After 3200 miles, we arrived home last Friday evening from a wonderful vacation in Round Rock, Texas with my wife, Michelle’s, cousin’s family. It was great to get away, see new sights, spend time with family who have become very important to us, and make a road trip memory we’ll never forget. But as with any vacation, you probably know the feeling, I have returned to a very messy office. The weekend and Monday morning were full with family and church events, so I am just now working on clean-up. My email inbox was insane, and that was after filtering out a lot of junk during vacation…
Here’s what I found in my office:
1. Projector boxes: Our sanctuary projector is fixed! Later this week, I’ll set it back up. Think about something with me, though. The bill for the repair was $1929.57. To be honest, that number makes me a bit sick in the stomach. …Uh excuse me a second…knock at the door… Ok, I’m back and this is wild, not making this up. A representative from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that rents our church on Saturday mornings just stopped in to drop off their regularly monthly rent check, and they included a check to pay some of the projector repair!
2. Father’s Day gift bag: We weren’t here at Faith Church on Father’s day, so I think this is a bit of what I missed. Our Children’s Ministry had a special Muffins with Moms fellowship time on Mother’s Day, then on Father’s Day they had Donuts with Dad. And I missed it! So thanks to whomever still gave me the gift bag!
3. Card made from Poop: I have no idea why this is on my desk. My wife had picked up some of these in Cambodia on one of her travels there with Imagine Goods, but that was years ago and I thought I had used up my supply. Yes, that is a picture of an elephant doing poo. And yes, they literally take elephant poo and recycled paper and turn them into handmade cards. A label on the back of the card says “the production of the paper and cards provides employment for rural Cambodians and all income produced supports the five elephants of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center – Lucky, Chhouk, Po, Naram & Jamran as they were kind enough to digest and produce our raw materials.” There are few things I can think of that are more awesome than that. Except maybe my all-time favorite joke, courtesy of Monty Python: What is brown and sounds like a bell? Duuuuuuuuung!
4. Christian Junk Mail: When I’m in the office, receiving the mail daily, I guess I’ve gotten used to it, a piece of junk mail here and there. But over the course of 10 days away, it became a formidable pile. Here’s a sampling of the highlights.
- Company sending samples of their Gospel tracts
- World social agency letter…and a duplicate copy of the mailing from the same world social agency
- Church t-shirt company brochure
- A Christmas 2014 music catalogue
- another ugh…a duplicate of the t-shirt company brochure
Guess how much of this kind of mail we actually open? We get bombarded with it. I have a hard time believing that companies actually benefit from these mass mailings, yet they must. Why else would they keep paying to send them? As I think about it, this junk reminds me of the Evangelical machine, and I wonder how far off track we are. Don’t get me wrong. The world social agency that sent two of the exact same letters to our church is doing some amazing things in the name of Jesus’ heart for justice. Our church has partnered with that agency in the past and may do so again in the future. But when I saw that stack of mail I got a nauseating feeling about it all. I don’t believe I know how to respond, and quite frankly part of my knee-jerk reaction is to avoid dealing with it by throwing all the mail away. With that in mind…
Now its time to clean up this mess!