Friday, July 11, 2008

Too Many E-mails? Or Too Much of A Good Thing to the Expense of other Good Things?

Okay! Right here at the outset I will admit that I spend a fair bit of my time, both working and non-working, on the computer. Mostly however, on Church work or communicating with other people, even if some times, just by forwarding (what I consider) interesting e-mails.

Talking of forwarded e-mails, sometimes I get a lot of them at once and then none for a while. When I get them, I normally judge whether they are worth forwarding or simply deleting after reading. If worth forwarding, I do immediately do so and then delete them, thus keeping my inbox low and manageable. Thus sometimes I forward a lot one day and few at others.

At one time of receiving and forwarding many such e-mails, I received a reply, part of which I copy here. “Hi Walter: It is hard to know which of your emails are too many. There are ones you forward which I enjoy and in fact can use in my congregation's monthly paper. I guess I don't need the very likely theologically accurate ones which you send "because you are my friend and you need to send it on to everyone you know." I am sure you recognise the style.
My real concern is that it would appear that you spend much time in front of your computer. I would like to challenge you to contemplate whether this time is the best way to spend your time and whether it advances Christ's kingdom in Croydon: Best wishes: *** “
There are a few issues there that I would like to address here from this.

1. I really appreciate his honesty and willingness to put himself on the line to help me. So to him and every one else out there reading this, if you think I am wrong anywhere, or in need of some correction somewhere, no matter how minor, please feel free to let me know. Nicely, like this friend of course.

2. Whilst it is undoubtable true that I spend more time on my computer than my friend, it is also true that I also don’t have the same pull of many other outside activities like he does to have to apportion an appropriate larger share my time with either. In a rented house with a well-established garden like we are here, there is not a lot to do there and certainly over the summer it was mostly too hot and dry to do much anyway, so I have more free time than some others.

3. A lot of the time I spend on my computer and an in ordinate amount of time at that, is actually spent working on creating my sermons. This is one aspect of my life that has never changed: the amount of time I need to work on my sermons. Fortunately the Computer and its ability to cut and paste things, does actually save me a lot of time too, but I still do spend a lot of time composing them, so a bit of a break now and then to check e-mails is actually appreciated and is a break to me at least.
4. Also, as we only have a small congregation at the moment and most of them work and as I am out/busy most nights, I use the e-mail system a lot to stay in touch with many, it is almost impossible to visit or even ring mid-week.

Thus, while I do perhaps spend more time on my computer than many others, I don’t believe that I am wasting or misusing most of that time, but rather that I have been able to use it to the maximum of my talents, thus allowing my talents to be maximally used.

Enough about me though! What about you? Are you spending too much time on your computer or even on any one single aspect of your life or occupation? Do you too need a friend to make you query and assess your current performance? If so please let me be that friend and let me humbly ask you whether you are spending too much time on one thing and not enough time on others? And while I am at is let me also ask you what you plan and can do about the result? Over to you for now: Walter

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