Archive for May 23rd, 2008

When Christians Spam

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

This has bugged me for a long time.

 I get about 600 spam messages per day to my various e-mail addresses.  Most of them get caught and eliminated by the junk mail filters in Thunderbird, but about 10% of them get through.  And, even though my e-mail client filters out the bulk of them, I still have to wait while they are all downloaded.

This is such a waste of time — and time is at a premium for me, as it probably is for you.  Between the web sites, the church, the ministry, personal study and prayer, and the family, there isn’t any “extra” time, so when something takes more time than it ought to, that time has to come from one of the these areas.

 Every time I get junk mail, the person who sent the junk mail has stolen time from my on-line ministry, the church, my off-line ministry, my personal prayer and study time, or my family.

But this isn’t just a rant against spammers.  I expect the world to behave that way.  I expect the world to try to steal my time and my money.  I expect the world to try to hinder my ministry and attack my family.

What I didn’t expect was for Christians to do it.  I don’t know why I didn’t expect it — Christians today have such a casual attitute morality, ethics, and character, that it is not at all uncommon to see Christians behaving, talking, singing, and looking just like the rest of the world.

 My bubble was burst about 18 months ago, when there was a sudden surge in spam … from Christians.  It wasn’t just the fact that it was from Christians, but that it was specifically from Baptists.  One in particular even had the gall to send me a “thank you” note for joining their e-mail list.

When one of these people send out a junk mailing, I get about ten or twelve copies of it because so many of my e-mail addresses are on junk mail lists.  The Christian spam comes mostly to support e-mail addresses that could only have been obtained by harvesting them from my web site (then sold to anyone with a nickel).

I can understand sending e-mail messages to people who have subscribed to your mailing list.  I can even understand sending periodic messages to people who have joined your web site or shopped at your store, as long as you give them a change to opt out with every e-mail.  In all of these cases, there is a pre-existing relationship between you and the person receiving the e-mail.  As long as that pre-existing relationship exists and you provide a way to opt-out with every mailing, I don’t see a problem with bulk mailings and am not personally offended at receiving them.

However, it’s an entirely different matter  when someone pruchases or rents a harvested list and blasts 10,000 or 100,000 e-mails out to people on the list.  Christians should know better — yet the junk mails keep on coming.  And my time keeps getting stolen.

 I’ll talk some more about this in a few days …