Eschewing Emails? Nooooo

Emails were the bane of my previous workplace. They would stream in throughout the day, regardless of the hour. Quite often they would come in late at night and some over-enthusiastic colleagues (including my erstwhile boss) would respond to them pronto.   In fact there was a time I too would be conscientious in responding to them regardless of the urgency. Those were the bad old days.

Nevertheless, emails can be and is still a very useful basic tool. It is the manner we use it which determines if it becomes a bane, pain or a very useful servant. While it can be a blunt tool, discarding it or even using it just sparingly can mean we are short changing ourselves and depriving ourselves of an efficient and effective communication tool.

Firstly, it is a fantastic tool for communicating data with some very quick commentary notes. Whereas I can for example send you a text with my colleague’s phone number, if I want to tell you that this colleague usually doesn’t look at his text message during work hours because he is on the road a lot and only checks his mobile for messages once every few hours and it is therefore better to give yourself at least half a day before expecting a response but if you need a quick response you may wish to call his wife who he calls every half an hour because she is very pregnant I might send you an email instead to convey all that extra bits of information.

I may also want to tell you that this colleague also has some quirks – it would helpful if you sent him that text either closer to noon or closer to the end of the day because that’s when he is most likely to check his mobile and he gets wound up if he checks his mobile and finds a message which is several hours old. Ideally however, this colleague prefers an email instead, which he checks around 6pm every day for sure and at the very least.

All of the above information may also be required by several other people. I know you will want that information straight away but Johnny only needs it later in the morning and Tom, maybe in the arvo. Instead of calling you now I’d send you an email and copy Johnny and Tom in. This way I spend one third of my time compared to if I called you, Johnny and Tom.

I can also forward that email to anyone else who may want to know the best way to contact my colleague. I can do this anytime and to as many people as I like and I can’t catch my intended recipient at a time he or she is available to speak with me – they can retrieve and read that information at their leisure and convenience.  Finally I also have a record of what sent and to whom I sent as well as when I sent them.

We can get a lot done through emails that way. At the very least we keep in touch, rope every relevant person into the loop, maintain a sense of momentum in the line of communications and stay abreast of things. Everyone in the loop share a common platform of information and everyone can expect all in the email loop, to have that common knowledge.  If we continuously provide information and commentary through that channel within that community, that community can become informed, vibrant and communicative.


More on Rob Bell

I was still mulling over whether to get Rob Bell‘s ‘Love Wins” on the Kindle, half thinking Paul’s ethos of becoming “all things to all men so that by all means some may be saved“. Maybe, from the perspective of reaching out to certain demographics, this book may turn out to be a gem. Yet, what is the gospel Paul’s ethos was directed at, and is this the same gospel “Love Wins” seeks to share?  I have read about half a dozen reviews on Amazon, scan through Witherington’s chapter-by-chapter response and I think it is a book I can ignore for now.

Incidentally, the following extract was from one of the Amazon reviews. I think this reviewer summed it up in funny way…

Several times he asks how can we be punished for the mistakes of a relatively short period of time (our life on earth) for all eternity? How can God be loving? How can God be fair? In answering, I’ll point out that the book makes no mention of Original Sin, and I believe that’s his undoing. When you short-change the significance the wholesale betrayal by our ancestors, then yeah, God’s judgement comes off badly. I describe Genesis 3 as spitting in the face of God, open defiance and shameless rebellion (shame followed soon enough) and anyone less merciful and loving and kind that God would simple snap his fingers, type control-z on his cosmic keyboard and undo the 6 days of Creation. No big deal, the Trinity was harmonious before Creation and we’ll be fine without those thankless twerps. Good thing I’m not God. No, God pursues us for bloody, harrowing centuries with steadfast love and his infinitely costly master plan to restore his creation to order.