The world (and unfortunately some churches) have many discontented people and spiritual bullies. So when you try to uplift, entertain and encourage people, (and maybe even make them laugh) it only stands to reason that every now and then someone is going to go off the deep end on you. On the internet that deep end usually manifests itself through a vitrious and gall filled e-mail sent so the author can get his/her jollies by blasting you (otherwise known as a "flame").
Here is a collection of some of the more entertaining flames I have received. Don't worry about me. I've been around enough to know that such people come with the territory. Only, my approach is different that most other's. Most usually just get quiet or apologize in order to either placate the flamer and avoid getting burned up totally.
Me, I'd rather have a good laugh at their expense (after all I didn't make them type what they typed) and, in the case where they may attend the church I pastor, tell them to straighten up or go find another church to wreck.
Nobody eats sheep while this shepherd is on duty!
When one PearyGates List subscriber unsubscribed in response to the "Hat Headline" joke I shared (which stars President Obama, The Pope, and Fox News - www.cybersalt.org/pearly-gates-jokes/hat-headline) I received the following feedback:
I resent your joke about the Pope and Obama. What I resent about it is your mockery of Fox News. It's the only new I trust to tell the truth about whats going on in politics. I thought you were a Christian. A preacher, so you say. Now I see what you really are!!!!!
Thanks for your feedback. I have a few points in reply:
As many of you know, I have a seperate newsletter for jokes that I think are funny but that might not be the "cup of tea" others are looking for from a pastor. Each mailing I send out on the PearlyGates newsletter contains a caveate about the content, but still there are some that just don't understand it - such as Anne Marie S. In response to "Call the Doctor" (http://www.cybersalt.org/pearly-gates-jokes/call-the-doctor) she wrote:
"I find this 'joke' tasteless."
In response to the "Flu Do-Si-Do" joke (http://www.cybersalt.org/cleanlaugh-archive/5577-the-flu-do-si-do) the following comment was left anonymously under the name "A Caller" with a fake e-mail address.
This joke only perpetuates the hay-seed old time barn-dance that was Square Dancing. Modern Square Dancing is a Great & Fantastic, wholesome activity that is enjoyed by millions WORLD WIDE!!! We dance to every genre of music. Old & New. But, unfortunately, we can not seem to break "the image" of the dumb-hick hillbilly because of stupid things like this. I am ashamed that a "Church" would post something like this. Dance in Joy for the Lord and Let He that is without sin Cast the First Stone.
firstname.lastname@example.org sent me the following feedback as to why they unsubscribed from the Cybersalt Digest newsletter.
jehovahs witness's have the truth, this is false religion
Thanks for taking the time to send me your feedback. It helped me to realize I'm being clear enough about what I believe.
- Pastor Tim
In response to James Snyder's article "Behold, the Christmas Grinch Cometh" email@example.com left the following comment through the artciel commenting system:
"Isn't it a shame that Christmas came out of the desire of the early church to destroy the religious holidays of others?
How dare those other people want to celebrate their own holiday at Yuletide, instead of the deliberately misplaced date of the birth of your demigod.
Of course, I doubt you'll allow this comment - despite the church's acknowledgment of this , most Christians hate to be reminded of the true roots of their holy day's dishonesty."