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On The Imperfections Of Christian Authors

There are two kinds of Christian fiction readers in this world: the kind that realizes that Christian novelists are as imperfect as they are, and the kind that puts writers of Christian fiction up onto a pedestal. That kind believes that Christian authors actually think, speak, and live like Yeshua did. They believe that authors who write faith-based fiction actually live out, on a daily basis, the godly wisdom and principles they set forth in their books.

A-hem. Without making any mistakes.

I’m going to speak to that second kind of Christian fiction reader in this post. I’m going to knock myself – and, I hope, ever other Christian author they’ve ever read – off of our undeserved pedestals.

I could describe one of the many times when I bit my husband’s head off (apparently, he’s skilled at reattaching it). Or one of the many times when I complained to God about not working with my plans (I know you’ve never done that, so pray for me). Or about how I’ve manipulated people to get what I wanted done, done.

But I’ll stick to my rude behavior toward Customer Service Representatives (heretofore to be abbreviated as CSR).

I was nuts to e-mail when I was still angry

Living in the middle of nowhere, I love online stores. Especially those that provide organic food. About a year ago, we started ordering product from nuts.com, and have mostly have had great experiences with the company.

But a couple of months ago, they sent us raw peanuts instead of almonds.

Twenty-five pounds of them.

I immediately e-mailed the company. I was not nice. All the anger I was feeling poured out into my words. I kept my language civil, but barely. I wish I still had my original e-mail to share, but I don’t.

Let’s just say that not too much time passed before I started to feel bad about how I’d dealt with the issue.

Not too long after I sent the e-mail, a CSR from nuts.com replied, apologizing for the mix-up and asking me to send photos of the peanuts to verify that indeed, we’d been sent the wrong thing. I took three photos and sent them promptly.

She replied:

Thank you so much for getting back to me with these photos! Again, I truly do apologize for this mishap. I’ve forwarded these photos to our Food Safety team to avoid this in the future. In the meantime, I’ve gone ahead & reshipped a new case of the Raw Almonds for you. In a moment, you’ll receive a separate email outlining the details of your replacement order. Once it has shipped, you’ll receive another email with tracking details. No need to worry about returning the product, please feel free to toss it any way you see fit. 

Thanks again for your order and for your honest feedback. It’s customers like you that make us a better company! If you need anything else, we are ready to help!

By then, I’d calmed down and was really feeling bad about my nasty e-mail. So I wrote:

I’m sorry I was so angry over the peanuts. It wasn’t that big of a deal – I knew you guys would handle it. You’re gonna laugh, but I was reading a novel prior to receiving the order and the hero was acting like a complete IDIOT and I got totally frustrated with him – or should I say, the way the author decided to have him act toward the end. So I was already irritated when FedEx showed up, and then the driver drives onto our FRONT LAWN, thinking it’s part of the driveway (UPS has done the same
thing), so I had to tell her through gritted teeth that this space with GRASS GROWING ON IT is NOT the driveway.


Then…*SIGH*…peanuts instead of almonds. Last straw. I blew up. Forgive me.

The CSR’s response:

Oh my goodness I can definitely understand how you feel – Haha! Although, I do truly apologize for the inconvenience this has caused for you. This is something we don’t want to happen again in the future so I completely understand the frustration. You’ll be getting the case of Raw Almonds (No Shell) very soon for you to enjoy πŸ™‚ If there is anything else you need, please don’t hesitate to reach out – I’d be more than happy to help!

If you’re the Christian fiction reader who thought I was super-spiritual, you’re going to react in one of two ways. You’re going to be shocked and determine never to read any of my books ever again, because you think I am Satan Incarnated.

Or, at least, a Big Fat Hypocrite (although no one in their right mind would ever call me fat).

The other way you might react is to say, “Aw, look! As soon as the Holy Spirit convicted her, she sent an e-mail apologizing for her behavior. She’s such an authentic follower of Jesus! I wish I could be as good as she is.”

If that’s you, do me a favor.

Take. Me. Off. Your. Pedestal.

Yesterday.

Maybe you need one more example to get it into your head that I’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God as much as anybody and everybody else has.

I’ve eaten a whole jar, and am still alive to tell about it

More recently, I ordered two jars of tahini made from raw, sprouted sesame seeds from Amazon. When they arrived, the lids weren’t completely sealed and there was oil dripping down the sides of both jars. I promptly went to Amazon and wrote a scathing review.

Then I found the company’s website and told them about the review. Here’s what I wrote to them:

Thought you’d like to read the review of the Max Sesame Tahini I just posted to Amazon:

I bought one jar of this. Liked the taste, so I bought two more. When I opened up the package, there was oil all over the outside of both the jars and neither lid popped when it was first unscrewed, like it’s supposed to do if it’s properly sealed. Since we live in the middle of nowhere and it’s a PITB to do Amazon returns, we’re out 38 bucks. I. Am. ANGRY.
(End of review.)

The much kinder reply from the company:

Hi Emily,

I’m so sorry about the situation and aggravation that you went through and I really want to solve this problem with you. Please read the below information and let’s try to work it out.

Can you please provide me with your phone number? I would like to discuss it with you.

You usually hear a ‘pop’ when you open a jar is because it has been packaged at a very high temperature.  When a jar is filled with food products at extremely high temperatures (beyond boiling point), and then tightly closed, the food product cools inside the jar, resulting in a pressurized environment. This keeps the lid very tight on the jar. The food cools down and builds air pressure, which is released when you open the jar with a ‘pop’. 

However, all of our Nut & seed Butters are packaged at a cold temperature, so there is no air pressure buildup and no ‘pop’.

When a jar is filled with food produced in cold press process (like our products), the lid of the jar can sometimes become loose due to being shaken harshly during the shipping process and therefore the butter’s oil leaks during the shipping process.

We carefully wrap each bottle inside bubble wrap. The bubble wrap is sterile and protects the jar and butter from contamination and the butter is definitely safe to be eaten.

My reply:

Thank you for your prompt reply, and I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions. I did, a couple hours after emailing you, ask a question about it on Amazon. What you said makes sense, and I will go edit my review as I do enjoy the product.

My review went from one star, to five stars. And though the jars were full of tahini, I discovered a bunch of egg on my face.

Oh, and I’ve been eating the tahini every day since, and am still alive to tell about it. πŸ˜‰

The long and the short of it

I love my Father and my Savior. I thank God every day for His grace and mercy. I pray daily for help in keeping my thoughts, words, and actions lined up with His will and His ways.

But still, I fall short. Always will, until I shed this earthly body and take on the heavenly one God has prepared for me.

If ever a story I write makes me seem particularly wise or godly, it’s only because I’m writing what I wish could be. What I hope I’m moving toward.

Forgive me for not being the perfect person you thought I was.  πŸ˜‰

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