Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Go figure

 As many of you know, I write a weekly column for a local publication. I have wide latitude to write about whatever I wish, and it's largely an Everyman narrative, as an observer of life. My editors are great about posting my exact words, with an occasional spelling or punctuation correction, for which I am grateful. 

Although infrequent, I express an occasional opinion and will sometimes touch on the political landscape. I have readers who agree and disagree with me, and I receive emails from both sides. I am always happy to get feedback, and I enjoy the interaction.

I have no problem with someone taking issue with something I've written and, in fact, some of the more thoughtful correspondence has come from those who disagree. That is fine with me. 

And it's funny, I've been accused of being both far right and far left. People perceive things in a variety of ways. 

I am always quick to say I don't purport to have all the answers on anything. I like to think of myself as a listener, and  I give due consideration to those who send emails taking me to task for something. 

A few months ago, however, a guy sent an email with a subject line that simply read: "What a jerk you are!" There was no additional content. I replied politely, telling him there was nothing other than his subject line, and asking if he meant to say more. (I admit I was almost certain I already knew the answer, but wanted to at least give him the benefit of the doubt). 

His response read as follows: "I don't want to spend any more time on your incredibly dishonest and biased column . . . I have unsubscribe (sic) to the Home news."

There are no paid subscriptions to the publication. You can sign up for a daily email and/or you can agree to donate a nominal amount per month (as little as five dollars) to support the efforts of the publishers, but anyone can read the content for free. 

But since he said he was "unsubscribing," I forwarded the email to my editor, who recommended I not further engage with him. She was not the least bit concerned about losing him as a reader. People who resort to name calling, she said, are not interested in having civil correspondence. I did not reply to his last email. 

That was back in January, right after the storm on the Capitol in Washington. I had written that, in my opinion, then-President Trump had lost any credibility he ever had. Obviously, this reader disagreed. 

Fast forward to last week's installment in which I wrote about the COVID vaccine. You can read it here: 


I thought this was pretty benign, and respectful of others' opinions. But guess who didn't think that? The same guy who in January called me a jerk and told me he was "unsubscribing!" 

He said I might think the vaccine is the way to put this behind us, "but there are a lot of intelligent people that do not agree with you including 40-50% of the health care workers you are praying for."

(I don't think I said I was praying for anyone, but I appreciate his believing I'm a person of faith). 

He also said I was "flippant" and "disingenuous."

There is so much I could have said in my response to him, but I simply thanked him for writing and explained that if I came across as flippant and disingenuous, I must not have done a good job expressing myself. Two people very dear to me died of COVID, I told him, so it's a matter I take seriously. 

I also told him I was glad he was still reading, making a mild jab at his previous email. 

Not surprisingly, I've not heard from him again. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Tomorrow Easter is celebrated in most of the Christian world, also sometimes called "Resurrection Day," the day in which the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated.  

I say "most" of the Christian world because Orthodox churches follow a different calendar and their Easter Sunday is different from other Christians traditions. This year it's a whole month later. I won't get into all of that -- mainly because I don't understand it -- but suffice it to say, at one point or another, Christians the world over celebrate the resurrection of Christ. 

As a lifelong church attender, I have rarely missed an Easter Sunday in church. Last year, with the pandemic, was one of those rare years. Tomorrow we will be with my daughter and her family. Her church is having an outdoor service. Since I'm only half-way vaccinated, I'm thankful for that. 

My favorite hymn of all time is ""Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Most traditional churches have it played as the opening hymn on Easter Sunday. In the Methodist Church in the small south Arkansas town where I grew up, as it was played and the adult choir processed down the aisle to take their place in the choir loft, there was often a brass quartet accompanying the pipe organ. It was glorious and it gave me chills. 

The text was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The first verse is as follows:

Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia!

Sons of Men and Angels Say, Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

Sing, ye heavens and earth, reply, Alleluia!

There are a total of six verses, although I'm only familiar with the first four. The words are stirring and I would urge you, if you are so inclined, to read or listen to all of them. 

Early in my adult life, I joined a non-denominational church. It's where Wife and I met. An offshoot of the one we attended in Little Rock, Arkansas is the one we are now a part of here in the Nashville area. It's great, but I don't love the music, and I miss hymns like this one. There might or might not be a version of this played/sung, but it won't be in the traditional way (I won't be there tomorrow, anyway, and of course I have no idea if Daughter's church will sing it). 

But thanks to technology, a stirring rendition of this old favorite is as close as YouTube. I'll also go into my living room, open my old Methodist Hymnal, play it on the piano and sing it myself. 

Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen! He is risen indeed!