Robin’s Egg

He comes towards me on the trail
– a big, brawny man with a bald head 
and tattoos on his arms. I turn away 
to take photos of the ferns on the forest
floor and when I turn back he’s passed me.
I glance back at the same moment he glances
back at me. He uses his walking stick
to point to a place on the path near me.
I turn in the direction he’s pointing –
not sure what he wants me to see –
and find myself looking at the remnants
of a tiny, fragile blue egg. A new nestling
has pecked open her shell. “Robin’s egg,”
the big man rumbles in his deep bass voice,
a sweet smile on his face. I smile back at him.
“It’s beautiful,” I say. “Yes, it is,” he agrees.
And he turns and continues down the trail.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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“I’m putting you on ignore!”

The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity.- Mary Baker Eddy

So there’s this tool you can use on the Amazon discussion forums that will allow you to “ignore the trolls” – you click this button and their posts go into hiding under a sign that says “You are ignoring this customer’s posts.” I myself am too curious to know what everyone else is saying to have much success using this tool, but those folks who aren’t as nosy as me sometimes use this device as a way to protect themselves from personalities they find disturbing for whatever reason.

Of course, there are folks who cannot resist letting the people they have on ignore know they have them on ignore (which sort of defeats the whole purpose, right?) – and then they need to let everyone ELSE know they’ve got these folks on ignore, too – so often an announcement is made to the person who is being put on ignore – an announcement everyone else can see, too: “I’m putting you on ignore!”

And so the fun continues. “Oh yeah?! Well, I put you on ignore first – so there!” “Well, if you put me on ignore how can you see my posts, eh?” “I unignored you so I could see your post telling me you’re ignoring me – and how can you see MY post if you’re ignoring me?!” And so on. Yeah. Good times. Good times.

But I recently found a thread devoted to ignoring “trolls” that gave me some pause for contemplation. Two of the posters that the people on this thread were considering “ignoring” were actually people of education (both had doctors degrees) and intelligence – people who put some thought into their posts. One of these posters identifies himself as an atheist, the other as a Christian – and, although I don’t always agree with them, I usually find something in their contributions to the forums that makes me dig deeper into my own beliefs and thoughts about God and life. Their posts make me think… which… I don’t know… but I’ve always considered that a GOOD thing, right?

So I wrote this response:

Wow. I have now read through this thread. It has been an eye-opener, for sure.

I see some of us are debating whether to put those big bad trolls H. and E. on ignore. And I say, right on! I think it’s best to always ignore intelligent, educated posters – like H. and E. – who might actually make us question our own stereotypes and biases and points of view. I mean, who really wants to spend any time in SELF-reflection when we can better spend our time telling OTHER people how to think, believe, and live, right? So I think we should all scurry off to our separate little groups, fortify our barriers, unite against people who don’t think like we do about stuff, find our scapegoats for every ill that has ever befallen the planet (this could be theists or atheists or Jews or Muslims or Christians or Democrats or Republicans or Ralph Nader, depending on one’s perspective), and ignore the hell out of them. Let’s make sure they know we’re ignoring the hell out of them, too. And let everyone else know we’re ignoring the hell out of them. And let’s gossip about them. Ooh! Ooh! Does life get any more fun than that?!! 🙂

Yeah. I know. I am such a troll.

And, after a little more “discussion” about “group-think” – the need the people on this thread seemed to have to come to a consensus about who to ignore, as opposed to deciding as independent, individuals thinkers which posters are helpful, and which aren’t, I finally was the recipient of the words: “I’m putting you on ignore!”  🙂

Weirdly, this did not have the effect the other poster was probably hoping it would have on me. I found myself smirking. Not so’s she could see – but, yeah, in the privacy of my own home I was smirking. Being put on ignore by a poster simply because I questioned her stereotypes proved what I’d long suspected: We tend to ignore those people who threaten our own comfortable view of the world – we tend to ignore voices that might force us to take stock of ourselves and… yeeks!… change the way we look at stuff. And so we band together with like-minded people – isolate ourselves and insulate ourselves from differing perspectives – and find a television “news” station or other “news” source that caters to our own little conceits, and our stereotypes of others.

It’s all so silly, ain’t it?

How are we ever going to learn and progress if we shut ourselves off from others who challenge the way we look at things?

seagull and cormorant

Rhonda Lee Rocks! – Bigoted busybody bullying bossy britches brazenly brandishing their bigotry, begone!

Message I just posted on KTBS’s website (which now seems to have disappeared from the page): Rhonda Lee is absolutely beautiful! And her response to the viewer criticizing her length of hair was measured, thoughtful, and well-reasoned. Even HE apparently agreed with her response. Why KTBS should fire this beautiful, intelligent woman is a mystery to me. Unless… of course, now that I see those four white faces in the picture above – three of them with blond hair – I think I have an inkling… bigotry is not a pretty thing. – Karen Molenaar Terrell, a middle-aged white lady from Washington State.

If you haven’t heard about the firing of Rhonda Lee, here’s the link to the story: http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/meteorologist-rhonda-lee-she-fired-defending-her-hair-200400289.html

And if you’d like a link to the KTBS website, here it is: https://www.facebook.com/KTBS3

I hate bigotry. I mean – I REALLY hate bigotry. Bigoted busybody bossy britches bullies who brazenly brandish their bigotry really toast my cookies. What happened to Rhonda Lee is a prime example of bigotry. But we see it everywhere, don’t we? Any time you see individuals of a particular group being stereotpyped and lumped together and seen as some kind of monolithic entity, you’re seeing bigotry.Whenever I read  sentences about groups of people that start –  “All atheists think…” or “All Christians believe…” or “All Muslims feel…”  or “All gay men want…” –  I can bet that I’m about to read an example of bigotry.  If we want to  understand each other, I do not think it is helpful to lump individuals under one big umbrella and assume we know what all these individuals think, believe, feel, or want. If you want to know what an individual thinks about something – ask him.

I have never felt the need for everybody else to believe exactly the same way I believe about things.  Whatever beliefs others want to hold about life – so long as those beliefs don’t cause harm to others – I’m fine with that. As my dear Aunt Junie used to say: Whatever makes your socks go up and down. I think we’re all drawn to the path in life that makes the most sense to us, as individuals – some of us will be atheists, some of us will be Buddhist, and others of us will be Christian Scientists – and, so long as we’re not tromping on someone else’s rights in our own life journey – it’s all good.

But bigotry DOES harm others, and DOES lead to tromping on the rights of others. When bigots prevent others from their basic human rights – from getting (or keeping) a job, from the freedom of owning a home in the neighborhood of one’s choice, from voting, or marrying, or getting a drink of water from a water fountain – this we cannot support. This is not right, or good, or in any way helpful to the advancement of mankind. This kind of thing must end. We – all of us – as the children of Love – deserve better from ourselves and each other.

***

“The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.” – from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” – I Timothy 5

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” – Exodus 20: 16

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love…There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. ” – I John 4