Thursday, May 13, 2010


The reason I monitor comments on this blog is that I get a lot of spam. I assume my readers don't want to see a bunch of Chinese writing that most of us can't read, information on where to get the best escorts in New York City or how to buy cheap designer knockoffs, or links to naked pictures of someone's ex-girlfriend. I delete all of those comments before you ever have to see them so that you can enjoy a nice, relaxing, spam-free visit while you read my blog.

Most of us are so used to getting spammed that we hardly notice anymore. I delete about a third of my e-mails without reading anything more than the subject line, and I ignore most of the advertisements I see on television or on billboards along the highway. The problem is that not all spam looks like spam. We know how to spot and then ignore ridiculous advertisements that have nothing to do with us, and we all know to delete those idiotic e-mails from supposed Nigerian princes. But we're still exposed to a lot of pointless garbage outside of the usual suspects like ads, e-mails, and blog comments.

As a Christian, I often have very specific ideas about what kinds of information are useful to me. I want to learn how to be a better person, how to serve God, and how to love others. I want to grow in God's plan for me and enjoy the beautiful creation God has given me to live in. A lot of the information I get every day has nothing to do with those goals. It's really spam. Consider the kinds of messages we're inundated with every day:
  • How to get more money and be a conspicuous consumer so that other people will respect us more
  • Where to get the most fashionable "must-have" items
  • Encouragement to be self-centered and treat ourselves to nothing but the best
  • Pressure to adopt certain values and behaviors that may not match our faith
  • Encouragement to do what everyone else is doing
  • Cosmetic tips that deal with our lives on the surface but don't impact our deeper selves
  • A huge list of ways we can waste our time and talents by doing things that are amusing and easy but not terribly useful
Sometimes I think I want this kind of information, but do I really? I have a better e-mail experience when I quickly delete the spam and move on to the important messages. Likewise, I'm going to have a better, happier, and more productive life if I learn to cut the crap and focus on the information that really matters.

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