When I was growing up, one of the nursery rhyme stories our teachers told was about the troll who lived under the bridge. The ugly troll would jump out and try to bully anyone trying to cross the bridge. This story has gone the way of the schoolyard game/song, “What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor?” But trolls are having a resurgence, along with the crankiosity of our day.
Crankiosity is my description of people who demonstrate a grandiose sense of entitled crankiness. Maybe it’s the summer heat, but there certainly is a lot of crankiosity going on. The “letters to the editor” page used to be the place where civil disagreement could take place. So were places like civic clubs, churches and schools. Now, though, it seems like crankiose trolls are everywhere. When newspapers, magazines and TV stations started posting their stories online with a way for people to comment, the problem amplified. At first, it was believed people would “self-regulate” their comments and abusers would be reported. That was like believing multinational companies would not need to be regulated because they would seek first the good of their customers.
A “flamer” is a term used to describe a person who anonymously and crudely comments on an internet article. It comes from the root word flamethrower. A flamer seeks to destroy everything about the subject, and the author, of an article. An internet “troll,” on the other hand, just wants to bully and be ugly. They like to jump out and get a rise out of their victims. I guess I’m old fashioned because I believe there is no place for crankiosity among Christ-honoring believers at home, at work, at church, or anywhere else. The “one another” phrases in the Bible just keep coming to my mind. You know the ones: love one another, be kind to one another, serve…, comfort…, rejoice with…, and bear one another’s burdens. It’s harder to be kind than be a troll. I’d better be careful now; I’m starting to sound cranky.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Don’t live under the bridge. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.