>Spamming for Jesus: A Christian Hipster Pleads for Sanity

Posted: 28/01/2010 in church, life, rants

>When Gutenberg invented the printing press, it had an incredibly wonderful effect on Christianity. Whereas for centuries only a few people could a hold a Bible, after the invention the Bible was then manufactured and distributed at an alarmingly fast rate. It was the original information age. It sparked literacy across Europe. Thank God for the movable type!

Now, centuries later, we are in a new information age with not only the internet, but also with email, cell-phones, twitter, podcasts and everything else. Good? Sure, I’m a blogger. I love it. There is however, a bit of abuse; a dark side to this supra-information age. What happens when many Christians start compulsively sending information to other Christians? When does it reach overkill?

Can we stop the Christian spamming?

Yes Christian spamming comes in many ways. It might be a vaguely spiritual email message. They are forwarded again and again. The headline might read “How has God blessed you today?” or “Twelve Reasons why God loves you.” They can also be cause oriented like “Protect Traditional Marriage” or “Pray for Christians in China.” They are often accompanied with stirring images, such as a “Precious Moments” doll, Thomas Kincaide painting, or an image of Korean charismatics in prayer ecstasy.

Other types of Christian spamming might pop up in the cell phones or mobile devices. How about a Christian twitter? 144 characters of a reminder to pray or short devotion delivered throughout the day? Maybe a Bible verse from your pastor, small group leader, or such might be shared through iPhone contact list. Even facebook feeds, which are certain kind of spam, have applications reminding us “What God wants us to know” because no Christian, before facebook, was able to discern that. No sir!

Again, I have to say it: Please stop the Christian spamming!

For those you send the text messages, twitters, and emails, I think I can see where you might be coming from. God, through the Holy Spirit, will send you something that you find warm, enlightening, and otherwise insightful. When we find something insightful -especially when it comes to our faith- it is completely natural to want to share it with everyone that we care about. When it comes to the Christian causes, there is no doubt about the urgency of the issues at hand. Again, it is natural to want to share it with everyone.

But try to see it from the world of the people you are spamming. We all come from our own unique backgrounds. We are all already reading our own devotional material. We probably have a stack of Christian literature on our bookshelves. We even have our own lists of blog feeds, email lists, and news articles that we all subscribe to. Because of all this, what will be insightful, warm and fuzzy, to one Christian (the spammer) may not have the same affect on another Christian (the spammee).

It gets annoying sometimes. It can feel invasive, like someone saying, “this beer is so good! You gotta try it!” and then pouring a pint into my empty glass after I’m already full. Because of this, most Christian spam goes straight to the virtual trash-can.

Now I writing a blog here, so I am as much a fan of technology and sharing and communicating things about God through technology as anyone. Probably more so. My point though, is this: there can be “to much of a good thing.” Good things need to be presented right way at the right time with the right sensitivity from the presenters. That sensitivity means not sending out spiritual insights as if it were mass-marketing junk mail.

Can we please stop the Christian spamming?

  1. Dan says:

    >Oh, I agree! Thank you for addressing this!

  2. Nitewrit says:

    >Unforetunately I don't think we'll see an end to this. Most of these I receive have been sent in good intent, but where these originated I never know, except it is seldom originated by the person who sent it to me.They are passing it on and my suspecion is someone somewhere is just playing a game of let's overload cyberspace. Most of what I get asks (actually tells) me to send it to 10 or 20 of my friends. I never forward anything I receive of this nature. Overload and clutter are not effective ways to spread the Gospel. Larry

  3. Q says:

    >I honestly don't see the issue here. Maybe it's because the only person who sends me stuff like this is my grandpa, and it doesn't really bug me all that much. I really don't see how this is harmful or abusive though, particularly when you're not being forced to read it. It takes, what, 2 or 3 seconds to erase an e-mail or text message? If you don't want to read it, don't read it. I suppose it can be an annoyance if you're getting 200 e-mails a day and this is causing an inordinate amount of stress because half of you inbox is filled with inspirational messages that you don't want from friends.And aside from the ones that have a political overtone to them (which I really don't like and would like to see die), what's wrong with getting an e-mail that reminds you what God has done for you today? Even if I don't read the messages my grandpa sends to me, it's nice to know that he's thinking of me. (The difference may be that my grandpa is sending it to people who he wants to have read it, not just to his contact list). Again, I'm really not sure why this is would be harmful or abusive, particularly when we have spam folders that can collect this stuff for us and do the proper thing with it if we really don't want to get messages like these.

  4. Jin-roh says:

    >There is a bit of exaggeration here, of course, Q.But imagine being woken by Bible verse text messages. Such activity eventually entails the question: "can my relatives not take a hint?"

  5. Q says:

    >Ah, that makes more sense.

  6. Anonymous says:

    >This post could be considered a spam.Yes, for the first time in history the world is now almost instantaneously inter-communicative, and via the inter-net, every ignorant fool can now have his or her "two bob's worth" of say.Most of what is posted on blogs is written by ignorant fools. Or humans that, in their socially constructed normal dreadful sanity, are essentially insane.Every possible Spiritual, religious and philosophical point of view is now available to anyone with an inter-net connection.One can find everything from the most degraded and degrading pornography, to the most extraordinarily beautiful Sacred Art, and the most profound Spiritual Teaching/Revelation.

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