Those aren’t my memories

I find it interesting that Facebook says that I “have memories” to look back on. It would be more accurate to say that Facebook has a memory of me. More often than not what they show isn’t something I remember, whether it’s a photograph or a post or a link, it’s something I posted and forgot about. No longer my memory.

The things I remember, like the way my newborn son smelled immediately after I held him in my arms after being brought into the world, the way he little cries sounded both powerful and delicate; or how cold I was and how I kept telling myself to remember every moment when I stood under a tent in a suburb of Philadelphia watching my mother’s casket lower into the ground. These are my memories. These are things that Facebook can never recall in the same way my mind can because they are me.

Some kids just look old. Whether they’re a newborn or a preteen there are some kids that look like they’re about to go on a smoke break or fix your leaking air conditioner or exterminate a squirrel. I think it’s all about the nose.

Everything Is Not Lost

A friend and I have been talking about our journey through belief (and disbelief) and what it means to be within or without an old community. What it means to be lost.

When a child is lost from their parent it’s not as if they no longer belong to a family. Being lost is temporarily being unseen. And when that child is reunited with their family, it’s not as if they have limitations and expectations and interrogations into how or if they’ll be allowed back. They’re warmly received because they’re reunited. They’re home again.

For those who do (or did) follow Jesus, I feel many consider those who are “lost” as strangers, outsiders, refugees; not one who already belongs, not a child of their own family.

Jesus talked about people being lost, like a sheep lost from it’s herd. But today most of us have no context for what it means to tend to sheep, or what a does, or even the basics but of farming, especially what it means thousands of years ago compared to today. I think the metaphor is easily ignored and misunderstood. 

I don’t think Jesus is saying that being found is dependent upon the use or merit or worth of the sheep to the shepherd. Or that our worth is only measured by our beliefs or gender or race or origin. I believe Jesus intended the herd to represent all of creation, all of humanity. Everyone is already a member. There are no requirements for their acceptance into the herd. In fact, there acceptance has nothing to do with you at all, because your aren’t the shepherd. 

We are all — every human — at times divided and rejected and invisible, and at times united and accepted and known. We are children of a place and of a home.

There are moments when you feel clear and connected and confident, as well as moments when you feel feebile and fumbling and fractured. That’s a normal part of leading others. But the moment you feel apathetic and disengaged and  is when you should be concerned.

Dear Humans Of The Future

I don’t know how much information you may have on our civilization from the period in which I live. Most of what we write, say, and do are stored as 1s and 0s on millions of computers. I’m assuming most of the data is lost, perhaps even this; but for the sake of optimism let’s assume you have discovered these words. There is something I feel I need to clarify for you, because I’m guessing it’s very confusing.

You may rightly assume we had a international holiday called “Amazon Prime Day”. While it would seem reasonable to believe that “Amazon” refers to the mighty river that flows through what was or is South America (perhaps by now you have eliminated the need for borders and countries), but alas it does not. 

Nor does “prime” refer to a mathematical formula (I’m not skilled enough at math to properly describe it fully, other than to say it’s a number that cannot be made by multiplying two other numbers greater than 1, like 11 for example). No, Amazon Prime is not a sacred celebration of nature and science. It’s a day in which people looked for discounts on items and objects they want to out into their dwellings and stare at, talk to, walk on, or out inside of them.

I don’t know if Amazon exists anymore. At one point is was one of the largest companies in the world. Or at the very least, the most influential. They didn’t see it that way, but a large portion of society bought their goods “online” (please don’t make me explain that — if all you know is that it was a series a tubes, that’s fine by me) from Amazon. They could find nearly anything they wanted and get it within a day, as long as you were an exclusive member. This was referred to as “Prime”. They then decided to have one day a year July 15th (when I write this to you future beings), to discount some things and get people to buy stuff they didn’t need (that pretty much sums up 85% of all things we did).

This might better explain why our planet is nearly uninhabitable. It was very hard to convince people that escalating temperatures, melting ice, and rising oceans was more important than saving money. It’s hard to pass up a deal on a huge device that can make potatoes crispy without all that cooking oil. Sorry about that.

Paul Armstrong

The funny thing about using a blog again is that the impetus for doing so was because I distrust and dislike Facebook and Twitter. But the best way for people to be aware of a blog is (still) through Facebook and Twitter.