The Faulty Filter

I don’t understand much about phishing scams, or how the low-lives who run them turn a profit, or why the whole scene is named after a pretty great band. But I do know that my officeLive account has been vulnerable to attacks on numerous occasion, and every time it happens, i get more and more junk. I also know that i can mark something as ‘junk mail,’ and it still finds a way to creep into my inbox. The ‘senders’ always manage to find someway to disguise the source just enough so that my uber-hospitable server lets them right in.

If email junk filters are supposed to be the gatekeepers of my inbox, I would like mine to be the equivalent of, oh, the military guards at Fort Knox. Instead, they are more like those retired guys who get part-time jobs as Wal-Mart greeters. “Oh, hi there, fake-mortgage-reduction/debt consolidation company. Can i help you find anything today? Would you like a cart? Or a sticker? Just come right on in!” (Yeah, this would be the Sun City Wal-Mart).

It’s gotten to the point that I don’t just get a few things a day. We are talking about hundreds sometimes. When i go out of town for a week, the inbox fills up within about 3 days, and i miss alot of stuff that i would actually like to receive. It’s a bad scene.

I’m sure that I could get tech savvy friends to firewall and password-protect the *%^# out of the whole deal, but really, I’m just ready to shut it down and move solely to my gmail account. Gmail might not be Fort Knox, but so far, it is at the very least a downtown Phoenix Wal-Mart.

Which is to say, I’m not looking for computer help. I am setting up a reflection on the other junk filters in our lives, and how easily they can go faulty. When I am tired and run down, for instance, what do I want to eat? Leafy greens and lean protein? Oh, hell no. I want cheeseburgers, chocolate and more more more caffeine. When I am feeling fried and overworked, do I kick back at night with a volume of Tolstoy? Or some favorite verses of scripture? You know the answer to that, because your tired self is in the same place as mine…parked in front of Facebook, or hours of brainless reality tv. And when we are stressed, or sad, or fearful, do we gather round for some peaceful quality time with our loving family? That might be our intention…but how often do we wind up unloading said stress on said family instead? Creating tense environments that are subject to combustion at the first flicker of conflict… “It’s not what you said… you just had a tone,” we might begin, and it is all downhill from there.

The truth is, our junk filters are busted because they have to filter an awful lot of crap on any given day. From toxic political rhetoric to cheesy tv preachers to gaudy billboards to the stuff that comes through our actual email accounts. Bogus ads for cheap prescription drugs. Shady ladies from eastern europe (who are not really ladies at all, fellas. i promise) just looking for a strong American man to love them. More debt reduction offers. Bad mortgage relief pitches. In my case, lots of “Christian singles,” “Christian video,” and “Christian leadership resources!”

Because the phishes, you know… they know us. They know that we are tired and run down. They know that we are stressed, vulnerable, exhausted. That we have our defenses down, maybe especially at work, and they speak to our desires for quick fixes (the drug ads) easy love (european ladies) and ease of debt. They even know that some of us will look twice at anything that says “Christian” in the subject line.

Perhaps we ought to be most careful of the junk that comes with “Christian” on the lable. Like the Zondervan Pink Princess Bible. Or John Piper. Or Rick Santorum.

[Wait, was that out loud? Sorry folks. See, I'm having a long week, and well, my filter is off. ]

Let bad things in, and more bad stuff will follow. If your filter is low, get a new one. Otherwise, you’ll eat a lot of cheeseburgers, watch alot of Jersey Shore, and buy alot of crap you don’t need. Which will make you out-of-shape, dumb, AND broke, a deadly combination for sure.

Fill our lives with good things, and there will be so much less room for junk. Timeless truth, and however run-down our filters, we know it to be so.

 

About Erin Wathen

Rev. Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Saint Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Olathe, KS (www.sacchome.org). She's a Kentucky native, a long-time desert dweller, and she writes about the sacred thread that runs through pretty much everything. For more info, click the 'about' tab above...


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