Your Hot Take On A Controversial Topic: A Mad Lib

CULTURE | Caleb Mathis | 4 mins

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Anyone else feel the pressure to pose the perfect response to the daily dumpster fire that is the Internet? A hot take that makes your enemies crumble? A meme that brings the collective inter-webs to its knees? A biting piece of social commentary that cements your wokeness?

Never fear. I’ve got your hot take right here. Whether the issue of the day is politics, faith, a scandal, or something involving all three, this Mad-Lib is the perfect tool for crafting a social media post that actually creates some real change in the world.

Feel free to copy and paste. You don’t even have to credit me.

Did you hear about ___________ (Controversial event) happening over in ___________ (Location)?

It’s the Internet age, so it feels pressing and important and close at hand.

But let’s be honest, we’re ___________ (Distance separating you and the event— Check Google maps) miles away from this situation.

Truth be told, I’ve never laid ___________ (Body part — don’t be gross) on any person in this situation.

The best way I can relate to them now is ___________ (Prayer or Empathy — no other options).

I ___________ (Do or Do not) have a personal life experience that, in some way, is similar to what is happening right now.

And yet, I’m not actually part of this situation, so I’m not sure my opinion really matters in the grand scheme of things anyway.

Come to think of it, using this event to get validation from people on the Internet seems a little ___________ (Childish or Sad—actually, it might be both).

What does matter, of course, is how I’m relating to ___________ (Name of a person you see regularly), how I’m caring for ___________ (Something or someone that you feel responsible for) and how I’m pushing myself to grow in ___________ (A discipline or goal you’re pursuing).

I know. I’m just a ___________ (Describe yourself), ___________ (Again), ___________ (Again, again).

But I actually believe I can make a difference in ___________ (Location you routinely visit) by ___________ (What you gonna do to make it better?).

So instead of posting a hot-take on social media, or arguing with strangers on the Internet about ___________ (Controversial event from above), I’m focusing my energy on a place I can actually make a difference. Ya feel? Cool. Baby Yoda.

Still confused? I understand. An example might be helpful. Here you go:

Did you hear about the drama at the State of the Union happening over in D.C.?

It’s the Internet age, so it feels pressing and important and close at hand.

But let’s be honest, we’re 513 miles away from this situation.

Truth be told, I’ve never laid eyes on any person in this situation.

The best way I can relate to them now is prayer.

I do not have a personal life experience that, in some way, is similar to what is happening right now.

And yet, I’m not actually part of this situation, so I’m not sure my opinion really matters in the grand scheme of things anyway.

Come to think of it, using this event to get validation from people on the Internet seems a little childish.

What does matter, of course, is how I’m relating to my neighbor with cancer, how I’m caring for my wife and three children and how I’m pushing myself to grow in putting my phone down at night and being present with my kids.

I know. I’m just a Lord of the Rings-loving, approaching middle-age, mid-western dad.

But I actually believe I can make a difference in my cul-de-sac in Cincinnati by involving my kids in caring for our neighbors—making treats and delivering them.

So instead of posting a hot-take on social media, or arguing with strangers on the Internet about Handshake-vs.-Speech-Tearing-Gate, I’m focusing my energy on a place I can actually make a difference. Ya feel? Cool. Baby Yoda.

The next time something controversial happens (like tomorrow), I dare you to go well beyond just posting a response. Our intellectual acrobatics don’t actually change things. It’s what you do that matters. So go out, and do something. You’ll feel much better afterward AND you won’t have to babysit the comments section. That’s a win-win.


Written by

Caleb Mathis

Dad of three, husband of one, pastor at Crossroads, and at the moment would rather be reading Tolkien, watching British TV, or in a pub with a pint of Guinness.

Published on Mar 3, 2020
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...
  1. What strikes you most about Caleb’s article? Why?

  2. What prompts you to engage political opinions online or not? There’s a great verse in the Bible about letting God search our hearts. If you searched your motives about it, what would you say is driving your response?

  3. If you were to fill in these blanks like Caleb did, what could you write that would be more productive?

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