Using Social Media Against Friends & Family

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As human beings we are prone to conflict.  But even though we are drawn to conflict, we don’t like it.  That’s why most people avoid controversial topics such as politics and religion.  When someone does take the time to make a statement about their personal views or convictions, the rest of us have the choice: Avoid potential conflict by ignoring it and moving on, or engage and potentially have conflict.

facebook-ouch_0I would say that the majority of the time, when we see/hear these kind of things in our everyday lives we make the first decision and move on because relationships matter, but every so often we engage.  Does the conversation remain civil?  Or does it descend into flame throwing and insults?  If we’re looking at everyday interactions between people I would say it’s usually civil, though it can turn sour, but when the conversations take place on a platform such as Facebook it quickly becomes, what John Green, refers to as “a dark and surreal descent into madness.”

Time and time again I have seen others, and have myself been, the target of attacks on Facebook for my personal opinions and beliefs by people I considered to be friends and even members of my extended family.  What I mean by attacks are not simply “I disagree” kind of things, but the kind of hyperbole and blatant disregard for the person at which their comments are directed, namely an old friend or family member.  If we were having this discussion in the living room or in the car, would such words be used so freely?  Or would there be restraint?  These are questions that need to be asked if we are to continue to live together and interact as friends and family while disagreeing on certain issues.

notw_silhouette-1We hide behind our avatars, even when it’s our own faces.  We disconnect the fact that, not only are we talking to and about real people, but that those we’re speaking of are real people that we say we care about (or at least used to care about).  If we do, truly care for those people still, why do we attack them and their beliefs just because we disagree?  I’m not talking about sharing videos or articles about something that someone else might-possibly disagree with, those are media by which constructive conversation can be had.  What I’m talking about are clear and deliberate attacks on an individual that you personally have a relationship with the intention of making them shut up or look bad so that you can win by any means necessary.  Why does this matter?  Because, as I said before: relationships matter… or they should anyway.  #JustBeingHonest

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Reactivation of RebornJumpman, or an Outlet for the Crazy in My Head

Like SkyNet, RebornJumpman is coming back online.  The last 48 hours or so have been been filled with some pretty lively debates, conversations, and thoughts regarding the happenings of the world with friends and family and frankly my head is spinning.  Over the last few years I’ve noticed that I’ve been using my Facebook more or less as an outlet for what’s on my mind.  Well, apparently it’s causing issues that I’m too tired to deal with so I’m reviving RebornJumpman to remedy the situation.

Truth be told, it’s good to be back here.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the work I’ve been doing on AncientAbandon.com, answering questions and teaching about the Bible, theology, prophecy, and now politics, but I need a place that can just be an outlet for the maze of thoughts in my head.

To anyone that decides to join me on this journey, I welcome you and invite you to join me in civil discussions/debates.

Changes are Coming!

I’ve chosen AncientAbandon as my first dedicated blogging site! Read more and share with your friends!

Ancient Abandon

Changes

Thanks again to all of you who have supported me in my blogging past.  I wanted to take a moment and update you on some changes to look forward to in coming days, weeks, and months.

1. New Domain

In the near future AncientAbandon.wordpress.com will become AncientAbandon.com!

2. New Direction

Up to now this blog has been more or less an outlet for studying the Bible along with sharing lessons I’ve written up for classes and such, as well as the occasion musical post.  Over the last few months my family and I have been undergoing a lot of transition.  During this time I’ve had a chance to reflect on my life and experiences.  I’d like to see this blog become more than just writing about whatever finds it’s way into my mind, which is why I’m redirecting this blog moving forward.  Ancient Abandon will be focused on living as…

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Learning Self Control as a Blogger

blog-bloggingI love blogging.  In fact, I love blogging so much that I’m strongly considering becoming a  part time professional blogger, but last night I had an epiphany.  I write a lot.  Usually I just write whatever is on my mind, which is usually a lot.  As the thoughts spill out through the keystrokes a steady flow of thoughts rushes behind and next thing I know there is a 700+ word post.  That’s great for a featured article-like post, but one thing I’ve noticed on many of the blogs that I enjoy keeping up with have long featured posts but are also filled with short 100-300 word snippets.

And so  I share this understanding with you in my own 126 word snippet.  Self-control for blogging is a much needed lesson.

Wake Me Up, or The Earth is Going Insane

Jesus gave us signs of the end to watch for. Are we watching?

A lot of people over the centuries have claimed the end of the world was near, and I suppose in a way they were right.  I mean at that point in time the end was closer than it had ever been before.  But what I have been noticing lately is a dramatic increase in “end of days kind of stuff.”   Now sure, there are some who are likely to disagree and argue that it’s nothing new but I don’t have the time or energy to get into all of that at the moment.  If you feel compelled, leave a comment or contact me and we’ll talk.  For now:

Disease Outbreaks

Spain has outbreak’s 1st known case of contracting Ebola outside of Africa

Volcanic Activity

Seven Volcanoes In Six Different Countries All Start Erupting Within Hours Of Each Other

Strange Geological Occurances

Two to three feet of hail crippled parts of Mexico City Sunday

Radical Islamists

Turkey says Syria town about to fall as Islamic State advances

Iraqi Christians in U.S. lament ‘slow-motion genocide’ engineered by Islamic State

Islamic State Killed 500 Yazidis, Buried Some Victims Alive

Somali prime minister urges neighbours to secure borders as al-Shabaab losses mount

Nigeria: Boko Haram Torch 185 Churches in Captured Towns of Borno and Adamawa

Boko Haram Beheads Seven Civilians in Northern Nigeria

11,000 Dead in Boko Haram Insurgency

And I could keep going, but I think you get the point.  I bring these up for a reason.  Is it possible that all of this is simply a continuation of how things have been forever?  Sure, I guess.  But historically I don’t think that’s the case, and for the last 10 years whenever I mention something about all of this and signs of the time of Jesus’ return people say,

“Yeah.   I can see the end beginning in 15-20 years. “

It can only be 15-20 years for so long until it’s time and it’s important to watch and be mindful.  Jesus calls us to that:

And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Anyway, now that I got that out, feel free to comment below or contact me directly!