I’m Ticked!

Credit: FreeImages.com/Magnus K

Credit: FreeImages.com/Magnus K

That’s a polite way to put it. Actually I thought of using a different six letter word that’s not nearly as polite as “ticked.” But I’m a Lutheran clergyman, so I told the devil to leave me alone!

Why am I ticked? I’ll tell you why. This morning I spent way too much time on my mobile phone trying simply to explain to our old land line phone company that it’s ridiculous for them to continue sending billing statements to our old address when the balance due is $.00.

That company’s land line service is not available in the area to which we moved two months ago. So I cancelled our service and paid the final balance due. Yet we are still receiving a statement, mailed to our former address, with a balance due of $.00.

My first call to the company in question was answered, as I’ve come to expect, by an automated voice asking the reason for my call. The automaton offered several options, including new service, technical difficulties, billing questions, accounting, etc., providing instructions to press whatever key matched the reason for my call. Easier said than done! No option really matched the reason I was calling. But I chose one, with high hopes for success. Alas, it was not to be!

After finally getting to a real live person, I explained the twofold reason for my call:

  1. It’s not necessary to continue to send a statement for a service that was properly terminated more than two months ago, with a balance due of $.00.
  2. If the company insists on sending such statements, at least send them to our new address, which was not possible to amend on the company’s Web site.

The first person asked for my zillion digit account number and the reason for my call. She decided she couldn’t help me and transferred me to accounting. Guess what? Accounting also asked for the same account number and reason for my call, which I fairly politely provided.

After spending a bunch of time on hold, I was told by accounting that he couldn’t figure out how to stop the statements. He transferred me to billing, who also asked for you know what – my account number and the reason for my call!

After providing both, now for the third time, along with more time on hold, I was told by the billing guy that he couldn’t do anything but that he thought accounting could help me. By that time my patience, which is pretty skimpy in the first place, had been totally consumed!

When the accounting guy came back on, it wasn’t the same guy I had already talked to in accounting. No, it was a new guy. And guess what he wanted to know – my account number and the reason for my call! When I told him I had already provided that information three times and saw no reason to do so for a fourth time, his brilliant suggestion to my dilemma was simply to ignore the statements and throw them away if they keep coming.

Well now, why didn’t I think of that? Actually, I had thought of that. As a matter of fact, that’s what I’ve been doing with those statements since we moved. So now this company goes to the expense of producing and mailing unnecessary statements. The Post Office goes to the trouble of discovering the statements were addressed to the wrong address and going to the further trouble of forwarding them to our new address, so I can throw them away. Anybody out there feel my pain?

I’m sure there must be a spiritual or theological lesson to be learned by this experience. But I’m too ticked right now to think of one! I’m open to your suggestions. Have a blessed week!

Head Shakers, Breath Takers, Heart Breakers

NYXA number of recent news stories, events and experiences have produced for me what I believe can be accurately called head shakers, breath takers and heart breakers. I’ll list a number of them and you can decide for yourself in which category you would place them. Here we go:

  • Internal Revenue Service tax forms that are complicated, convoluted and confounding.
  • Reports of people who fraudulently access federal government funds, often frivolously spending the hard earned money of taxpayers who comply with IRS regulations.
  • Reports that the University of Texas paid nearly $10 million to buy out the contracts of their recently fired and newly hired football and basketball head coaches.
  • Reports from various world hunger organizations that 17 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and that at least one million of them die every year.
  • National arguments and protests surrounding Indiana and Arkansas legislators’ attempts to agree on religious liberty legislation.
  • Concerns expressed by some that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts would encourage discrimination against specific segments of society, such as atheists or homosexuals. Never mind that discrimination is freely demonstrated against Christians every day.
  • An agreement struck by the United States and other nations designed to restrain Iran’s nuclear facilities and capacity.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comment on the Iranian agreement: “Such a deal would not block Iran’s path to the bomb. It would pave it. It would increase the risks of nuclear proliferation in the region and the risks of a horrific war.”
  • A German airliner’s co-pilot who locked his captain out of the cockpit and proceeded, intentionally and deliberately, to take the lives of all passengers and crew by crashing the plane into rugged mountainous French terrain.
  • Medical reports that this co-pilot had suicidal tendencies, yet succeeded in camouflaging what would surely have disqualified him from the incredible responsibility borne by the thousands of pilots who fly millions of passengers around the world every day.
  • The brutal slaying of 142 students, three policemen and three soldiers by al-Shabab, an Islamic jihadist terrorist group, during a 13-hour massacre at a university in Kenya.
  • Al-Shabab’s subsequent warning of more attacks in retaliation for killings by Kenyan troops fighting al-Shabab in Somalia. They said: “Kenyan cities will run red with blood.”

You could add some shakers, takers and breakers of your own. In a very sobering sense, it’s no surprise that such realities occur, especially breath takers and heart breakers. We live in a broken world where Satan “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

In the midst of that fallen world, this past week those of us who bear the name of Christ rejoiced at the anniversary of his death defying resurrection! Someday, in the new heavens and new earth, righteousness will dwell and death will be no more. (2 Peter 3:13) I’m hoping that means no more head shakers, breath takers or heart breakers!