Tag Archives: junk mail

Poop Cards, Gift Bag, Projector Box, Christian Junk Mail – Monday Messy Office Report – Vacation edition – June 24, 2014

24 Jun

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!

elephant poo cards3. 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!

The Monday Messy Office Report – February 10, 2014

10 Feb

My Friday, tidy office is mysteriously messy by Monday.  Here’s what I found today:

1. Two styrofoam cups with hot chocolate and stirring straws, the unmistakable evidence that my two youngest children stopped by at some point yesterday morning!  Yesterday was a Coffee Break Sunday here at Faith Church, so I have to admit being a bit concerned about the timing of their visit.  Here’s why: on Coffee Break Sundays, we pause our worship service, dismiss the preschool and elementary kids to their classes, and everyone else heads to the Fellowship Hall (adjoining the sanctuary) for snacks and fellowship for about 15-20 minutes. When we first started this (we got the idea from another church), I was nervous, like I am anytime we change things up, which we try to do on a regular basis.  But people have expressed how much they enjoy it!  So back to the hot chocolate.  If my kids were dismissed to their classes, how did they get hot chocolate?  Skipping out on Sunday School?  Ha!  I suspect they got it before worship started with every intention to finish it later.  I can’t tell you how often I find half-empty cups of hot chocolate in my office…and they’re usually pretty nasty looking a day later.

2. A list of names of people interested in a community garden and a video about sustainable organic gardening.  For a couple years now, we’ve been talking about offering garden plots to neighbors in our community.  Faith Church has a huge back yard which is adjacent to a couple apartment complexes, which combined have over 600 units.  Residents living there are not able to have gardens of their own.  What if we were to cultivate a section of our grass, start garden plots, and have Faith Church gardeners serve as mentors to people in the community who would like to learn gardening?  We’re going for it!  Yesterday we had a brief meeting of people interested.  I’m excited about where this could lead.

3. An envelope marked “Confidential”.  Those envelopes always bring a knot in my stomach.  What treasure might I find inside?  In this case, I knew exactly what it was.  Every five years, we ask all of our children and youth ministry volunteers to update their serving application and have a background check.  People fill out the forms, seal them in envelopes marked “Confidential” and return them to me.  We don’t have to do this.  Our insurance company only strongly advises that we do it.  But in our culture it is a reality if we want to help our families feel confident that they are leaving their kids in a safe environment.  Interestingly, the Ethiopian Orthodox church that rents from us (meeting on Saturday mornings), doesn’t seem to be encumbered by these procedures.

4. Mail.  I often pick up Saturday’s mail on Sunday morning.  Just like you we get a LOT of junk mail at the church.  And tons of catalogs from Oriental Trading.  I’ve often wondered how much money they spend sending what seems like two catalogs every week?  On Saturday we received a mailing from our seminary about their golf tourney!  I am terrible at golf, but I love our seminary.  My eight years there (part-time) were wonderful.  The leadership, professors and staff there are doing an incredible job serving the Lord in the area of education.   The cool thing about Evangelical is that you don’t have to be a pastor or missionary to study there.  The seminary has loads of accessible learning opportunities.  Check it out here.

Now to clean this office up…