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05.13.02 - Sounds of Silence - Rushlo
05.06.02 - Trickle Down - Pelkey-Landes
04.29.02 - Campolo Blasts War on Terror
04.22.02 - A Year in the Life - Pelkey-Landes
04.15.02 - Watching Our Words and Our Witness - Kriss
04.08.02 - Notes on Violence and Rage - Petersen
04.01.02 - Who Speaks for God? - Fernandez
03.25.02 - The Good, the Ugly and the Missional in Holy Week - Pelkey-Landes
03.21.02 - Parable of the Microbrew (part II) - Graham
03.18.02 - Parable of the Microbrew (part I) - Graham
03.11.02 - A Conversation on Racism in the Postmodern World - various
03.04.02 - Dreams like Sarah - Lisa Marie
02.25.02 - Just Breathe - Pelkey-Landes
02.18.02 - Lenten Reflection: Communion - Schildt
02.11.02 - Winebibbing with the Cult of the New - Pelkey-Landes
02.04.02 - just -- not a poem - sexton
01.21.02 - Beyond Whining - Pelkey-Landes
01.14.02 - Wake Up Call: Back to Normal after September 11 - Moore
01.07.02 - Follow the Leader - Hartung
12.31.01 - Christ and Camel Spit - Woodley
12.17.01 - Dancing Santa - Pelkey-Landes
12.10.01 - Ted Studebaker: A Love Story - Williams
12.03.01 - Let Go Of Some of This Stuff - Schirmer
11.26.01 - Book Review: Finding Common Ground - Bowers
11.19.01 - The Call - Pelkey-Landes
11.12.01 - September 11 and White Privilege - WiderStand
11.05.01 - A Metaphor that Transforms - Santiago
10.29.01 - Your Time, My Time, Me Time, and God's Time - Schirmer
10.22.01 - Join the Conversation! - Pelkey-Landes
10.15.01 - Sonburned at Soularize - Pelkey-Landes
10.08.01 - Nation can resist evil without using the tactics of violence and retribution - Kotva & Ulery
10.01.01 - Simplicity -- To Will One Thing - White
09.24.01 - That Was Then, This Is Now, and You Are Here… - Schirmer
09.17.01 - Come On! - Pelkey-Landes
09.03.01 - Anti-Racist Postmodernism? - Pelkey-Landes
08.27.01 - Really, Really Big Worship Ruts - Morgenthaler
08.20.01 - Your Own Personal Jesus - Riddle
08.13.01 - New Agriculture, New World View - Bowman
08.06.01 - Macro Questions - Pelkey-Landes
07.30.01 - Grace or Holiness … Must We Choose? - Swartley
07.23.01 - The People Formerly Known as Lost - Henderson
07.16.01 - Are We Motivated by Love? - McManus
07.09.01 - Take the Postmodern Reformation Quiz - Pelkey-Landes
07.02.01 - Artist Myths and Beyond - Hartzler
06.25.01 - Transformation For All Of Us - Kriss
06.18.01 - Schleitheim, Shepherds, and 21st Century Leadership - Lapp
06.11.01 - Tenth Anniversary - Pelkey-Landes
05.28.01 - Salvation and Mission - Rolland Unruh
05.14.01 - Looking Beyond Ourselves - Day
04.30.01 - The Ministry of Mapmaking - Green
04.16.01 - On Sinking or Swimming in Postmodern Culture - Pelkey-Landes
The Compass RE: If You Love Jesus
by Will Schirmer

This is in reply to your recent e-mail, which included the instructions to pass this along to ten people (and the person who sent it to you) if you love God. It's not the first time I got this e-mail, and with the amount of messages I get on any given day, it probably won't be the last.

My reply to you is simply this — I am NOT going to pass this along to 10 people, or 100 people, or everyone on my address list. Do you want to know why? I'll tell you.

First, I just want to make it clear — I love Jesus. He is my Savior and Lord. I have no problem sharing my love for the Lord with anyone else. I share my love for the Lord in conversations I have with people, whether they are old friends or someone I meet in a diner. I share my love for the Lord it in e-mails or instant messages. I share it in personal ways, because Jesus to me is a personal Savior. I share by talking to someone, not flinging a message at them.

This letter is not personal, unlike the personal way that Jesus spoke to people. Look at any of the numerous encounters of Jesus speaking to people in the Gospels — from the time He called His disciples, to the time He healed the sick and spoke with the outcasts of society, even the time He spoke to Judas in the garden — and you'll see that Jesus speaks to people on a personal level.

You may argue that his sermons and preaching are different — that they are not "personal" in the sense that He was speaking to a crowd. Regardless, they were His words and God's words, and those who listened to him recognized that. This e-mail isn't the original words of the sender. That fact may make the receiver question the sender's sincerity.

Take a look at the other nine people on the "cc:" list of the message you sent me.

The non-Christians on your list will probably regard this as just another junk e-mail, like the one they got last week about the dying boy in England who will feel better if everyone in the world e-mailed him a Valentine's card; or the picture of the kidnapped girl from Maine that they got from a cousin in Detroit who asked them to spread it around; or last weekend's blue-lime terrorist iguana virus that turned out to be a hoax. And no matter how many times someone's neighbor swears "this is no lie" in his e-mail, most people do not believe that Microsoft is going to pay thousands of dollars to people if they send e-mails to dozens of AOL users. All this does is clutter cyberspace with well-intentioned acts of e-kindness from people who don't stop and think about what they are really accomplishing.

For the believers on your list, you've created a dilemma. You've put them (including me) in an awkward position. They may not believe that passing this message along is the most effective way to witness; yet if they don't, the sender of this message may question the recipient's dedication to Jesus. Messages of this caliber include a challenge to score 100 points by your 10 people sending it to 10 other people. Some contain a PowerPoint© presentation, while others contains a list of catchy phrases, a few lines of philosophy, and even the words "Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.'" Now is that pressure or what?

I'm not ashamed of Jesus, but I would be ashamed to send this message. Instead, I plan to be more aware of the times God presents me with an opportunity to talk with someone personally about Jesus, either face-to-face, in an e-mail, or in an instant message. So, if what I said made you feel sorry you sent me this message, or if you feel I may have overreacted, at least feel good that you made me think about the personal times I spend talking with others about Jesus. I need to do more of it. Don't let that encourage you to keep sending out this letter. I'd rather you take time to see when you can share the Gospel in personal ways.

Feel free to pass this message along to 10, 20, 100, or even all of the people on your mailing list if you wish — but you are under no obligation.

You can send a response on this Compass article via e-mail.