Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lessons thus far

I've learned a lot of things in the nearly two weeks since the church fire. Among them are the grace and resiliency of the people of Bethlehem UMC- a lesson I learn over and over again as I continue with the honor of being their pastor.

Another thing I've learned is how any comment, no matter how small, can generate a lot of buzz. For example, I tweeted the following thing yesterday (which also becomes my Facebook status): "really getting sick of all these sharks using our church's tragedy as a way to drum up business".

This phrase quickly generated a number of questions from folks who read it. So let me clarify/elaborate.

Over the past two weeks I have received dozens of phone calls and emails from businesses whose products and services may be useful to us as we begin the process of rebuilding. Some of these phone calls and emails have evidenced genuine concern, apologies for seeming opportunistic in contacting me, and offers of some kind of discount in light of our tragedy. These are not the "sharks" to whom I am referring.

The "sharks" in question are, sadly, the majority of these phone calls and emails from businesses who express half-hearted condolences for our loss, and immediately launch into a lengthy sales pitch for their products/services. Particularly unsettling are the individuals who have offered legal consultation in dealing with our insurance company. These are probably the same guys who advertise their services during "The Price Is Right" if you've been injured in an accident and can't work. My friends who've been to law school have a term for these people: ambulance chasers.

Before I sound too negative, however, let me say that most of the communication I've had from folks has been messages of support and prayer, along with offers to help with no expectation of reciprocity. The small minority whose behavior is, at best, ethically gray, does not overshadow the majority of folks who have been nothing but loving and gracious.

As to this small minority, I get that these practices may be "good business", but it's pretty poor manners.

PS- today is Kate's 6 month birthday! Check out our family blog, The Parsonage Family, for a recap of the last half year!


Jessica Miller Kelley said...

I haven't posted Kate's half-year recap yet, but I'll get to it soon!

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