If You Love Jesus… Forward Another Brainless Email

You’d think I would be desensitized by now.  But, truth be told, I get more irritated each time it happens.  Before their morning coffee has opened passages to their hypothalamus, someone forwards me an utterly asinine email from their Aunt Myrtle which aptly demonstrates the theological aspirations of Joe Q. Christian.  I’m sure it seemed relevant at the time.

The sentiment of Aunt Myrtle’s pining will be less than challenging to anyone who knows any actual scripture (beyond what is printed on their clothing or bumper stickers.)  It will normally be the stuff that Touched By An Angel episodes are made of; such as the heart-warming story of the child who gave a homeless man his happy-fries outside of the local McDonalds.   It may even be an elaborate made-for-email doctrinal hoax about the theological significance of Jesus’ folded “napkin” he left behind in his tomb.  It will in some way demonstrate the supposed beauty of Christ in the most inexplicable and anticlimactic scenarios imaginable.  (After all, the man did DIE for you in the “real” account.)

This email masterpiece would likely have been penned in a 34 point Dr. Seuss “I Can Read” font.  It may have gaudy clipart calligraphy at wantonly random placements.  It will likely have several dozen caret marks from previous forwards (the sure sign of a worthy read!)  And, on rare and glorious occasions, someone musters enough techno-savvy to embed a midi file of a pipe organ screaming out Amazing Grace at 140 decibels.  (In this rare circumstance you will receive a huge purple admonishment to “TurN Up Your SpeaKers!“)

Ok.  So far, no significant harm done.  Aunt Myrtle pulled an all-nighter.  While I cannot begin to comprehend what causes 240 pound construction worker-types to forward this drivel to me, nonetheless I look forward to the point in time when a day’s work for myself might be fulfilled with the mere christening of an utterly kitschy email. 

But it never stops there, does it?

Invariably this tour de force – in order to be bronzed into the spam hall of lore – bears one final exhortation.  This parting summons is the “Aunt Myrtle” equivalent of the double-dog-dare; a challenge so taunting and fearsome that even the reprobate dare not ignore it:  “If you love Jesus, pass this on to ten friends, including the person who sent it to you.

For the record, if you want to make absolutely sure that I DO NOT pass your email along to anyone else, just add that outlandish sniff-test to it.  It’s bad enough that Jesus Junk has found its way into email, and that people believe they are actually somehow fulfilling the Great Commission by blast-forwarding pictures of Cheesus.  Do we have to actually pretend that it has such inherent value that Jesus will be somehow disappointed if we fail to forward Aunt Myrtle’s apnea-induced brainchild?  I’d rather think that the Jesus I know would be pleased if we spent our email dime broadcasting something a smidgen more useful to the 6,500 casual Christianesque recipients; such as… I don’t know… maybe the Gospel???

Before we tunnel even further into apostasy by the mundane and anecdotal Christianity propagated by all the well-intending Aunt Myrtles out there, let me offer a simple challenge with which you may mentally replace the familiar battle cry of your Jesus-junk-mail.  Inspired by scripture, rather than the sleep-deprived drunken stupor of late-night TBN reruns: perhaps, “if you love Jesus,” you should let him tell you how to properly respond?

John 14:15-28 (ESV)
15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Now send this to Aunt Myrtle.

9 Comment(s)

  1. THIS is why I use Twitter and lurk around on blogs in all of my free time. More of THIS! More sounding the trumpet… more banging our swords on our shields… and more shining the light on the ridiculous darkness that these slippery slope emails contain.

    You want to forward things? Do your homework, research some GOSPEL preaching websites and get to work. Some are creative and imaginative and took a great deal of time and skill to produce unlike the drivel contained in the above mentioned FORWARD.

    Good job Pastor Kluttz!

    DW Catoe | Mar 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. Laughing out loud (OK – not too loud, because I don’t want to disturb the church secretary)
    Thank you for your sensitive treatment of an issue that worn the lettering off of my “delete” key. Still laughing!

    Kenneth Jordan | Mar 4, 2010 | Reply

  3. You want to forward things? Do your homework, research some GOSPEL preaching websites and get to work. Some are creative and imaginative and took a great deal of time and skill to produce unlike the drivel contained in the above mentioned FORWARD.

    camera battery wholesale | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

  4. My point exactly.

    Jeff Kluttz | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

  5. I really do not think they had napkins in those days!! They just wiped their face and hands on their clothes.

    Linda | Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

  6. Are you truly a pastor? While I agree that fact-checking quickly dispels this alleged Jewish custom, are you so perfect and overburdened that you can only use adjectives like asinine to describe people? Could you be more self-righteous? Do you truly believe people who shared this email did so to work against the Lord’s will? Can you offer any reason why God should welcome a sinner like you into heaven? May He show you greater mercy than you display toward your fellow believers in this life!

    Paul | Apr 12, 2011 | Reply

  7. Since you bring it up, I trust that the Lord will show me far greater mercy than I have shown others, Paul. How poetic that you would blast me in the name of mercy! For the record, I think you read this a little too early in the day.

    This post was satire. I’m sorry that wasn’t clear enough. I do not actually know anyone with an Aunt Erma. Sorry to dissapoint. My purpose- for those not fixated on the fake Aunt Emma’s feelings – was that we have set aside any truly beneficial spiritual investment to our neighbors and have instead gotten religious jollies out of forwarding things without merit, truthfullnes or any gospel content whatsoever. Instead of investing time to research, write and proclaim something of worth – and have the sense of satisfaction that SHOULD come from one doing the Lord’s work, people are content to merely forward stuff that sounds Jesusy and abandon the truth of the gospel to the preachers.

    And, yes, I truly am a pastor; trying to get people to think more biblically. It’s one of the things real pastors do.

    Jeff Kluttz | Apr 12, 2011 | Reply

  8. Whooo! What a revealing mindset/mission this post of yours was! Never mind the first. Who are you anyway? What I can find is the 41 year-old pastor of First Baptist Church in Needville,TX, who has an MTV connection. Is that correct? I’m almost twice your age, son, a lifelong Lutheran (LCMS/WELS)Christian who’s not an “asinine,” ignorant forwarder of emails. I’m also a published research author who understands “satire” perfectly. Your post wasn’t satire but rather a broadside attack on anyone who sent it on. I ain’t your phantom “Aunt Myrtle,” & your proclamation that I am further insults my intelligence. You’re very adept at that. Sir, go back to high school Freshman English to define satire. Clearly, you don’t get it, and your sarcastic postings reflect that ignorance. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, especially in the Internet world. As for the “napkin-folding” question, clearly, you’re not a 2nd-generation German Lutheran that I am. Even today, visits with family and friends in Germany & Austria exhibit the same practice. Where did the custom come from? Somewhere, to be sure! Perhaps the custom was so mundane & ingrained among the early Jewish population that brainy scholars (past & present) saw no need to write down that obscure habit in their lengthy depositoris of knowledge intended to educate future generations. No one knows, but for sure, the email forwarded that you so disdained & discredited harms no Christian’s faith in the resurrection of Christ while serving as a familiar illustration. Isn’t that what MTV is supposed to be all about? I don’t watch that “drivel,” your word. I’m sad that you have this forum to spread your personal conflicts with traditional Christian/Biblical theology. Maybe some personal therapy would be helpful. All save one comment on this post were obviously skeptical, quick to dispel scripture adherents. Is this the audience to whom God has called you?

    Barbara E. Sinn | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

  9. sat·ire   /ˈsætaɪər/

    –noun
    1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

    I’m very sorry you don’t understand the intent. However, there are 200 Million websites to choose from if mine is not to your liking.

    Jeff Kluttz | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

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