Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Courtesy Calls

Don’t you love it when a company has one of its phone representatives to call and the person says: “This is a courtesy call”?

I recently asked the person: “In what way is this a courtesy call? What courtesy are you doing for me? Oh, you mean that I will be doing you a courtesy!”

She responded, “Oh no. This is courtesy call. We just want you to answer some questions for a survey.”

I said, “So what courtesy or favor are you doing for me that you label this a courtesy call? I did not ask you to call. You do not even have permission to call. You are asking me to do something for you. How is this a courtesy call?”

She was befuddled and returned to the company imposed mantra.

I was not trying to be annoying, though I’m sure that she thought so. I was making a point, especially for those who would be listening in to the recorded conversation, something else that I did not grant permission for them to do.

I finally explained politely that I was not interested in doing them a courtesy and ended the phone call. I doubt that the person understood. I spoke politely and made a polite attempt to make my point.

This, by the way, seems to be what is meant by “courtesy” when these callers call. Courtesy seems to be used with the double meaning of “not costing me anything” and being extended “politely.”

Both, however, are false presentations. The call costs me my time, my privacy, and my patience. It also is not at all polite to interrupt what I have planned with an uninvited and unwanted phone call for a request that I do not have any desire whatsoever to grant.

By the way, my challenges listed above were not presented angrily or with raised voice. They were presented politely, but determinedly.

I seriously doubt that I accomplished much of anything, except that I have learned that by handling unwanted phone calls in this way that I usually do not receive more of the same from the same callers. They don’t make any money off of such attempts, so they call someone else.

There certainly is no reason to be mean to the caller. That person is usually entirely clueless, simply a hireling trying to earn some income.

However, working as such a caller is something that a Christian had ought to question for oneself. I had a friend, a Baptist minister, who sometimes spoke of how much he hated being called by telemarketers. Yet, he sometimes worked as a telemarketer to earn extra income. I asked him how he could do to others what he did not want others to do to him? But he often expressed that he believed in a separation between what is done in business and what is done in ministry and in personal life. I challenged this, also, but without effect.

Can a person really make such distinctions and separations validly? Can a Christian really draw a line between what one does in business and what one does in life? What happens within a person where such allowances are made? When the Holy Spirit dwells within a person, does He allow such contradictions to continue? If a person ignores the urging of the Holy Spirit for a long enough period of time, what is the result?

Does David answer this in Psalm 51:11?

St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians not to make sorrowful the Holy Spirit of God in Ephesians 4:30. Taken in connection with Psalm 51, should we be concerned about such grievances against the Holy Spirit? What happens when the Holy Spirit is ignored and resisted to the point of becoming sorrowful? If He urges us to acknowledge where we are wrong and to be turned to what is true, but we continue to ignore Him, what is the eventual result?

Is any sin too small to matter? Is there any sin that can be counted as insignificant? Is there any sin that does not result in damnation apart from the repentance that the Holy Spirit works?

Interesting that this question is the result of discussing courtesy calls, is it not? The Holy Spirit does extend us courtesy calls that have our best interest as their concern. How do we respond? Do we imagine them to be something to ignore? Do we consider them to be undesired invasions into our lives? Or do we give thanks to God that He has not yet scratched us off of His list?

For me, the latter is counted as cause for continual thanksgiving and confession and absolution.

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1 comment:

Gary Cepek said...

Thank you, Pastor Siems, for the apiritual questions in your "courtesy" blog posting. No sin is too small. The sinful heart is desperately wicked. Who can understand it? Yet the mirror of God's Law exposes both the heart and its fruits. Thanks be to our merciful God who so patiently continues the work He began in His elect, carrying it to completion towards the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone has paid the price to free us from the curse of death we merit. Thanks be to the Spirit, so long resisted, who patiently sanctifies the faithful through forgiveness announced to penitent sinners.

Gary Cepek