This is My Worst Post Ever

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.

Peace,

Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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25 Responses to This is My Worst Post Ever

  1. dfolstad58 says:

    What I did is I bought a one year bible and starting January 1 it leads you to read the whole bible in 365 days. Each day you read some Old Testament, New Testament, a psalm and a proverb

    Liked by 1 person

  2. inese says:

    I am not much of a church goer these days, but I have studied the Bible, both Testaments, and reread the Book when I feel like reading. I think that a personal study is the best, and skipping verses is not a good way to learn anything. Personal study brings personal answers.
    Social media is such a fake. As you pointed out, the Youtube videos are all about the clicks. It doesn’t matter what exactly attracts the viewers. It could be a complete nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Teressa says:

    I was preparing to preach last week when I first read this post. When I turned back to my primary text, Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, I laughed. So many missing bits. Since many (most?) Christians aren’t familiar with the Wisdom figure of Proverbs, the missing bits really matter. The Lectionary doesn’t help: four non-sequential readings of Proverbs in the fall of year B; the reading for Trinity Sunday, year C, and a reading at the Easter Vigil.
    That’s a long way of saying thanks. I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading your version of The Missing Bits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I do my study of Matthew, I find lots of missing bits. While the Lectionary is a nice tool to help prompt study, it shouldn’t be the only list of things we read and study. Sadly, there are Christians out there that haven’t even read any part of the Bible.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmm…I’ve been on a blog sabbatical (talking to the trees per your advice), so I just checked in today to kind of get caught up on all I’ve missed. So even though you declared this your ‘worst post ever,’ I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you say here. Of course, I’m not conversant on wood or metal working, so I’ll take your word for it. But when it comes to the Bible, it astounds me that so many Christian believers have not ever read it in its entirety. We can’t just pick and choose what we like and forget the rest. Plucking a verse or passage here and there out of context isn’t how to read God’s Word. Plus we will never understand faith unless we get the whole picture from Genesis to Revelation. I think that’s what’s wrong with so many “people of faith” today. They just haven’t read their Bibles completely. Okay, I’ll jump off my soapbox now and go back to talking to the trees. They’re missing me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Debra says:

    You make SO much sense to me, Andrew, and I can’t explain here, but you and I are on such a similar path, from what I can see. I don’t share the woodworking, of course, but other convergences are very clear to me. I’m really looking forward to your lectionary work. I wish we could share a cup of coffee sometime and just download thoughts. 🙂 But then, that’s what this blog is for, and let me just say how much I appreciate what you share. I get it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read an article quite some time ago about how YouTube’s ‘suggestions’ tend to veer slowly toward more radical videos. I don’t know whether it was legit; but the writer claimed to have started off by watching a middle-of-the-road video, and then followed the thread by clicking on the top video that YouTube suggested next. He asserted that the video content became steadily more inflammatory the longer he followed the thread. If it’s true, it might explain a few things about people’s behaviour on social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true how YouTube works. It’s recommendation engine checks out who else watched the video you just watched and then recommends videos that the other users watched. Watch one video on gardening and YouTube will recommend more gardening videos. Watch two videos on gun rights, and you’ll getting flooded with more of the same. The engine never says, “Here’s a contrary video you should watch.” You have to be intentional about it – YouTube and search AI systems aren’t designed to give balance.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. CJ Hartwell says:

    Your blog ideas sound much like my own. Not sure what I was thinking, but they sure seemed brilliant at the time.
    There’s a book called The Blue Parakeet that touches on what you are saying, Bible wise. We have to consider the whole story, not the bits and pieces we like or agree with.
    For your worst post, this is pretty great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to look up that book – sound interesting. I thought I had a good post in mind until I looked at my notes and thought, “What the heck is this?” Then I just decided to own and go with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Chris White says:

    What a great post Andrew. Jacqui hit the nail on the head with her comment.
    I have a vivid picture in my mind of a battle between woodworkers and metal workers fought on the high plains in some far distant land. A Game of Thrones acted out in workshops everywhere.
    Jesus had it so right in what he said and represented but so so much reinterpretation in these 2000 years plus and don’t even get me started in folk who attempt to score points with biblical references.
    We should stick to the Love that he embodied, regardless of all religions.
    I know that Jesus was probably a whizz at carpentry himself. I wonder how he was with dovetail joints.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You said this very clearly and concisely. I agree with you, but what do we do about it? How do we get back to the middle? I don’t know. Do you?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, you pulled it all together, Andrew. You made some good points about extremes and bits and pieces. Are those metal chips or wood chips?
    Ω

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have whiplash. I expected the ‘worst post ever’ and got one of your best.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for this amazing post, Andrew. What you have said here, with regards to both the Bible studies and social media, reflects exactly what I think. The internet, while a marvelous tool, allows for more narrow minded views than ever before when used for that distinct purpose. The Bible has, unfortunately, always been manipulated by unscrupulous people and you are doing the right thing by investigating it in full for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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