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MattDavis
 
Reply Thu 14 Mar, 2013 08:45 pm
@jespah,
I don't remember where I read it (so probably not a source that was terribly credible), that Rabbinical Judaism has become more esoteric and less legalistic compared with Christianity and Islam, because it has had more time to develop.
Sort of along the lines of settling down as we get older and wiser.
There are of course esoteric Christian traditions, but fewer of the self-labeled Christians are of this bent.
There are very few esoteric Muslims.

Youthful ideologies.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Fri 15 Mar, 2013 09:11 pm
@MattDavis,
I meant to play off of the "young whipper snapper" part of your last comment.
Re-reading my last post now, I can see how it might be taken to mean that all religions are youthful ideologies (not my intent).
 
jespah
 
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 08:00 am
@MattDavis,
No worries.

Our Rabbi at our wedding was (is) my cousin's husband. He had just graduated, and ours was the first wedding he ever conducted. He told us later that, oops, he had forgotten a piece during the ceremony. So either we're married for 20+ years or RP owes my Dad a goat.

Essentially, the point of that tangent is that I think, unless you're really, really fundy (and then all bets are off), most people are a lot mellower in general, and not just Jews. We shrug and say, "Oh, isn't that amusing?" if we even comment on it at all. That seems to particularly be a function of the last 20, 25 years or so, it seems, and might even hearken back to the '60s.

And this is kinda the West in general. Go to Iran and of course it's different, and it swung rather harshly in the other direction. But I think much of the West has gotten better at laughing at ourselves, and our ancient traditions, and wondering WTF they're all about.

I attended Hebrew School in the '70s (you'd never know it, seeing as how badly I read the texts) and, if you had a real question or a problem, you pretty much just kept it to yourself. The students certainly didn't discuss such things as we were either young (you start when you're 8) or were rabidly studying for Bar or Bat Mitzvot or didn't give a damn or were cranky because having to go to Hebrew School meant we couldn't go to Little League or dance class or whatever. These days, if you have an issue with Judaism or scripture or whatever, you add it as a Facebook status, or you do a search and discover that it's some meme involving cats and R2D2.
 
jespah
 
Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2013 08:01 am
PS We both seem to be keeping rather odd hours, at least according to the time stamps. I'm in EDT and the time change is still making me stay up to all hours.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Sun 17 Mar, 2013 12:03 pm
@jespah,
Yes I do keep odd hours. Years of conditioning to hospital 3rd shifts. 19:00 to 07:30.
Thank you for the REM video. I have always loved their music and messages.
There was not much of a Jewish community where I grew up, and currently live. One of my brother's (the one with the Jetta) had a best friend who was Jewish. Quite kid and very smart, not very assertive, but caring.
My religious background is a bit of a mixed bag. I am a "love child", my parents split before I was born. My mother comes from a Catholic family, she was disillusioned and tended toward a more fundy Christianity during my early years. When I was an adolescent she belonged to what I would describe as a fundamentalist Bible church with a quasi-cultish tendency. I was very traumatized if my mother would return late, fearing she had been "raptured" while I remained due to my "skepticism". She eventually, though slowly, migrated away from this view, to what I would now describe as a compassioned justification for belief in God.
My father was raised a-religiously, and seems a spiritual "seeker". Throughout my childhood he bounced around from atheist, to agnostic, to Methodist, to whatever else he found to have greater "truth", and back again. Probably one "conversion" every 3-5 years. He is a bit of an arm-chair reader of a great many things, but an expert in none. He converted to Catholicism about 10 years ago. He has a very mystical interpretation of Christianity, the Roman Catholic service in this (region) is the closest he has found to match his views while offering community.
I did study orthodox Christian theology, partly to more fully understand my fathers new "beliefs", and partly as a growing interest in the humanities as I grew older. If my father had access to a Greek Orthodox church, and knew Greek, he would probably fit in better there.
There are Jewish mystic interpretations not much different than mystical orthodox Christian mystical traditions, also not much different than "Oriental" mystical traditions (especially those that emphasis ethical practice).
I don't view religions on the whole as bad, literalism/legalism/fundamentalism is currently getting us into a lot of trouble.
Us vs. Them.
 
jespah
 
Reply Sun 17 Mar, 2013 02:13 pm
@MattDavis,
Zactly - and that us vs. them mentality kinda doesn't do anyone any good.

My father - the retired engineer - has swung more conservative in recent years. It's somewhat dismaying from my end (here's a guy who voted for McGovern), but hey, of course he's entitled to change just like anyone else is. I just want him to stop sending me videos and whatnot.

Although he did just sent a multi-meter. The house was built in 1896 and so it's got all sorts of electrical weirdnesses. It is one big playground for him. He brings his tools and bellows, "What needs fixing?" whenever they come up. My mother is a retired reference librarian so we hang out and she tries to get me to read Barbara Pym.

You've got an interesting background, and interesting backgrounds are becoming more of the norm these days, it seems. It's easier to take a different path, and there are more paths to take. I went to HS with a gal who was a fairly devout Catholic; she is Italian and her husband is Portuguese. They ended up in Lawrence, Kansas for a while, as he was getting his doctorate in Chemistry. She told me that people found them to be exotic because (1) her husband is kinda dark, (2) they are Catholic and (3) at the time, they didn't have kids. So they were a serious novelty out there, right smack dab in the heartland.

Then again, I recall being asked "what do your people think of Jesus?" as if I were some sort of Hebraic general representative. I also once had someone tell me, when I mentioned that I don't celebrate Christmas, "Why, that's unamerican!" Er, no, that's exactly what America is supposed to be about.

I was the first Jew that my suite-mate from Providence, RI ever met (freshman year of college, end of 1979). The Jewish population of Providence goes back to Colonial times, so who knows who Colleen was hanging out with? But I remember her mentioning that (she wasn't the one who asked about Jesus or who claimed I was somehow committing treason for not having a Christmas tree) and thinking - huh?

Anyway, I am babbling, as I am wont to do. Third shift, eh? Egad, that would be tough, methinks. Plus I imagine 1 am (particularly on a day like today) can get rather busy.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 11:03 am
@jespah,
Reference librarian always sounded like a field I would enjoy.
Along the weird religious questions line....
I'm an out of the closet atheist at work.
One of my fundamentalist Christian colleges once asked me something along the lines of:
So I just don't get it... were you born atheist?

I doubt I had a belief in God upon entering the world. That time in my life (birth) however is kinda a blur. Laughing

PS I shared that story with Spade once, he didn't get it at first either.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 11:27 am
@jespah,
I did just recall I once worked with a guy who was Kosher. Separate cookware, knives, dinnerware... the whole nine yards. He was very appreciative of my vegan recipes, just because they made life more convenient for him.
 
jespah
 
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 02:48 pm
My parents still keep separate dishes, etc., and the first time I brought RP over for dinner I had to explain - no cheeseburger, use the fork they give you, don't go rummaging around for a different one as you might grab the wrong kind, etc. We do the Chanukah prayer over the candles and so now he knows the Shabbos one (it's same, except for the last word, which is just the name of the holiday). For the wine and the challah, he was able to do the first maybe 40% and then sorta mumbled along with the remainder. Smile

My mother was at reference in a public library conveniently located near the Pilgrim State Mental Hospital. The day room there resembled the reading room at the library. Plus of course it's clean, the roof doesn't leak and they have bathrooms and free entertainment. I don't think she ever had to chase anyone out of the bathroom for bathing in the sink or anything, but she did chase people stealing books. Ah, good times.

Born an atheist? Wacky. Born straight? Sure. Born right-handed? Yep. Born with blue eyes? Check? Born atheist? Or Christian? It's like being born speaking Lithuanian.

Spades is a lot happier now that he plays Fantasy Baseball with us. He's in his element. Truth is, a lotta folks, once they finally venture out of the Politics forums, they suddenly realize they should be decent to one another. Or they meet people, and then they get that magical revelation that acting nasty is, well, it's just not nice.

Thanks for the Nina Simone song. I will post it to Facebook! Smile
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 09:30 am
@jespah,
Spade has been one of the most friendly and understanding people here at A2K, at least toward me. He seems to suffer a lot of abuse, but has an amazing capacity to shake it off. He's resilient.
 
jespah
 
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 09:59 am
@MattDavis,
He is (he does tend to go on a lot about sports, but that's mostly within the confines of our fantasy enclave). I can't recall exactly when/how he had the chance to PM me and I think he was apologizing for something or other and I had said, no prob and then we were pals.

Over the years I have made friends with a lot of folks, and have met a lot as well. Somewhere, there's a topic about everyone we've ever met from A2K. Mine and RP's lists, but also Setanta and ehBeth's, are probably the longest - Thomas's, too. Part of it's a function of where we live, part of it is willingness to meet people or to travel. I'm sure you know this as I imagine you've done the forums thing before, but there is something about meeting people in person - you just get something out of it that you don't otherwise. And yes, I've met ehBeth and Setanta (there are pictures, erm, somewhere, of she and I strolling amidst the witches' graves in Salem), and Frank Apisa and dlowan, too.

One of the people referenced in my sig line - timberlandko - he was a trip. I think he was the only person I ever knew (and that's likely to remain so) who could go on about the Abrahamic mythopaedia in one sentence and then in the next one say something like, "'Scuse me for a few hours; I gotta go plow the town streets. Be back later."
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 11:32 am
@jespah,
Thanks for the back story on A2K. I didn't realize your admin role hear until a few days ago. No, I never did the forum thing before. Didn't even get into facebook till about 4 years ago. And that only after being begged to, by one of my sisters. On facebook the majority of my "friends" were actual outside facebook "friends" and of course my family.
The anonymity of many users here, I think makes them feel less inhibited. This is a mixed bag. Some I think would be better served by the moderating forces of "shame" in social interaction. That can only happen after "buy in" to a community.
A2K is an experiment in anarchy from my view.
How will/can people behave?
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 11:34 am
@jespah,
Oh...
I notice Wikipedia does not have an A2K entry.
How do you feel about starting a thread to discuss whether it should have one and/or what should be included?
 
jespah
 
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 02:58 pm
@MattDavis,
Huh, I can tell the site owner re Wikipedia. I could very well be tapped to write it.

I do more than A2K - the company owns a number of nursing properties so I blog about nursing (mostly about what it's like to live/work somewhere, or a bio of someone like Florence Nightingale; of course I can't knowledgeably write about intubation, etc.).

But yeah, the site has grown/changed over the years, as the empire has grown. A lot of us got acquainted at the old NY Times forums back at the end of the millennium. In the summer of '02 I got an email from the site owner who told me, "I want to teach myself PHP but I don't feel like dealing with the people. Ya wanna run a website?" At the time, I was out of work and I recall thinking, sure, this'll take a month and there will be 20 people. I am really the second member after the site owner, Robert Gentel, and ehBeth is the third. I think Ossobuco is the fourth member of the site.

It's been closing on 11 years and also closing in on 250,000 members. Not bad for a site that we invited people to via email (this is before Facebook and Twitter).

You haven't done the forums thing before? You, sir, are a natural.

But that's kinda the nature of the forums beast. Ever hear of social technographics?
http://blogs.forrester.com/charleneli/images/2008/03/20/social_technographics_explained_4.jpg

A2K fulfills a lot of the rungs on that ladder, and with semantic tagging instead of set forums, we even make Collectors happy.

I well recall the first few topics I made, back on the NY Times site. One was called, just, "So, How Did You Two Meet?" and it went on for pages and pages as people happily told their love stories, even failed experiments. The other was "Lyrical Blunders" and it was all about mondegreens. It was one of those that made your sides hurt from laughing so much. I also ran the Tinfoil Hat Brigade there. Man oh man that was forever ago.

Currently I have a tag called Beloved Topics and it's the silly stuff but also the serious stuff. I tend to point to that when I need to point out stuff during job interviews (A2K is on my resume and my LinkedIn profile) or when showing people the site. But there are people who just don't get forums. My elder sister-in-law (of two) thinks everyone on A2k is out to tell each other the wrong answer to everything, and just mess each other up. Nah, that's only about 10% of the users.

You just gotta know which 10%.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Wed 20 Mar, 2013 10:09 pm
@jespah,
Thanks Jespah Very Happy
For the "natural" compliment and all the rest.
Sorry for the quick response, my girlfriend is being neglected Sad
I will return to this.
 
jespah
 
Reply Thu 21 Mar, 2013 07:13 am
@MattDavis,
Oh, no rush.

Gotta make the donuts, as they say.

And by donuts I mean do SEO work.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Thu 21 Mar, 2013 03:23 pm
@jespah,
I hope you make those donuts clean.
I heard Google is busting balls on dirty donuts.
 
jespah
 
Reply Thu 21 Mar, 2013 04:17 pm
@MattDavis,
They are lovely donuts.

But my eyes are glazing over, and that's not even a donut joke. I need to stop what I'm doing, and eat a pretzel.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Thu 21 Mar, 2013 07:34 pm
@jespah,
I looked over the social technographics website at your url.
I do wonder how wise it is to be too many things all at once.
I am no expert on such things however.

A2K does seem to have a bit of an "old-boy's club" element that can be dissuasive to new joiners.
That of course is a consequence of anarchy. Seniority tends to prevail in absence of outside intervention. I do feel as though a sort of walk-through prompting upon joining the site may be beneficial, that is if new members is the goal.
This seems the standard on sites like facebook, yelp, etc.
I consider myself a pretty quick study, but without the help of Roger, I would have found the site difficult to navigate.
 
jespah
 
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 04:31 am
@MattDavis,
There's no question that a lot of the regulars have gotten rather, shall we say, possessive of the site. It can be tough for newbies to break in.
Butrflynet writes very good tutorials and it would likely do us some good to make them more front and center than they are. There's also the A2K blog, but the link, at the bottom, is easy for people to miss.

One of the things we learned from the NY Times groups (that site was called Abuzz) is that a pure q & a website will not remain so for long. The Times hated that we had all become Chatty Cathys but that's what makes communities. A lot of purely commercial forums make that same mistake, where they think that unpaid members will just happily answer questions and spout off product love pronouncements without, inevitably, someone asking a/s/l.

I used to follow community manager blogs a lot more closely, and I saw one a few years ago where a woman talked about writing her first online obituary. I told her - welcome to the club, I've written maybe a dozen by now. You make a village, and that happens.
 
 

 
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