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a bit embarrassed

Not long after I arrived at work this morning, a few of the co-workers were sharing an interesting bit of customer mail. It seems that someone who had received one of our catalogs decided it was a bit too risque for his/her taste and sent the offending page back in … along with a Holy Joe tract attached to it. The tract was called “A Dirty Mind.”

Many of my co-workers are aware of the fact that I am a pastor. I wanted to say to them, “I’m not THAT kind of pastor.” I wanted to explain to them that the Christianity I preach and try to practice is not a cartoon but ones that mixes and meshes with real life. It doesn’t feel the need to take a page from a pool supply catalog, strap a devilish tract to it, and mail it to some unknown receiver with a warning about eternal damnation scribbled on the side.

Once the envelope was licked and dropped in the mail, this person probably turned on their television and was bombarded with far more salacious material than what arrived in our catalog. Even worse, they may have propped up their feet with the feeling that they’ve done their part to make the world a better place.

How risky is it to drop an anonymous note in the mail, along with a 25-cent tract? I’ll tell you what’s risky — to live an authentic life that doesn’t capitulate to immorality while at the same time being willing to invest yourself in lives that are right smack in the mud.

I winced as the letter and tract were being passed around. What was left unsaid was … “Are you that kind of Christian?” “Do you carry Holy Joe tracts around in your wallet?”

I have to admit — I was a bit ashamed. Not of Jesus or his values or his message. But of how we sometimes create unnecessary obstacles for people who haven’t plugged into Jesus just yet.