November 3 – Fake Mail / Real Need

You know, fake mail.  It comes to our house fairly often, and two pieces snuck into our mailbox yesterday.  Fake mail is junk mail dressed up to look like first class mail.  A machine applies a fake stamp to the envelope, a junk mail stamp dressed up to look like a first class stamp.  Then a printer addresses the envelope with a fake font dressed up to look like human handwriting.

I suppose the idea behind fake mail is to fake us out. Just before we drop the fake mail in the trash can with all the other junk mail, we take a second look.  We see the almost human-like handwriting and the stamp in the upper right hand corner and we wonder who sent us some first class mail.  It’s not until we’ve opened the envelope and begin to read the letter that we realize we took the bait.  It was just junk mail dressed up to look like first class mail.

The first piece of fake mail we found in our mailbox yesterday was from a politician.  There was no return address, and maybe that was meant to fake us out, as well.  “Who could this be?” we say, letter in hand, as we walk up the driveway.  It turns out that the politician who sent the fake mail was promoting one of the candidates for tax collector.  Who knows, maybe this candidate for tax collector is of the Zacchaeus sort who would be willing to restore fourfold any who he has defrauded (Luke 19:8).  I’ll have to look into this candidate.

The second piece of fake mail delivered to the box yesterday was fake through and through and disappointing.  A fake handwriting font, and the fake stamp had been applied slightly askew, a little bit of human imperfection.  There was also a fake return address label that was not a label at all.

The fake mail was from the Salvation Army in Wausau, Wisconsin, the Salvation Army of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, it turns out.  Apparently they updated their old donor base and found us twenty years after we’d moved away from Upper Michigan.

In the envelope with its fake handwriting, stamp, and return address label was a Thanksgiving Day greeting card with a message in the same fake handwriting from “Your Friends at the Salvation Army.” Enclosed in the card were three fake meal tickets – a ten-pack for $23.70, a 14-pack for $33.18, and a 20 pack for $47.40.  Our Friends at the Salvation Army are hoping we might buy one of those meal tickets and send it right back to Wausau “to provide food and comfort to our neighbors in need.”

Becky and I have supported the Salvation Army over the years, ringing bells outside the grocery store, and writing checks to provide food and comfort to our neighbors in need. By the way, it can be pretty cold outside the grocery store in Upper Michigan.  With its firm commitment to word and deed, there’s nothing fake about the Salvation Army.

It’s disappointing they’ve had to resort to fake mail fundraising.

I don’t think we’ll be sending any of the fake meal tickets back to Wausau with a check for $33.18. But we will give to the Salvation Army again this year. They do some wonderful work. Here’s information on what they do in Lower Bucks.  You can donate online.

LPC is also doing some fundraising this holiday season.  You may have heard of our Alternate Gift Program.  There’s nothing fake about it, and whichever gift you choose to send, it will help change the world for the better.

I really don’t like fake mail, junk dressed up as first class. Like fake mail, I think there is such a thing as a fake Christian. Lord, keep me from the temptation to be a fake Christian, junk dressed up as first class. Keep me from fake spirituality, fake modesty, fake devotion and fake discipleship.

I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a first class Christian, but there is a true Christian; nothing fake about the true Christian as she or he confesses and repents, struggles to take up the cross day by day and follow Jesus on his way. Nothing fake as he or she leans on the Word and listens for the Spirit.

In a world of fake, let’s be true.

See you Sunday,