Christian Spams

Peter Dean of "Heal Your Church Web Site" wrote a blog entry about Christian spams, which has raised quite a few questions. For example, what defines a spam email, as we usually discover different definitions from different authorities? Other interesting question raised is, whether it is okay to send "spam emails" (or unsolicited marketing emails) because we thought we are doing God's work? Peter urged all Christian brothers and sisters:

... to stop marketing via unsolicited commercial email. Not only is it ineffective and amateurish, it is illegal, unethical and abusive.

Peter Dean argues that

  • Christians should subject to the authority, as all governments and authorities are instituted by God (quoted Romans 13:1).
  • Sending unsolicited email is disobeying the government, especially under the up-coming anti-spam laws.
  • On the other hand, Christians should live transformed life, differentiate themselves from the world (quoted Romans 12:2).
  • Sending spam would consume the bandwidth someone else has paid for, which is considered stealing.
  • It gives something that the world can accuse Christians with.

An interesting link was provided - a blog on Christian spams - which is actually set up by someone possibly not a Christian, but amused by what he has received. However, you don't just find "marketing material" being categorised as spams, but those supposed to be "spiritual" or "thought provoking" are also classified and listed. It makes you wonder, hmm, should I forward that email which I received from my church friend, who received it from another Christian sister, who got hers from...

Last week I wrote about my fear of getting classified as a spammer, but Thomas mentioned that all recipients are in the mailing list anyway. I haven't replied that comment, but there are a couple of points that I would like to make:

  • Are the subscribers of those fellowship mailing lists 'opted-in', i.e. are people enquired before their email addresses were entered into the mailing list? (Not sure about other fellowships, but not everyone in MBF I'll say)
    • Action point: Need to get IUC to include "I want to subscribe to mailing list" in the reply slip on Sundays. Subscribing people without opting in can be illegal in Australia.
  • Are all out-going emails moderated? As anyone subscribed to the mailing list can potentially send an unmoderated email to the same list.
  • Not everyone is fussy about the emails they have received, and most people might just delete anything they don't want without any thought clicking in their head. But some do get annoyed sometimes.

Sadly, email is no longer an effective medium of communication. Someone dispatches an email to another person, and then expect the content to be received and executed in timely manner. However, frequently emails just get lost due to mail server hiccups (BigPond?), bounce back due to over quota accounts (HotMail?) or get deleted together with 200 other spam emails. When was the last time someone asked you, "didn't you received my email?"