"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grace under Siege 35: Feels more like malice

     Someone close to us wrote us, with good reason, "I don't think the church could be behind the spam thing.  If you send out too many at a time, Yahoo [her provider] automatically marks it as spam.  It happens to us sometimes when sending out things to the band parents.  Just break up your list into smaller groups and it should be fine."
     We haven't had that problem with Verizon. We have been able to send out batches of up to 50 or so for years, on all kinds of subjects. We send some things just to our extended family, some things just to prayer partners, some just to missionaries or to friends overseas. Every night we send group Words of Hope to people going through tough times. We have correspondents interested in anything to do with Hiroshima, Fukushima, nuclear radiation, and the yacht Phoenix, in which my family of origin protested nuclear weapons years ago. There are people interested in C.S. Lewis. Others in abortion. Each group of emails has gone out faithfully without a problem.
     The fact that at this specific point in time Verizon is shutting down even "batches" of ONE (deleting both our correspondent's address and our own each time) on any subject having to do with this website seems highly suspicious. The forbidden term is "HisScribbler.blogspot.com." That now constitutes spam.
    I'll give you an example of how abusive this is from an email we received one week ago:
"Dear Mrs. Jessica Renshaw:
     "I am a student attending California Academy of Mathematics and Science located in Carson, California. I am currently working on this history competition known as National History Day in which I need to create a history project that revolves around the theme: Revolution, Reaction, and Reform. For this year's project, I chose to do a documentary on the Atomic Bomb. . . because. . . that affects my ethnicity as a Japanese. In the years 1945 and 2011, Japan has been affected by the major disaster of nuclear energy or weapon. . .
     "While researching for this, I have discovered an American woman named Barbara Reynolds [my mother] who is significantly known for her effort in the anti-nuclear movement. Her stories of helping people in Hiroshima in the 1960s inspired me in every way. . . Your mother [was] a great person who tries to do a cause for the sake of the people. Since you were one of the Reynolds' family members to visit Hiroshima in Post-WWII, I would like to have a video interview (or perhaps skype interview) with you to hear more about her story of what she saw and you personally saw in Hiroshima. If the interview is possible, please reply back to my email. . . . Your cooperation to this project will be helpful."
    You will notice this letter has nothing whatever to do with Grace Brethren Church. This was from a young man I didn't even know initiating contact with me of his own accord with a legitimate request about something in which I have expertise. Yet when I tried to refer him to this blog, with its 100+ posts on Fukushima after March 11 and multiple posts on my mother and on the ceremony this past June when a monument was unveiled to her in Hiroshima's Peace Park--my response to him was blocked as "spam."
      In our opinion, this doesn't seem like a System Administrator's concern for the protection of our correspondents. This is something much more personal, something just plain mean.
     Incidently, we have gotten a couple of comments on these posts by people who want to defend the leadership of the church. I did consider allowing them (before I prayed about it). But in light of the fact these people have every other avenue open to them to share their opinions I do not think one modest outlet, one personal blog under continual assault, is too much to reserve for facts exposing these bullies.

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