For those of us who grew up in a mostly physical world, there are some virtual curiosities that cause us to pause and ponder. One of the most fascinating to me is how people relate to one another through games and social tools. One of my talents in real life is the ability to read nonverbal cues and adjust to the social situation accordingly. Since most virtual worlds are devoid of such cues, I have at times been left in difficult, sometimes even embarrassing situations. Suffice it to say, I’m still learning how to interact with other people through the electronic tools that are now so pervasive in our lives.
Father’s Day was this past weekend, and I’ve only recently become aware over the past ten years or so how tricky these types of family holidays have become. In the “good old days”, I used to find a suitable greeting card for my parents, and possibly try and do something nice for them (like pick up my room) in order to show my gratitude and love towards them. That was pretty much as complicated as it got. Then came social media, and it became an even greater expression of appreciation to share your feelings towards your loved ones with your entire sphere of influence and beyond.
I am a Christian.
It took me a long time to say that on this blog. Not because I’m ashamed of the fact, nor that I’m unsure of it, but because I was worried about being perceived as something I’m not. Afraid of being improperly categorized due to someone’s preconceived notions of what that label means. And let’s not pretend that it doesn’t happen. Simply by saying the word “Christian” I’ve placed a picture in your mind of someone, or an idea of someone, based on your past experiences or education. Same as if I were to say “Cowboy” or “Blue Collar” or “Politician”. Those words carry with them pictures, attitudes, and the temptation to reach down into the toolbox, pull out the broad brush, and paint an entire landscape of individuals with the same color. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s how the human brain makes sense of the world. The problem is, even within our own specific category, we’re not all the same, are we? There are some Cowboys that even other Cowboys, true Cowboys, don’t want to be associated with. Like Roy Rogers.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. For the last several years, my sanity during the morning and evening commutes has been maintained by a trusty list of shows that are currently of interest. Recently it occurred to me that I’ve never actually posted about the shows that I enjoy, which seems odd considering that I’m such a proponent of word-of-mouth advertising for the medium! First of all, I do almost all of my listening on a mobile device, my Samsung Galaxy S5 using Shifty Jelly’s Pocketcast app. I think I paid $3.99 for the app, but since I’ve already paid, I’m having trouble determining if that price is still accurate (simply shows as “installed” in the Google Play store page). At any rate, it was a small price to pay for an app that does exactly what I need with suitable customization that I literally use every single day.