Letter To The Editor - Revisited


Twenty years ago when I began theMangoTimes, I included a section called: "Letters to the Editor." At that time, theMT was not even in blog form, so my readers would email me what they were thinking. This was before blogging with comments took off and people were able to interact directly with the writers of blogs and websites. Since that time, microblogging and social media have enjoyed both a rise and fall in popularity. I am glad theMangoTimes survives and I believe that blogs/personal sites like this one still have a purpose.

I have been doing some site maintenance and I found an old post I wanted to reshare/update with you all. It was from 10 years ago when one of my readers asked the following question:

READER: "Do you think anybody cares about what you write in theMT?"

Here is my response and I've added some updated thoughts for 2018.

EDITORS RESPONSE: Nope, I don't really care.

Don't get me wrong, if you are reading this post, then I am glad you found your way to theMangoTimes (please continue to read more of what I have written. You might find something to giggle about).  But, just so everyone knows, I don't write for the masses.  I've always written for Kendra and a few good friends that I think might chuckle at some of my words.  At the beginning of theMangoTimes, it was an email newsletter that I sent to my family and a few friends. In 1995, not everyone had email. In fact, I remember that my mom would take the time to print out the emails for my dad to read on a paper copy. Anyhow, after the first dozen or so email issues of theMT were sent out, I found out that people were forwarding what I wrote in theMT to their families and friends throughout the country. 

There was even one time that I attended a wedding of a friend and a total stranger was introduced to me and said, "Oh, you're Fletch. The same Fletch that writes theMT?"  That was a weird moment back in 1996, but also a revealing moment as I first realized that everything you write in an email or post online is public and can be forwarded to anyone on the planet. 

Even so, I don't think of "everyone" when I write. I really think of my wife and then a very small audience of friends who I know might laugh along with me. I do my best at correcting my grammar and proofreading my posts, but I also assume that my brother-in-law, Jeff, will alert me to my mistakes as he adds his own commentary to what I've written. I like to think that theMT will occasionally pierce into the academic world of my good friend Byron so he can laugh along with my antics.  I don't even expect anyone to leave a comment. But after 20 years, I find  that my high school buddy, James, still faithfully comments on most of my blog posts or social media links.

Here's the funny part: Just when I think people are not really listening or reading theMangoTimes, I will suddenly get a heated reply or most likely a Facebook comment from someone bent out of shape about what I wrote regarding the trap of religion, the freedom of the gospel, or when they disagree with my version of joyful Christian living.

My subscription list continues to grow and that is also a subtle reminder that there are a few folks out there who are reading what I write and care about it.

Still, when I really think about the question, it's as simple as this: If Kendra laughs out loud when reading theMT, then it's a success in my eyes.

Quietly making noise,

P.S. Letters to the Editor is still around. If you want to ask me something, feel free to send in a letter. Some of my best thoughts have come from readers asking questions.

my desk

i'm not big on tags...and typically i won't follow through...but chris at "a mountain homeschool" sent over one that i kind of liked, because it will give you another peek into the international editing headquarters of theMangoTimes. Here is the tag:
What's on your desk?
You can tell a lot about a person by the state of their desk and what they keep on it. So, share what's on your desk. You can take pictures, take an inventory, or do both. Don't have a desk? That's okay, just give us a glimpse into the space where you pay bills, write letters, grade papers, study, or work on the computer.
When you've finished your photos or inventory, post it on your blog and tag five more people to do the same. Don't forget to share the rules with those you tag and ask them to share their posts with you when they are done.

"editor's desk, theMangoTimes"

it's pretty simple folks...college kids all over the internet have their own "myspace"...what you are looking at in this picture is quite literally...my space. this is where it all happens...every word of it...so let me provide a quick rundown.
front and center: macbookpro (by far the best piece of technology i've owned), white/cork board with essential pieces of information
left side of desk: office television for dvd's (tonight..."bourne ultimatum"), bible and notebook, notice the cupboards on the upper left with the taped list of "honey-dos"(i've had three added today).
right side of desk: a nifty basket that is supposed to keep me organized(not working), custom mouse pad (with mangoboys), further right is kendra's space...
(not pictured)...unfortunately...my retro desk chair - circa 1960 - did not make the picture (by the way, kendra doesn't like this chair, but like many things i own, this was chosen entirely for comfort.
missing from this photo: cup of lipton "yellow label" tea, "red vines," or a glass of red wine.

"books and necessities"

first shelf: current reading - books on the sacraments, apologetics, ecclesiology, leadership (and a few pairs of gloves).
second shelf: photography books, a bag of cough drops, and a wooden bowl from hawaii that hides stuff from the kids (like gum and candy)
third shelf: a few seminary notebooks...and...dude! check out the size of that bible!

not much to it...sorry if you expected more...i'm only going to tag one person: paul, show us what's on your desk...

quietly making noise,

Not a Parental Myth: Staring at the Microwave

In reference to several of my entries dealing with parental myths, I was asked by Paul, a loyal reader of theMangoTimes (and I don't hand that title out to just anyone), the following question: "Does looking into a microwave oven as it thaws chicken really damage your eyesight or just your appetite?"

Editor's Response:  Paul, I spent very little time researching this...it's late...my weekend is coming to an end...and besides that, the first website I hit had the advice I was willing to use.  It seems as though this is not a parental myth, yet I don't remember my parents being the ones that warned me about this.  I think this came when I actually bought my first microwave and I read the instructions.  But, if your parents warned you...consider yourself blessed.  My parents could not care less if I was staring into the microwave, they just didn't want me running up escalators or swimming in the pool before my food digested.

Anyhow, in your neck of the woods (Indiana actually), there are some folks that call themselves "a moment in science" and have a pretty decent website.  Here is their entry on the whole microwave deal.  Actually, they answer the "metal in the microwave" question, but along the way they mention that it is NOT okay to look into a microwave for more than a few seconds.  There is a reason...it involves radiation and heated molecules...blah blah blah...you can read it.  But be careful to give your kids the correct advice, otherwise you are in danger of starting a parental myth.

For example, it's okay to say "it's bad for your eyes," but it's probably not okay to say that "it will reprogram your ability to see colors."  Likewise, you can warn your kids that it's not a good thing, but you don't want to mention that glancing at a thawing chicken through the dot-mesh microwave screen will "fry their developing rods and cones." 

So, be careful, you have the next generation to think about.  We don't need an entire generation of children ducking out of the way of microwaves. 

By the way, did you read the first bit of advice on that website: Don't put animals into a microwave.  I realize that myth has been circulating since we were kids, but really...if you need to be told not to put live animals in the microwave...you don't deserve to have a microwave (and you don't deserve to have an animal).  You actually should be at the point in life where people are making your food and cutting it up into bite sized pieces and preferably serving it to you...

Quietly making noise,

Letters to the editor - "What do you mean Reformed Theology?"

I often throw around terms without definitions, mostly because I make assumptions of my friends, my patients or my family - thinking they will know what I mean.  Recently, I've been asked several theological questions, so I'll do my best to answer what I mean when I use certain theological terms like this one below.

Reader: "What do you mean by Reformed Theology?"
Editor's Response: "Words that we use are funny, and they often change meaning.  Think about the terms "fundamentalist" or "evangelical"...these words no longer mean what they once did.  So let me explain what it means when I say that our family is theologically reformed. Basically, this system of theology comes from a specific period in church history called: the Protestant Reformation.  Those "protesters" wanted to reform the Roman Catholic church on several different theological fronts, their cry for reform can be summed up as follows : Faith Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Scripture Alone, and Glory to God Alone.  Simply put, sinners are justified before God by imputed faith alone, not by works or infused faith (which remains the defining point between the protestant and RCC to this day!).  That imputed faith is in Christ alone, not the church, the pope, baptism, or any program and is given to us not because we merit any of God's kindness by our own deeds. It is all God's doing as He draws (drags!) us to Him by His grace. our faith and belief system is based on Scripture alone, not on the words of men, modern day prophecies, or the doctrines of the church, but solely on the inspired Word of God.  Lastly, all that we have and all that we do is ultimately to bring Glory to God. Like the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is the chief end of man?  To bring glory to God and to enjoy Him forever.

Quietly making noise,

Letters to the Editor - "What's with Jimmy Buffett?"

This is really a two part question that I am asked on a semi-regular basis.

READER: "What is with all the references to Jimmy Buffett?"
Editor's Response:
"One of theMT recipients introduced me to the music and lyrics of Jimmy Buffett during my freshman year of college (thanks Stewie!). Jimmy sings about the life I would really like to live: warm breezes, lazy days, tropical drinks, and taking life one day at a time.

READER: "I can't believe you like Jimmy Buffett?"
Editor's Response:
I assume this question comes from someone who has listened to some of the more questionable lyrics. For the most part, Jimmy writes songs that tell a story or paint a picture in my mind.  Most of those stories and pictures are of places I would love to be.  Just yesterday I told my fourteen year old, that a certain Buffett song always reminds me of when Kendra and I first met and fell in love.  Those are some of the best memories in my life - so the music tied to them is just as good.
His music is also responsible for some of my favorite quotes (examples: "Quietly making noise" - "I've had good days and bad days and goin' half mad days" - "If the phone doesn't ring, it's me").  Sure, he's written some trashy stuff, but that's the beauty of editing - and that's not the stuff we listen to anyway.  Typically, his music normally puts a smile on my face and often starts the whole house dancing...and that alone is worth the listen!

Quietly making noise,