Tag Archive: gaza

I’ve heard about this a lot lately. Perhaps you have too?

If you are someone who posts blogs or maybe reads some regular ones – you know, the kind that attempt to speak life and truth and goodness into the world and are not too scared to challenge or speak up against the systems and the people who perpetrate those systems – and comments on them, you will likely know what I am talking about.

Mean people. Commonly referred to as trolls. You know those big mean lumbering beasts that used to hide under bridges and terrorise anyone who would walk across THEIR BRIDGE.

Because that is often what it looks like, right? Whether it be vegetarianism or the crisis in Gaza, race vibes or the LGBT conversation… for the most part trolls have THEIR PARTICULAR BRIDGE, or issue, that they camp out on [or under] and from just reading some comments, it is as if all some people do with their lives is follow threads pertaining to THEIR BRIDGE and jump on and attack and accuse and misdirect… [and are downright nasty!]

I have heard it being named as the ‘Uck’ of the Mean Peoples – I am not sure where this term originated, but I have seen it on posters and cover pictures and even one time on a t-shirt.

What does ‘Uck’ mean? I can only hazard a guess, although having been trolled [for refusing to promote a particular worthy cause out of a number of worthy causes I get asked to promote and for refusing to share an opinion on a topic I didn’t feel I knew enough to share on, are two examples that come to mind – oh, and if you are reading this, please do go and support your local World of Birds because they do an amazing job of, um, managing a world that is, um, full of, birds?] and having read way-too-many-for-one-person’s-lifetime comments on other peoples’ blogs and articles I think that it might be one I will get pretty right.

UCK – this term seems to be a derivative of negatory exclamation or descriptive words, so ‘Ugh’ and ‘Yuck’ come to mind and maybe it is the product of an Ugh and a Yuck coming together in holy matrimony and having a little troll baby. It seems to be a hateful essence built into a secret [or not so secret!] agenda that typically takes a specific topic [as mentioned before, that individual’s BRIDGE] and claims ownership of one particular way of looking at it. And good luck to anyone who thinks or writes differently, because the ‘Uck’ will cause that person to immediately respond in attack mode, often going straight for the jugular of personal identity as the means of ‘winning the argument’ [in their own mind at least]

“You’re stupid”

“How can anyone think that?”

“You are a reprobate” [Yup, I got this one. I actually secretly like it because the word does have a nice ring to it]

“You’re a #$%& piece of @&?$ and I hope you @%&$ die” [I just love guessing games. I’ll go with ‘P’?]

A person’s sexuality, their parenting skills, their intelligence and even their continuing existence on the planet are all brought into question as a troll digs their claws in and often the original comment or written piece is left behind as concise, creative critique gives way to slanderous accusation or vile hypothesis.

This ‘Uck’ that mean peoples bring to various forums has caused a lot of personal pain to a number of people I know or have ‘met’ online. They write a brilliant, often edgy and challenging [but sometimes completely innocent and innocuous] piece and really handle a sensitive topic well and then so much of the good that has been done is unravelled for them by a bunch of nasty, unloving, comments.

97 comments praising a written piece and speaking of how it has brought transformation or a different voice to a complicated issue and 3 mean-spirited, Uck-flavoured, troll speaks and guess which ones stick in the writer’s mind?

While I do get that it is out there and have witnessed enough of it to be able to take online commentary with a pinch of salt, I cannot for the life of me figure out where it originates. A lot of it is simply people being so passionate about a particular topic that their comments get a little bit out of hand as they try and express their feeling. But there is a level of Uck-ness that just feels like pure hate or evil. And as I sit and read the comments and try and imagine myself inside that person’s head, I just cannot do it. I can not understand where such a depth of hate is birthed in a person.

Clearly the growth of Facebook and The Twitterer have made it easier for people to gain access to other people’s thoughts and words and sitting behind a computer screen, hidden behind the moniker ‘Troof437’ makes it feel really safe and easy to simply let the fingers type whatever you would never be able to say out loud in real life to anyone. The anonymity of so many of our internet platforms seems to be the feeding ground from which ‘Uck’ emerges.

Or have I got it all wrong? Is it just possible that ‘Uck’ is actually a severe medical condition requiring urgent assistance and intervention? Might there be medication that can be administered? Perhaps the starting point of eradicating the ‘Uck’ of all the Mean Peoples on the internet is simply making people aware of it?

If this is true, then I will need your help. This is not a battle I can win by myself. If you are on a social network, then I will need you to start talking about this. Start making campaigns and posters, a pass-it-on-video you can challenge your friends with and maybe even a clever cover or profile pic…

What do you say? Is this something you would like to see an end to?

Then join me.You cannot stay silent any longer. Let us once and for all rid the internet bridges of all their trolls and help them find treatment and a way to return to normal society with their heads and typing fingers held up high.

We should definitely create a trending hashtag to help us bring this to the fore. Whatever you write, wherever you share this, however you plan to get your voice behind this campaign, hashtag it with me.


oh we Christians can be a hated bunch. and rightly so in way too many times and spaces [although almost always when we say or do things that aren’t particularly Christ-following in nature]

this week i was called a ‘reprobate’, told i have no spiritual teeth [i am not quite sure what that means but i think i was meant to be offended] , a ‘coward pastor’ and i think there was an insinuation that i am evil [when i said i was going to watch a movie with friends, the response that followed was ‘Even the evil love their friends and family.’ [and all this from someone who calls herself a ‘fellow believer’] all because i mentioned on facebook that i didn’t feel i had the authority to share effectively on the situation in Gaza because i am not up to speed on everything that is happening there.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13.34-35 New International Version]

this did not feel like that.

last nite, tbV and i attended a wedding of some friends of ours in Americaland… this is four days before we leave the country where we have been living and working in non-profits and return to South Africa… also about two months ago they weren’t even engaged… there was an engagement and then a sense of ‘You’re leaving when?’ and then a scurrying to make a wedding happen so that we could be there before we left for SA. i was invited to MC at the reception after the wedding and we just got to spend a fun and fondu-filled evening with church friends and especially be there for a significant life event for some friends we have gotten to know and love over here.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13.34-35 English Standard Version]

this felt a lot like that.

on the way home from the wedding, my beautiful wife Val told me a story of the way that some friends of ours really went above and beyond in terms of showing love to another friend of ours who was in a really bad place and feeling completely low. a welcome at the airport with some of her significant and favourite things and a week of just showering her with love and friendship and special attention. in a completely tired and shattered state, driving us home after the wedding and just so ready for bed, this story lifted my spirits immensely and gave me huge hope and was really not the hugest surprise knowing the people in question.

34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. [John 13.34-35 American Standard Version]

arrive home from the party and discover an envelope that a friend and someone who had worked alongside me in the youth ministry had slipped into my hand at Friday’s farewell party that other friends of ours [that we hadn’t even spent crazy time with] had offered to throw for us – open it and read amazing and encouraging words in a card but also an immensely generous gift from someone who had spent so much of last year out of a job… catch a glimpse of the photo/message book that another friend of ours [again, someone who we hadn’t spent a lot of time with] put together for us to map out significant parts of our journey in Oakland and remind us of the people we loved and who loved us along the way… close my hand around the wad of cash my bossman gave me towards buying a new computer when we get home [before this one completely catches fire and burns up from overheating] and smile again at the pics of our visit to a place called ‘Bacon Bacon’ which could only be the best place to take me to celebrate the end of working for him…

34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” [The Message]

all of those things felt a lot like this.

don’t get me wrong. there are definitely times to call people out and to challenge people when they are not living up to the message they are proclaiming. Jesus had a field day with the Pharisees and the people in the temple and on many occasions even His own disciples. there is a time for harsh words and sometimes even harsh actions.

But the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13, remind us of this important principle:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Which is followed by this reminder of the kind of choice Love that often takes a little bit more effort, and personal cost, and perseverance, to achieve:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

If the person or the thing or the event, does not have love, then it is not of God.

The Love of God is the tattoo of the Christian. It is the mark by which we will be known and recognised.

It will hopefully do the job of helping attract other people towards God.

Who is the Source of all that is Love and Good and Right.

Thank you to all of those who have loved us well in the whole of life, but especially in these last few weeks and days… it has been muchly appreciated!

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