The National Memo: The Simple, Clear, And Still Radical Meaning Of The Christmas Story

Christmas means welcoming the stranger, not assigning them stars on jackets or special ID’s

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The story of Christmas is not a political parable but an allegory of light brought into a dark and suffering world, on a date that coincides not accidentally with the winter solstice. Its newborn prophet is a harbinger of divine love for all, most emphatically including the sinners, the impious, the unclean, the unaccepted, the foreigner, the stranger, and the impoverished.

I have this thing about Christmas. I actually try hard every year to celebrate it. For me, that often means I call it “Incarnation Day” instead of Christmas. It means that we actually do “stockings” in our house on St Nicolaus Day (Dec 6) instead of the 25th. It means while we have a traditional Christmas dinner, while we dine we talk about poverty, not gifts. We talk about presence, not presents.

Incarnation Day for me, means welcoming the stranger — not assigning them a scarlet letter, or a star on their jackets, or a special ID card based on their religion.

Source: The National Memo

The Polarizing Political Power of Newsfeed Customization

tech-isolates-perspective

“…the very tools we use to┬ámanage the overwhelming amount of data to be found online are, instead, causing us to become less receptive to differing political opinions.”

I love newsfeeds and aggregators. In fact, I’m experimenting with WordPress’s new Calypso app this second to serve as an aggregator for me to share thoughts on the fascinating stuff I’m reading.

This article strikes a nerve though because I’m all about having a well-rounded perspective on things. I want to be aware of various perspectives and entertain new thoughts and ideas. If my tech is actually limiting me, then I need new tech.

The thing is, there is passive tech and active tech. This article speak primarily to the way in which Facebook, Twitter, Amazaon and Google purposely serve you up things that they think you will “like”. Which means they want to serve you up things you already agree with.

But services like Feedly or FlipBoard (my two go-to aggregators) don’t automatically serve you anything except what you put directly into them. So if you only put left-wing fanatic stuff into them… they spit out left-wing fanatic stuff.

The bottom line is that all of these things are mediums — not ends. Even Facebook can be configured to bring in alternate views. Maybe you’ve purposely muted that crazy neighbor who spews right-wing theories because “you just can’t”. But maybe you just need to. Just to be able to challenge your own biases and prejudices… because you’re human. We’re all biased, prejudiced, scared, defensive. It’s in our genes to be so.

http://magazine.good.is/articles/technology-political-selective-exposure-ivan-dylko