“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
EVEN IF YOU NEVER READ LENGTHY BLOG PIECES OR E-MAILS I WANT YOU TO READ THIS ONE!
Recently, when I asked a friend of mine if he’d had a chance to read my latest blog posting, he launched into a somewhat angry dismissal and repudiation of my e-mails and writings, saying he doesn’t have time for them. I will say, I was a bit “taken back” by this. This isn’t the first time something like that has happened, however. Several years ago, I got an angry e-mail from a Framingham lawyer whose address I’d included in a few mass e-mails.
“I get 500 e-mails a day!” she wrote, “I don’t have time to read yours!”
OK, fine. She never got any more.
A couple of years ago a friend wrote that he did not want to receive any more e-mails from me unless they were personal e-mails just for him.
“I don’t want to be part of your blogosphere,” he wrote.
Another friend of mine, Dave Milley, says that people get far too upset about receiving unwanted e-mails. “That’s what the DELETE button is for!” Dave says, and I totally agree.
The friend who made the comment THIS week called me the next day and said he was just tired and spoke thoughtlessly. He said he will make more of an effort to read my blog, and he was sorry he upset me.
He may well have done me a favor, however, because I know a lot of people just don’t understand why someone would write a blog or send mass e-mails. So, I’ve decided to write an apology for sending mass e-mails.
First, I must explain what an apology is. I know that MOST modern Americans THINK an apology is someone saying, “I’m sorry”. It has evolved to mean that, but much like the word “gay” never originally meant “homosexual”, “apology” never originally meant saying you’re sorry.
When you look up “apology” in the dictionary, there are several definitions, but the number one definition which is the PREFERRED and FOREMOST definition is “a formal justification - defense”. It comes from the Greek words “apo” meaning “defense” and “logos” meaning “word” or “speech”.
You may or may not agree with me but I want to EXPLAIN why I write some of what I write and why I promote a lot of it on Facebook and by mass e-mails. You may have seen a lot of those “America’s Got Talent” kind of shows on television. It’s great to see so many of these folks getting “their chance” but you really DO begin to understand the words of that old say which talk about the number of potential stars who are “parking cars and pumping gas.” I have been accused of being a totally self-absorbed and egotistical person. In reality I originally started blogging and mass e-mailing hoping to gain publicity and a following which would translate into promoting the church (First Assembly of God of Framingham) and opening doors for public ministry. Sadly, this was often misunderstood. After the church closed, and I once again became a pauper (as I’d been thirty years earlier) I admittedly was trying to use the blog and the mass e-mailing as an avenue to do whatever I could to get my writing, and potential public speaking noticed. Another old acquaintance of mine that I will call “T.H.” calls this “shameless self-promotion”. Ironically, I know of no one who has done more shameless self-promoting than T.H., himself! I admit, sometimes I feel a bit “funny” and a little ashamed when I “DO” shamelessly self-promote me and my talents. Yet, it’s been a way that I’ve tried to get “out there” in the hopes that someday I could earn enough as a speaker and a writer to make my wife and family comfortable and proud.
But, PLEASE GET THIS: It’s NOT all about me! One of the happiest things I do when I blog and send mass e-mails is blessing and promoting OTHERS. Honestly, that’s far more fun and meaningful than promoting myself. My friend Ed Duddy, the rural letter carrier from Texas, has written a couple of powerful pieces about the U.S. Postal Service that I was proud to forward on as mass e-mails. Ed is a very talented and interesting guy who has (in my opinion) gotten some “raw deals” in life. I’ve felt that if I could do anything that would give Ed exposure and respect, I am more than happy to do that! Another person I like to promote is the Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell. This pastor’s wife and young mother from Oklahoma is an outstanding writer (much better than me). She is actively trying to market herself as a retreat speaker and writer. I know how difficult that is. I am only too happy to promote her ministry on my Facebook page and with mass e-mails. If this gives her notoriety; if it helps her to get a speaking engagement or two or get something published, then that makes me feel GREAT! Still another is young Ryan Seler. Ryan is only in his early 20s. He’s working a secular job and serving as worship leader at an inner city “church plant” in Boston. He writes a great blog. That young man and his ministry should be KNOWN and it blesses me to do what I can to promote Ryan and his ministry. Still another I like to promote is his mother, Debby Seler. Debby and her husband Denny serve as missionaries to Jamaica. Debby has written some outstanding stuff on her blog that I’ve been happy to endorse on Facebook and promote using mass e-mailings. Finally, there is my son Jon. Jon is very intelligent. Jon is a great singer, and a great actor. My daughter Rachel and I believe he really should be working as a film critic. Jon writes a blog, and a couple of times when he has written a particularly good piece, I have promoted it.
Have you ever considered the power of the internet? I don’t think there has ever previously been a tool quite like it. Say you send an e-mail to 10 people and each of them sends it on to 10 people and each of THEM sends it on to 10 people and so on and so on...in a months time, it can have been seen and read by MILLIONS of people! Now back to my own stuff. Yeah, just about everything I write...well, I think it’s very good. The test for me is when I look back at my writing from 18 to 24 months ago. What I typically discover is that about a fourth of them are outstanding- well written, well thought out, interesting, important and really SHOULD be read by millions of people. Another fourth are pretty good, but certainly not THAT good. Another fourth are, well, kind of lousy. Finally, the last 25% are just DRIVEL...so pathetically bad that I’m ashamed I ever wrote it and I wonder, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!” Well, if and when I send you a drivel e-mail or kind of lousy mass e-mail or even a pretty good one, feel free to delete it. But IF it’s really good, I ask that you forward it on. And, EVEN MORE SO: When I send something from Ed Duddy or Debby Seler or Ryan Seler or Mindi Welton-Mitchell or someone like that, you can “take it to the bank:” that it’s good! Listen, if you read that and forward it on, you CAN have had a role in TREMENDOUSLY blessing that person! Someday that person may even be famous...maybe what they wrote will be transformational for thousands of people and YOU helped make it possible. If everyone I send something to hits the delete button, well, it dies right there....
So that’s my apology for blog postings and mass e-mails. I hope you understand.
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