Thinking Out Loud

August 14, 2011

God’s Blog Attracts The Expected Comments

This article appeared a few days ago in The New Yorker, and was pointed out to me at the blog The Ironic Catholic.  It was written by Paul Simms and purports to be something God posted on His blog after a particular six-day project with which you might be familiar.  It ends up attracting all the usual types of people who leave blog comments…

First, God posts:

UPDATE: Pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with in just six days. Going to take tomorrow off. Feel free to check out what I’ve done so far. Suggestions and criticism (constructive, please!) more than welcome. God out.

And then…

COMMENTS (24)


Not sure who this is for. Seems like a fix for a problem that didn’t exist. Liked it better when the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep.


Going carbon-based for the life-forms seems a tad obvious, no?


The creeping things that creepeth over the earth are gross.


Not enough action. Needs more conflict. Maybe put in a whole bunch more people, limit the resources, and see if we can get some fights going. Give them different skin colors so they can tell each other apart.


Disagree with the haters out there who have a problem with man having dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle of the earth, and so on. However, I do think it’s worth considering giving the fowl of the air dominion over the cattle of the earth, because it would be really funny to see, like, a wildebeest or whatever getting bossed around by a baby duck.


The “herb yielding seed” is a hella fresh move. 4:20!


Why are the creatures more or less symmetrical on a vertical axis but completely asymmetrical on a horizontal axis? It’s almost like You had a great idea but You didn’t have the balls to go all the way with it.


The dodo should just have a sign on him that says, “Please kill me.” Ridiculous.


Amoebas are too small to see. They should be at least the size of a plum.


Beta version was better. I thought the Adam-Steve dynamic was much more compelling than the Adam-Eve work-around You finally settled on.


I liked the old commenting format better, when you could get automatic alerts when someone replied to your comment. This new way, you have to click through three or four pages to see new comments, and they’re not even organized by threads. Until this is fixed, I’m afraid I won’t be checking in on Your creation.


***SPOILER***
One of them is going to eat something off that tree You told them not to touch.


Adam was obviously created somewhere else and then just put here. So, until I see some paperwork proving otherwise, I question the legitimacy of his dominion over any of this.


Why do they have to poop? Seems like there could have been a more elegant/family-friendly solution to the food-waste-disposal problem.


The lemon tree: very pretty. The lemon flower: sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon? Impossible to eat. Is this a bug or a feature?


Unfocussed. Seems like a mishmash at best. You’ve got creatures that can speak but aren’t smart (parrots). Then, You’ve got creatures that are smart but can’t speak (dolphins, dogs, houseflies). Then, You’ve got man, who is smart and can speak but who can’t fly, breathe underwater, or unhinge his jaws to swallow large prey in one gulp. If it’s supposed to be chaos, then mission accomplished. But it seems more like laziness and bad planning.


If it’s not too late to make changes, in version 2.0 You should make water reflective, so the creatures have a way of seeing what they look like.


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Penguins are retarded. Their wings don’t work and their legs are too short. I guess they’re supposed to be cute in a “I liek to eat teh fishes” way, but it’s such obvious pandering to the lowest common denominator.


There’s imitation, and then there’s homage, and then there’s straight-up idea theft, which is what Your thing appears to be. Anyone who wants to check out the original should go to http://www.VishnuAndBrahma.com. (And check it out soon, because I think they’re about to go behind a paywall.)


Putting boobs on the woman is sexist.


Wow. Just wow. I don’t even know where to start. So the man and his buddy the rib-thing have dominion over everything. They’re going to get pretty unbearable really fast. What You need to do is make them think that there were other, bigger, scarier creatures around a long time before them. I suggest dinosaurs. No need to actually create dinosaurs—just create some weird-ass dinosaur bones and skeletons and bury them in random locations. Man will dig them up eventually and think, What the f?


Epic fail.


Meh. ♦

~Paul Simms

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July 21, 2011

How to Leave a Comment on a Blog

Filed under: blogging — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:05 am

I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t get it.  I think part of the problem is people who have come into the Christian blogosphere in the last year or so and missed the golden age of blog community.  So here’s the deal…

…When you leave a comment on a blog your goal should be to contribute something to the discussion.  Here’s what bloggers are looking for from you:

Added Value

What can I say that adds something to the discussion at hand?  What personal experience do I have with this subject?  What other resources would be helpful in examining this issue?

Added Value

Add something to what’s already there.  Make the discussion richer for your contribution.

February 24, 2011

Thinking Out Loud – Anniversary Edition

I remember years ago participating in a discussion about the “emerging” internet where the main concern ran something like this, “How are they ever going to get enough content to keep those websites supplied with fresh material?”

How indeed?

In 2011, a better question might be, “How does one find enough hours in the day to read all the sites they are subscribed to or have bookmarked?” I figure a typical week lands me on about 1,000 different types of internet sites, and I don’t consider myself a heavy online user. Every single person reading this actually has a completely unique internet experience weekly.

Today, this blog enters year four.

I have mixed feelings about that. I’m happy that this blog has become a voice albeit in a crowded room of voices all talking at once. I’m continually amazed — and somewhat humbled — that hundreds of you show up here every day, many just to see what’s been posted recently.

But these things were never set up as one-way communication. You hear people speak of “blog community” and I think there certainly is one, but increasingly the comments I moderate have absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the blog post; they’re actually written in the hope that readers will link back to their own blog.

And then of course, there is the fact I am denied full participation in this very same blog community.

Some time back, someone masquerading as me posted something or did something that got me completely blocked from commenting at many of my favorite blogs. Even people I considered online “friends” like Pete Wilson, or people I’ve been reading for years before starting my own blog, such as Trevin Wax; the comments I leave (which are indeed appropriate and rather insightful) simply never appear.

Furthermore, if I log off WordPress, and attempt to leave a comment at my own blog, it is blocked.

It’s ironic because one of the things I found early on when I started this was a great deal of acceptance, so I’m highly sensitive to the present rejection. But online this can take many forms. For example, I’ve also been blocked from the chat room at my online church, North Point Community. Though I continue to faithfully watch NorthPoint Online every Sunday at 6:00 PM, and encourage others to also, my IP address apparently is blocked from participating in the after-sermon discussion. That’s like being told, “You can continue to attend our worship services, but you can’t be part of a small group.”

Not sure why.

There was a woman — I think it was a woman, but people use aliases in their comments — who was going through a hurting time and the discussion moderator was nowhere to be seen, so I recommended a book to her; a perfectly acceptable book, but one not written by Andy Stanley. Maybe that got me banned. Who knows.The clergy establishment sometimes gets really possessive when lay people start acting pastoral.

So look out, everyone. I’m a rebel. I’m a radical. I’m dangerous. Keep your daughters locked up.  I’m James Dean. (But in a George Costanza sort of way.)

Actually maybe I am sure why. Maybe like Hosea, God is allowing me to identify with all the other people out there who have felt rejection; including those who have been rejected by the church.

Back to the birthday party.


This is post number 1,454.

There is much to be thankful for today. I actually oversee seven blogs now, of which the latest, Christianity 201, has arrived on the scene since we celebrated this time last year. It keeps me humbled. Very humbled. While some endeavors in the Christian life remind you how far you’ve come and what you have accomplished, C201 reminds me of how far I’ve got to go.  Jesus set the bar rather high. A handful of you also read my book industry blog, Christian Book Shop Talk. It will celebrate a third birthday in August. Yesterday’s post had someone suggesting bookstores are going the way of record shops and video rental stores. Sigh. In that setting, I get to be a voice in an increasingly empty room.

Then there are the off-the-blog discussions.

Some of the best things that happen as a result of all this online activity are never seen online. And to the guy who drove an hour to the bookstore where I work only to find out I wasn’t there that day: Next time, get the staff person to write down your name. Better yet, let’s book it a day ahead, okay?

Anyway, I want to thank all of you who read, who write comments and who allow me to do the same on your blogs. To the latter group, you’ve really stimulated me to increase the time I spend reading Christian books, for which I am grateful.

As iron sharpens iron, so one blogger is sharpened by another. Even when they block his comments. (Couldn’t resist.) Many of you have also caused me to rethink some things that really matter. I’ve also enjoyed the benefits of being kept accountable.

Finally to the caricature artists who charcoaled me into a corner with the Joyce and Beth thing: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and ignorance is bliss. (And if you love something, set it free…) I’m sorry that I what I call information you call judgment, but that is, if you’ll pardon the turnaround, your judgment. Keep enjoying their books by all means, and keep loving people who prefer to be taught by others.

Closing thanks Mrs. W., the world’s best proofreader and editor (though usually a day after I’ve already posted something) and to all my sources, especially BDBO (you know who you are, but nobody else does) and the religion news pages at CNN and USAToday along with Canada’s Christian Week and Darryl Dash. And thanks to readers who send Wednesday Link List suggestions. And to Trevin and Pete and even Jon Acuff: Let’s prove to the world that it’s all about grace, okay?

*”Charcoaled me into a corner” — I couldn’t say “painted” because caricature artists work in chalk or charcoal, so that would be mixing metaphors, and “chalked” lost the coin toss.

December 27, 2009

Post 1,000 – Thinking Out Loud

It is with a mix of gratitude and humility that I realize that anybody should want to read my thoughts and opinions on anything enough to provide the readership base that this blog now enjoys.    Though it’s small in comparison to the “biggies” in the world of Christian blogging, some of you — including some people in the worldwide Christian community whom I greatly respect — have even bothered to subscribe to this particular online voice.

One thing I have tried to do is stay focused on faith issues, religious news and devotional concepts.    I don’t talk about tech, or gear, or blogging itself, and I’ve tried to leave my wife and family out of this, but still give the blog enough ‘personality’ that it represents my heart, and isn’t just an exercise in Christian news journalism.    That said however, there have been a few stories that I thought were significant that other bloggers didn’t pick up, and so I’ve tried to be faithful to importing some things from news pages into these blog pages that people might have otherwise missed.

I’ve also tried not to rant, though that can be difficult.   (I have two other blogs for that very purpose!)    There are times when it’s just too easy to complain about that which isn’t ideal, but I’ve tried to make those comments enlightening and constructive.

In a way, writing — whether it’s correspondence or keeping a journal (or weblog) — is very much what separates us from the animals in general and is rooted in Christian tradition in particular.   “Bring me the scrolls;” the Apostle Paul asks, “and especially the parchments.”    Much earlier, Solomon notes, “There is no end to the writing of books.”   And to think that was before the printing press or any other kind of “mass” distribution of the written word, let alone  print-on-demand which as of now releases more titles than conventional book publishing.

Which means there are so many voices competing for your attention that I am, as I said at the outset, thankful and humbled that you should happen to stop here.

I once wrote the biography for a Christian musician’s press kit.   He described the early part of his life this way, “I had a message, I just couldn’t carry a message.”

It’s easy for me to sit at the keyboard and have a daily message for my readers.   But I have to be the kind of person who is a spiritually viable carrier for the message I want to bring.    I need to be able to carry the message, and like all of us, I am learning as I go.


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