If you’ve ever watched a YouTube channel, you’ve seen video titles like this – click bait. They’re sensationalized statements that have little to nothing to do with the video and are designed to get you to click on the video so the video creator gets just one more click. Now, I wouldn’t lower myself to such tactics to get clicks on my blog, but it would be nice to sometimes get more than five views a day.
Today I planned on writing this totally awesome post about YouTube and it’s ability to create division in our society. As an extra layer, I planned on weaving the current state of Biblical studies in the modern Christian church into this rant. Trust me my early thinking was epic – I mean genius level.
This morning while I was in church, when I was supposed to be listening the sermon I made some notes about this post that were going through my mind so I wouldn’t forget later. I just read what I wrote and … oh heck, here’s what I wrote:
Compare woodworking with metal working videos on YouTube as it relates to Bible study and myopic tendencies in modern thinking and social interactions.
Huh? I don’t even get that. Now I have no idea what I was trying to say and clear whatever post was in my brain this morning was clearly the result of being woken early and having a low caffeine level. Also on the same page (actually the back of the church bulletin, just after the weekly calendar), is a note for a poem I am working on for my lectionary project. This week I am working on a poem in response to Matthew 6:1-6.
Are you ready for this? Here’s my notes for the poem:
Poem: Actors and applause.
That’s actually a lot more clear and concise when compared to the wackiness above. Hum, and it’s not that bad. Might be the whole poem, three words. I kind of like that…
Sorry, back to this failure of a post. Yesterday I was in my workshop building a cabinet and I was thinking about this YouTube channel I like, This Old Tony, he’s a machinist with a fun sense of humor and some cool projects. Then I got to thinking, “He only works with metal on his show, while Steven from, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, only works with wood on his show.”
Why don’t woodworkers talk about metal working? All of our tools are made of metal and without the machinists there would be no table saws or drills or chisels. Not that I use chisels all that often. Metal workers seem to have the same bias – you don’t hear many of them talking about the last cabinet they built or the cool cutting board they made for their mothers.
I dare you to go onto a YouTube and find channels that do both. In our world of social media, the game is getting more and more specialized every day. You even find divisions among woodworkers such as those who use power tools and those who practice the pure and true art of working wood with only hand tools. Want to start a comment flamewar? Go to a channel that uses a jointer and suggest that they’d get a better finish with a nice #5 Stanley hand plane.
Well, no don’t do that – they aren’t listening and won’t listen to a contrary view.
This kind of thing does highlight a problem with social media which is the tendency to specialize and isolate ourselves into ever smaller and more extreme view points. Holistic view points and those who want to travel the middle of the road are finding it more and more difficult to communicate in this world as the extremists shut themselves in internet rooms that don’t allow alternate views.
So where does Bible study come into this?
Hang on, this gets weird. I’ve mentioned a few times the project I am working on, The Lectionary Project, where I am using a selection of Bible passages to study the book of Matthew. This list of passages is generally used by preachers to plan weekly sermons that fit the liturgical time of the year (Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, etc). It’s a three year cycle of passages that aims to provide a whole view of the Bible.
It kind of does and it kind of doesn’t. It has missing bits. I’ve managed to slug my way through to chapter six and have noticed that not all the words in Matthew are actually noted in a lectionary reference. For example, the lectionary passage I am working on is listed as: MT 6:1-6, 16-21. Verses 7 to 15 are skipped and never appear in any other time of the three year cycle, so if you just used the lectionary as a guide, you’d miss studying MT 6:7-15.
I guess you could say that it was not important to the writers of lectionary list or perhaps not viewed as important to church doctrine. The fact that it is Matthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer, and one of the fundamental prayers of the Christian Church, makes this omission a bit disturbing.
Over the last few years, I’ve actually become more concerned about the narrow focus we put on our study of the Bible. We read one or two verses and leave out the whole and no longer see the big picture but rather just pick and choose microscopic pieces and never see the full arch of the story. In fact, in many places we just make stuff up to suit our needs.
Recently (okay about a year ago) I mentioned something like this to my men’s group and asked how many of us had actually read the whole Bible or even just one gospel in it’s entirety? Most admitted that they’ve never really even looked at complete chapters, just certain verses as suggested various study guides. At the end of that discussion we decided to read the whole of the New Testament. Start to finish, every word, in order along with some of the footnotes and summaries.
It’s been interesting and enlightening. It’s been troubling and concerning. It’s brought to my mind the problems that we have with people focusing too much on the extremes. It’s brought to mind how interconnected we are and how different the whole can be when we open our minds to all the wonders around us.
Someday I might have learned enough to write a post that says this clearly and concisely.
and I am now thinking of outlining a followup to my lectionary project – I think I’ll call it, The Missing Bits.