re: re: re: Ascension Day: Paster Ed: You've Got Mail!

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/14/00 9:46PM
Subject: Ascension Day

Randy, I’d call you, but I know this is your medium. People say if you’re going to get him at all, you got to get him online. So here’s the question: For this year’s Ascension Day service, we’re trying to line up some people from church who would be willing to talk just a bit—say three minutes or so—about the way they serve God in their work. Not many legitimate computer freaks in this church, so we thought of you. Interested? Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/14/00 10:03PM
Subject: re: Ascension Day

Pastor Ed, any of a hundred people would be less afraid of talking in front of everybody than I would. The thought is CHILLING. Why don’t you try Mary Malone? She’s down at Dynatech doing some kind of programming. Not really begging off, just scared to death. :-( Randy

P.S. You’re just trying to get me to church more regularly!

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/14/00 10:23PM
Subject: re: re: Ascension Day

Randy, OK, you called our bluff. The truth is we tried Mary. Sam Brink said you wouldn’t be thrilled about standing up in front of all those people, so we asked her first. But she’ll be in Long Beach that weekend. You’re the only other techno-wizard we’ve got. Pressure’s on. Pastor Ed.

P.S. I’ll admit to some deviousness on the church attendance.

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/14/00 10:36PM
Subject: re: re: re: Ascension Day

Pastor Ed, it’d be good for me, right? Scare the bejeebees out of me, if you want to know the truth. Besides, what on earth would I say? I don’t get the program. Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/14/00 10:46PM
Subject: re: re: re: re: Ascension Day

Randy, here’s the plan. We’re trying to really make a point of the end result of Jesus’ ascension —he’s alive, he’s ruling on high, and he’s Lord of all creation. So we’re enlisting members of the congregation—honestly, didn’t I say all of this before?—to show how God rules in the way they do their work. Teachers we’ve got by the dozen. But big-time computer geeks, no. Hence, you. Get it? Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/14/00 10:50PM
Subject: re: re: re: re: re: Ascension Day

Pastor Ed, so what on earth would I say? Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/14/00 11:03PM
Subject: re: re: re: re: re: re: Ascension Day

Randy, it’s clear you need a spouse. Either that or you’ve got to get out more. Is it true what they say about computer freaks—that you’ve really got no life? Look, I’m kidding, of course. All you’ve got to say is how you glorify God in your work. Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/15/00 9:46AM
Subject: nothing to say

Pastor Ed, I didn’t get much sleep last night because I really don’t know what to say. I’m not sure how what I do glorifies God. Hate to sound like some kind of pagan, but, really, what I do has nothing to do with my faith. Does that mean I get kicked out? :-) Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/15/00 11:54AM
Subject: re: nothing to say

Randy, glad to hear you didn’t sleep. Yes, you get the boot. I’ll empty your mailbox. Too bad—I honestly think some people here liked you.

Seriously, don’t give me that trash. Of course your being a Christian has something to do with what you do over at Omnitron. Gimme a break. You’re either underestimating yourself or trying to pull a fast one. It’s only three minutes. It’ll make a man of you. Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/15/00 4:15PM
Subject: sorry

Pastor Ed, my folks just called and I’ve got to do some stuff for them that night. Ask again sometime if you need something. Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/15/00 9:56PM
Subject: re: sorry

Randy, your parents called? I know a lame excuse when I hear one. Whatever. We’ll find someone else. Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/16/00 12:56AM
Subject: sleepless in San Bernardino

Pastor Ed, I hope you know you’re keeping me up way past my bedtime. I guess I should know better than try to lie to a preacher. :-( I did it because I don’t know exactly what it is you’re talking about. I’m still not sure how what I do has anything to do with the lordship of Christ. I mean, I don’t set up porn sites or anything, but what I do seems to have nothing to do with Jesus. Sounds awful, I know—but that’s the whole truth. HONEST! Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/16/00 8:32AM
Subject: re: sleepless in San Bernardino

Randy, sorry for asking this so long after knowing you—but what on earth do you do at Omnitron? Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/16/00 9:36AM
Subject: what I do

I create software for web retailers—big ones—who want to get their online customers get hooked into buying as much stuff as possible. Noble, huh? Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/16/00 9:43AM
Subject: re: what I do

Randy, let me get this straight. You make it possible for big-time retailers to urge their customers to buy more stuff? Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/16/00 9:50AM
Subject: re: re: what I do

You got it. I create fancy little pop-up software programs web retailers use to trap their customers into buying more and more and more stuff. It’s people like me who keep the stock market bullish. Maybe that would fill your lousy three minutes. Randy

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/16/00 9:55AM
Subject: re: re: re: what I do

Randy, why all the heat? You’re not on deck on Ascension Day, and we already thumbed you out of church, remember? Seriously, you want to talk about this sometime? Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/16/00 9.59AM
Subject: re: re: re: re: what I do

Pastor Ed, you sound like a shrink.

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randy@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/16/00 10:00AM
Subject: welcome to my couch

I’ve been called worse. Pastor Ed

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randy@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/16/00 5:03PM
Subject: the doctor’s in

Randy, I haven’t heard a word all day. So right in the middle of building one of those retailing land mines—or whatever it is you do—I hope you considered my offer. I’d like to talk sometime, not on Ascension Day and just to me. Seriously. Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/17/00 12:29AM
Subject: re: the doctor’s in

About what?

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/17/00 3:35PM
Subject: talking

About you. PE

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/17/00 3:37PM
Subject: re: talking

You think I’m a sinner? R

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/17/00 3:40PM
Subject: re: re: talking

Yep. Just like me. PE

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/17/00 3:42PM
Subject: sin

Because of what I do?

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/17/00 3:43PM
Subject: re: sin

And don’t. Like me.

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/17/00 3:46PM
Subject: re: re: sin

You think I ought to quit?

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/18/00 8:01AM
Subject: re: re: re: sin

“Choose this day whom you shall serve.” Thus saith the Lord—not my words. If you shut off the switch of your faith—as if there were one—when you turn on that computer you’re staring into right now, then I’d say something is going to lose power. You choose the switch. I’m cutting a hard bargain, right? Tell me to take a hike and I will. Pastor Ed

From: <randyg@omnitron.com>
To: <pastored@pls.com>
Date: 3/18/00 1:57PM
Subject: talk

King of creation, right? That’s what you’re saying? Ascension means he’s up there ruling. Maybe you’re right, padre. Maybe we ought to talk.

From: <pastored@pls.com>
To: <randyg@omnitron.com>
Date: 3/19/00 9:06AM
Subject: re: talk

I can get you in long before Ascension Day. Lunch this afternoon? Pastor Ed

James Calvin Schaap (jschaap@dordt.edu) is a writer and professor of English at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa.