Saturday, 6 August 2011

of Church Email Lists

"We must be on a mailing list."
Recently I received an email which had been forwarded on to me by a mutual acquaintance. It originated in a local institutional church. Yes, I know the discussion against calling a Christian meeting house "church," but I'm going to go ahead with it anyways for the purpose of this post.

It was a nice email that centred on a praise item thanking the Lord for a miraculous cancer healing. It really was a wonderful story that also led me to be able to rejoice with the person healed and say "Praise God!" I'm sure that was the whole intent of the email in the first place; sharing the good news of God's grace in a miraculous healing. If it were me, I would want to announce the good news of my healing to the world as well. I'm sure most of us would. Now, I'm really not looking to air all the garbage of institutional Christianity; I'm really not. In many ways, I would prefer to simply "live and let live." However, I noticed something rather odd on the footer of that email message that, well let's just say, I couldn't resist. It said,
"The church mailing list and email distribution through the email coordinator is only for church business, fellowship, or other church related information. Requests to use the email list for non-church matters will be ignored by the email distributor. Requests to sell items or to advertise a service will not be permitted. The email list is not to be distributed beyond church members and adherents."
Huh? Oh, I know why they added that. They don't want to be bombarded by unsolicited email spam any more than the rest of us do. However, the spirit of the sender's email was to publicly praise God for a cancer healing. Unfortunately, the way I read it, he or she was not permitted to do so outside of their little "church" community. The very fact that I got the email forwarded to me, even though I have a distant connection to that institution, is probably a violation of their email "rule."

The whole thing reads like a footer on a corporate business email message, like the one we might receive from the CEO of the firm we work for. They themselves even called it "church business!" Wow, the "business" of doing church? Am I missing something here? The business I work for has similar warnings attached to all their email messages. In a secular business setting that makes sense; but in a church group? That's like me Twittering a particularly meaningful Scripture verse that blessed me this morning, and then saying as a postscript that my tweeted message is intended only for evangelicals and not charismatics. How stupid would that be?

I guess this shouldn't really surprise us. After all, it is just another on the growing list of how the institutional church is looking more and more like the world.

Anyone want to buy a "church" email list that I just acquired? LOL, no, just kidding ;)

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