Welcome to Carnivorous Caribou

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Links Stink

Unlike my desk, I decided it's time to rearrange some things on the blog. I'm keeping the OSU color scheme (and will til we stomp ND in the Fiesta Bowl). I'm also keeping me as the author (though I'm working on a guest blog coming from a much better writer than I). But I did decide to change around the links section.

Because I love lists, I thought I'd use one to explain my changes...

1. I'd love to get rid of links but...I wouldn't have found many blogs I love if others hadn't linked to them on their sites. I think there are real gems here that I hope you check out. Just don't forget who told you to check them out!
2. Some links needed to be added. I couldn't believe that some places I have bookmarked and check daily still weren't on my links. Scan the list. If you see something you didn't see before, check it out. I do.
3. Some needed to be removed. Not over any major issues. Most were removed simply because they aren't updated often enough. One or two may have been removed due to content. But even those, I still check out. I just couldn't justify being a pastor and steering some of my students there. Some were removed for another reason...
4. What to do with "Community Links?" I don't really like the layout of Xanga, but I do have to admit, they really seem to have a community thing going. I'd love to highlight the blogs of students and former students in the youth group, but I feel at times that I am intruding. If you are in SHAKE, or have been in SHAKE, and would like your link listed...I'd love to put it in my links (seriously, some of your are incredibly thought provoking, and I'm really hoping you give me permission to list you). But if you don't let me know, I leave it off, in respect of your privacy.
5. The format needed changed. The old form seemed to be more about the person than the website. I decided to switch my links to let you know where I usually cruise. Again, it's not everywhere I go, but many of the places.

In the end, I'm sure this format won't last. Is it wrong to cry out "semper reformanda" when referring to a blog?


  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    of course, now my links are acting up!

  • At 1:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    For what it's worth...

    1. Links are great and you should have them. I should too, I've just never gotten around to it (though I plan on including them when I redesign my site early next year). Like you, I've found some fantastic sites and some entertaining blogs thanks to other folks' blogrolls. Without a doubt, you've incorporated some interesting clicks on your own list.

    2. Ideally, a link list, like the blog itself, is a liquid entity, never quite complete. I appreciate lists that are a reflection of the individual's preferences, interests and online habits. (And I'm always stumped by people that feel the need to link to Amazon or Google or Yahoo... what's the point? Do they really view their own site as a traffic nexus or a search/shopping gateway for their visitors?)

    3. "Needed"?

    I think here's where we differ. It's your list and you should run it how you like, but, speaking as someone who's been ejected from your list due to "content" issues, I can't help but wonder the reasoning behind attempting to protect your high school students from your own online habits. I'm fairly sure I'm the only one whose content was too questionable (which is puzzling in itself) to remain on Caribouyah. What's the profile of a person who shouldn't come across my blog through yours?

    In fairness, you wrote to me ahead of time to tell me you'd be removing me (a courtesy I wish others had extended, frankly), which I appreciated. I told you I wasn't offended and I'm not. I told you I kind of understood, but I guess I didn't realize that you were switching to an exclusively Pastors & Ministry prerequisite, which, to me anyhow, sends an odd message.

    "Are you holy enough for the Khrist Klub?" probably isn't your intent, but that's sort of how it comes off.

    I've been fairly transparent about my own faith on my blog, but I admittedly talk about it rarely. Like any Christian, I'm a work in progress. Should a believer have progressed to a certain spiritual point before it's okay for a pastor to link him?

    This is all gut reaction from a person who isn't even considerate to have his own link list, so take it for what it's worth. And no guilt intended here, but, rest assured, when I have a link list you'll be on it.

    4. I can't imagine a reality where anyone with a blog (or a Xanga or a LiveJournal or a TypePad) would refuse a link. If they didn't want others reading, they'd leave their thoughts on their own hard drive. I say link away, they'd probably really appreciate it.

    (Out of curiosity, would any of your SHAKE students get Cari-booted if, on their Xangas, they occassionally cracked wise about masturbation, linked to SomethingAwful.com or used the word "shit"?)

    5. "Needed"?

    When you mentioned the old format being more about ther person than the website, do you mean you and your site or those you're linking to and their respective sites? If it's the former, I'd just like to say that I think you do a pretty splendid job of balancing the person with the issues you raise. I expect I'll read as long as you have something to say.

    Unless it's a sports post. My ADD can only withstand so much.

    I hope this isn't coming off as combative. I love the internet for its free exchange of undilluted ideas and perspectives. While it may not be Ultimate Wisdom, I do believe that there is a certain wisdom in crowds, and I can't think of a better place to hold a discussion.

    This isn't me confronting, this is just me asking.

  • At 2:00 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    gotta admit jer, my first thought after reading your comment was to delete it.

    however, i think you do say some good things, and it's good to see the "conversation" for others to read.

    2) couldn't agree more about the yahoo/google/amazon thing. cracked me up!

    3) allow me again to explain the issue:

    it's not about "protecting students." they certainly hear words/phrases/topics all day. what they may be reading on some links is certainly not a shock.

    granted, my links have taken a pastoral/ministry flavor, but in many ways, so has my blog. it's certainly not exclusively that way, but it is a majority of it. (believe me, your not being in ministry has nothing to do with you not being included in the new format...nor was that a factor for others removed).

    4) For those who were/are actively involved in our youth ministry, you are probably right. but for those who are marginally involved or their family attends our church, but they rarely do...it's much more difficult to discern.

    it just seems easier to me to let students decide if they want to be linked or not. (it also keeps me from having to determine which student has a good blog and which doesn't.)

    Cari-booted nice word! good question. and of course, this paragraph also exposed a lot of the issue.

    i think crass language flies in the face of ephesians 4:29 and philippians 4:8 (and others). therefore, if a student's blog was filled with that content, i would say something to that student. and probably, if the language persisted, i would remove them from the links as well.

    never would i do that as a "punishment." though you disagree, i feel my language was quite inappropriate during my christian college years. while i will stand before God completely responsible for that on my own, one reason my language was bad was because others around me were using similar language, so i thought it must be ok. i don't want to create that kind of community here. but rather, would love to have a community where we are all calling each other further, not hardened to things we should see as wrong.

    i love you jer, and i will continue to check out your blog. i don't know if that makes me a hypocrite or not for removing your site from my links.

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger Jones said…

    you can go ahead and link to my blog

  • At 6:54 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    Delete it? Would it be naive of me to ask why?

    Thanks for the mostly good-natured response, but I can't help but feel you're dodging the meat of my comments and questions. If it's not about protecting students, what's it about?

    By the way, who says I'm not in ministry? I just don't get paid for it.

    (Half kidding there, but there's a legitimate point behind it - those of us who don't minister as a profession often feel out of the Club, which is what I was alluding to earlier. It's an issue that extends far beyond your links list, too. Ministers are always quick say that they're wrestling in the muck like everyone else... they just rarely act like it. Though it might appear otherwise, I'm not proud of my failings. I do try to be open about them, though.)

    As for crass language, I don't know. I'm not sure I want to turn this into a hair-splitting discussion about what constitutes swearing and how bad it really is... Suffice it to say, I think 4-letter words are one fairly inoccuous aspect of language, which is, by nature, ever-evolving. Words only have as much power as we give them and I've always had trouble working out why one word can be good, another iffy, and yet another completely off-limits if they all mean the same thing, particularly if one's aim is to communicate clearly.

    Phillipians 4: think about things that are true and noble and right and pure and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy? Absolutely, but should we think only about these things? No chance, or we'd be avoiding most of the Bible. Ephesians 4: what's "unwholesome" talk? Curse words? I don't know, sounds a little too easy to me and I think that misses the point. Packaging's important, but content is moreso.

    Thanks for continuing to read my site, but I don't think the real issue is hypocrisy. Well, maybe it is. I don't know. Honestly, the more I think about it, I'd rather be booted from a links list because I'm not topically speciallized (i.e. my blog isn't ministry-centric) than "objectionable content for teens" issues.

    As ever, though, it's your blog.

  • At 8:49 AM, Blogger ~d said…

    i read a good article called Taming the Tongue that makes a good argument for choosing carefully the words we use in everyday language. it can be found at the following address. sorry, i don't know how to make it a link...


    it seems to me that those who try to claim that words are just words and only have as much power as we give them are not being honest with themselves. why use words that shock or offend if that is not your intent? there are other more descriptive ways of saying things that don't shock or offend and carry just as much (or more) weight. it's certainly easier to use crass language because you don't have to think as much, but then one also comes off as a little more uneducated.

    i don't want to pick a fight here, but i do get weary of hearing this kind of questionable defense for inappropriate language.

  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    You know, in 5th grade I had a teacher who claimed "swearing only demonstrates a limited vocabulary" and it made great sense to me at the time.

    As an adult, though, I'm forced to think about it a bit more and concede that the most literate, intelligent people I've ever met or read use swear words. How could this be? Individuals with stunning vocab reserves at the ready are turning to the dirties?

    Maybe, within a given context, a so-called "swear" is the exact word they feel appropriate to use, with all the nuance and associations behind it.

    An author I respect a great deal once pointed out (and this isn't verbatim) that words are important and powerful, but only so far as their ability to communicate. A word is really only a tool and when we begin cherry picking certains words and decide, "nah, not fit to use," we're only limiting our own ability to communicate.

    ~d, your article was... interesting, put it that way... but, ultimately, the author only succeeded in demonstrating his own narrow ignorance. His list of "What's Wrong With Swearing?" items could have been helped immeasurably if he'd have added the phrase "to me" after each bullet. He's attempting to pull from his subjective experience to produce objective statements. In the end, he's focusing more on his own reactions to the words than the meaning behind them. Package over content.

    While it's sweet and convenient to claim that those who swear "don't have to think as much", but I'd challenge you to spend a bit more time with the issue. Who is it "inappropriate" to? You? Everyone? The context of the statement? If so, who decided? You? God? How do you know?

    It's a little difficult to discuss this without going into specific examples, but I'm not out to offend.

    And besides, I doubt Danny would appreciate it.

  • At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Would a "Links to blogs whose opinions may not reflect the views of the management" disclaimer help?

    As far as language goes, I had a memorable conversation with a German born lady after she used the phrase "they can kiss my a**" during the fellowship time at a communion service. She had learned her English from TV and hadn't picked up on some of the subtleties of appropriate word choices. So we went thru all the English words for that part of the anatatomy and tried to describe what setting they would be appropriate for. It was hysterical.

    In describing appropriate language usage we should distinguish between, cursing, swearing, profanities, obscenities and vulgarisms. (excuse me for not clarifying the issue with examples) Jeremy is right in that these less honorable forms of speech can be used to great effect. Most of the ones in the Bible are hidden in the English translations.

    Personally I've liked, though not always agreed with, Jeremy's edge.

  • At 4:47 PM, Blogger David said…

    On a theoretical level, I agree with Jeremy. On a practical one, I leave it up to the individual. I think the argument that swearing displays a poor vocabulary does not hold much weight. Is a wholesome individual who says "rats" or "shucks" in place of profanity demonstrating an expansive word selection? I try my darnedest (<--bow in awe at my vocabulary) not to use swear words in front of other people primarily because, whether those words are wrong or not, they are perceived as wrong to others. I agree with Jeremy's frustration with how three words of the same denoted meaning can be esteemed at different levels of vulgarity. The "S" word is wrong, "crap" is questionable, but "poo" is fine? Again, I guess we should avoid the "bad" ones just to avoid offending or misleading other people, but still...seems so silly.

  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger danny2 said…


    i don't mean to be dodging anything. if i'm coming accross a little vague, it's because i value our relationship and fear that i often sound too harsh in written form (probably in open verbal form too!).

    when i asked you about movie content, you once told me you would have no problem making a movie with sex (outside Biblical standards) and violence in it, as long as those things were portrayed as sin. yes, those things are in the Bible and "the filth" (shown in its proper context) teaches us of the righteousness of God. you're totally right.

    if you are not sure why i considered deleting your comment...cruise around my site a little more. take a look at every article. then scan through and check out the comments sections. notice anything different? your comment is the only place that has certain words or topics included in it.

    we could get into the discussion about language (which, incidently, i believe if you were to approach it biblically, you wouldn't have a case). bottom line: words have meaning. words are quite rich (Jesus says they REVEAL the condition of our heart).

    but let's not talk about you and language. let's talk about others.

    a). i am not trying to disciple students to use some of the language listed in your comment (or on your blog, for that matter). the issue isn't whether they ever use the words, or whether they hear them. the issue is whether i want students to think that that language is appropriate. they see me linking a site that regularly uses language i find inappropriate, they may think i think the language is ok.

    b). if you enjoy my blog, i ask you to be considerate of me. consider the words you used in the paragraph in your original comment. there are probably multiple occassions at your work where you could put those together in a sentance and hardly get response, let alone negative consequences. now, consider me. can you think of any environment where i could read all of your original comment from the pulpit before my congregation? i can't. i believe i should be the real me in front of people when i preach (and strive for this) but do not believe that means i need to use explatives from the pulpit. i think it means i need to cleanse the rest of my speech, so that my personal speech and my preaching match.

    c). consider the other readers. again, no one else on this site has ever used similar language.

    seriously jer, i want you to comment. you make me think by what you say. i fear that others reading may get distracted by the few choice words you use and not see your intelligence.

  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…


    Thanks for the thought. I should reiterate, though, that I'm neither hurt nor offended that Danny no longer includes me in his list of links. I hope I'm not coming across otherwise. On the contrary, knowing Danny's feelings on the matter, I'd rather not be listed. I've been friends with him and Charity for a long time and that friendship is something I value far more than a link list mention. Really, I just thought it a good topic to dialogue about here.

    By the way, I'd have paid ready money to have been a fly on the wall during your discussion with the German lady.


    Actually, your thoughts sum up my own perfectly. A cuss is a word and my hesitancy to use them in a given situation has much more to do with the possibility of offending or alienating that person than it does with saying something that's on God's List of Bad Words.

    I stand by my earlier statement: words have as much power as we give them (to clarify, not "we" as in a given speaker, but "we" as in a collective culture of word-users, actively using and evolving language).

    Pastor Wright:

    I guess, if you're being intentionally vague to avoid hurting me or our friendship, well... thanks. I wish I could tell you not to sweat it and say what you have to say without fear, but the truth is you may be right. I do value your opinion, particularly your opinion of me. You should feel free to be frank with me, but I trust you.

    To be honest, I never considered the possibility of your taking issue with my use of the "s" word above (assuming that's what you meant), given the context. Which, really, was the point of my rant. It's much more about content and context than four silly letters. I'll stand before God one day and I believe I'll be asked where my salvation and justification could possibly come, despite my sins. Sins that have more to do with the state of my heart than my life-long cuss count (which came out to 12 between February and March of this year!).

    Again: you're right, words do have meaning. But the meanings change and so do the associations behind them. Human beings didn't invent language, but we did invent English. Who decides what words mean? We do. Who can change their meaning? As a collective, we can.

    To your points:

    a) You don't want your students to think that you think my use of language is okay (and, to be clear here, I'm really not a swear machine. On occassion, I'll use it if it fits. Or if I'm stuck on the 405... I really let fly on the 405). No prob. I've probably provoked a bit more than you'd have liked in your comments sections, but I don't think I've been too salty with the language... have I?

    Anyhow, I do understand your position with discipleship. It's not exactly my view, but I can still respect it.

    b) Again, I think I've mostly been fairly respectful of your desires for your site with my comments. I'm not out to offend.

    To be fair, though, my comments aren't designed to be read from your pulpit, they're designed to be read on your blog. I'm not attempting to represent your views or values, only my own. And while I'm hanging out in your digital crib, I'll happily play by the house rules. I imagine I'll never be invited to speak at your church (which is their loss, dude, I'd rock that house!). I'm comfortable with that.

    c) I do consider the other readers. Is all this really about typing out the other three letters of the "s" word up there, or are there other instances of my use of language you're referring to?

    Maybe certain words do distract people from my main point. It's not how I'm wired when listening to/reading others, but it's a valid thought. On my own blog and in my own life, though, I try to say what I mean, in the way that I mean it. And sometimes what I mean ain't "dung" or "poop" or even "crap"... I mean "s___".

    I just won't say it here.


  • At 8:08 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    thanks jer for being understanding.

    you check this blog too often!!!!! before bed, charity read my comment and told me to reiterate that i really enjoy you being on my blog and your comments. i told her i could do it the next morning...of course, you checked before then!!!!!

    i appreciate you being willing to "play" by my rules!

    look forward to more of your comments.

  • At 8:09 PM, Blogger ~d said…

    i guess i don't check back often enough...

    i read your response, jeremy, and will give the issue more thought, as you suggested.

    and i find it's not good practice for me to write while i think, so i'll get back to this later :)


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