Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Deleting Spam


About a week ago I did something stupid in my facebook account (I don't want to get into it, but it involves trying to figure out something about that darn animated dog, "Pokey"), and unleashed an endless stream of spam into one of my email accounts. This could be called a minor annoyance, in some ways: somewhere along the line of getting a lot of junk mail every day. At least with this spam, there isn't any physical clutter in my house.

However, every time I see a new list of 10 or 20 or 30 spam-mails, I'm reminded of my dumb mistake.

At first, I checked off each one separately, before I deleted it. Then I discovered a little button that would automatically delete all spam for me (although I do get the ominous warning "Are you sure you want to delete all these messages?" right before I hit the button). I don't take the time to read the spam (there are too many for that), but sometimes I have caught a glimpse of the first few words, and I've noticed that sometimes they are desperate for me to respond, i.e., "We have been trying to contact you for several days!" or "This is the last time we are going to contact you!"

They don't think they are "spam." They think they are incredible offers that I would be foolish to pass up. They even (sometimes) know my name, which you might think would soften me a little. But it doesn't.

Free laptops, surveys I can take, degree programs, mortgage deals: I delete them all. I recognize them as "too good to be true." Or, as theologians might say, "another gospel."

I wish it was always so easy, and simple to delete the false messages in life, and simply a messy inconvenience as it is with "spam." But not all the sirens out there are so easy to resist. And how is it that we discern the true from the false, what is real from what is leading us astray? For me, the words of the absolution, "In the name of Jesus, your sins are forgiven," are a great gift that sets me free. To someone else, those words might sound just like spam. Too good to be true.

The gospel, truly lived, is an even more incredible offer than a free laptop or a mortgage deal. But maybe that's the rub: truly lived. As I hit "delete" on the spam I can recognize, I renew efforts to speak and write words which are not spam.

It's not so easy.

12 comments:

Jiff said...

I just want to say, "Bless your heart."

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

So insightful. Thank you for this. Yes, actions trump glitzy messages every time.

RevDrKate said...

oh...Pokey's why I'm getting all the spam....I think I must have done the same thing....good to know...we are not alone...thanks for the enlightenment! I love that you can get good from this...all I want to know is where is the virtual dog pound!

FranIAm said...

Oh Diane Diane Diane... such wisdom.

Jan said...

What a hassle! And that describes why I haven't explored Facebook more--guess I'm afraid of what would happen to me--like all that spam. At least this is a good warning!

Diane said...

jan -- there are many fine things to explore on facebook that don't involve getting spam.

mompriest said...

Ok...now I really will not ever have facebook...I'd never figure out the pokey-thing...but that Gospel thing, well that I am willing to try and figure out...

Presbyterian Gal said...

"truly lived" just isn't valued like it used to be.

Great post!

Rev SS said...

Nice! Love the way you drew this analogy.

Barbara B. said...

yes, nice!

and your picture made me hungry for fried spam (which I haven't eaten in about a bazillion years)

:)

Kievas said...

I'm not surprised that you found meaning and inspiration even in the ugliness of dealing with spam :)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh dear. I lost my comment. Well, it wasn't that important. I'm sorry about the spam. That IS annoying.