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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jesus and email: Do Unto Others

by Tom Pappas

I am going to try to convince you that Jesus had email in mind when he spoke to us, through the Gospels, “Do to others as you would have them do to you!” Luke 6:31 NRSV

The Golden Rule seems to be a cultural admonition that has made its way into devout families and those that score 0 on the faith scale, because it is the right thing to do.

The reason this issue is on the tip of my awareness is that are three groups that I send blast emails to frequently.  The response rate is so pitiful that more than once I have checked the Sent Folder to see if it ever went out. 

Be advised, I am not complaining because I can describe each and every one of their non-responses by my own rationales and behavior as I scroll through the day’s email.

  • Noted. Glad to know.
  • Noted. I need to come back to that after thinking it over.
  • Oh, man, that means work for me. I’ll have to craft an answer.
  • Junk – Delete

The problem lies in the ones I put off and are driven deep down the queue and should have some form of reply. Rarely do I scroll down far enough to keep the promises I made to myself when I saw them the first time. Clearly, that is where my unanswered emails reside on the computers of the people on my lists.

Our local newspaper had a recent piece that posited, “Voicemail is Obsolete”. When I tried to find it in the archives I found several like it going back 3-4 years. The phenomenon seems to support this blog and, as parents of adult children, we have had return calls that begin, “I see you left a voicemail.” This means the careful message we left hasn’t been listened to. No offense, we can learn – simpler message next time.

Jesus would answer his emails.  With his own words in mind, wouldn’t he want us to answer the ones he sent to us? Do to others! He clearly would.

And I am answering a call of my conscience to do likewise. There is a Reply button on every email that I get.  My new discipline will be to craft an immediate “thinking” response to the ones that require it. Time Management tells us to handle once; makes sense. That, in my view, is what Jesus would do.

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