Bear with me on this one...
I have a friend from WCG days, a foundation member of the church here in New Zealand, now retired, whose anonymity I'll respect (though I know many NZ readers will know exactly who he is.) Let's call him Bill. Always a quick wit, Bill writes humorous verse. He's had his work published in local newspapers and read on air by appreciative radio hosts. His interests are political (no great fan of "political correctness"!) and he does a fine job in gently poking the borax at the troubled events unfolding in the Churches of God.
I've been blessed with poetic missives from this source for several years now, as have many others who know the writer from a shared past. Having a pre-Tabernacles poem arrive on your fax machine, or in the post (Bill usually avoids email) is a rare pleasure. Some of his contributions even featured on the old AW site. That said, he's far more traditional than most readers here when it comes to theology, retaining a lively interest in British-Israel. Usually he signs his work with a nom-de-plume, but everyone knows who it comes from: this Kiwi COGster is definitely in a class of his own.
Okay, so there's the scene set. Now the tale.
Some time back Mr Kinnear Penman, representative of the Living Church of God in NZ, contacted a friend of Bill - another longtime member who has since moved on - to discuss a reunion of folk who were members of the Auckland congregation from the beginning. Bill's email address was passed on to Mr Penman on the assumption that an invitation would be issued.
Nice, huh? Despite the parting of ways, Church of God people can still talk over old times and renew friendships.
Now it turns out that Mr Penman has been on Bill's mailing list too. Mr Penman is not, however, famous for his self-deprecating sense of humor.
In any case, true to his word, the LCG minister did contact Bill.
Now what, might you imagine, would he say?
I hope you don't mind me contacting you with this email address. Jim kindly passed it on so I could give you advance notice of a forthcoming reunion of church members from the old days. I'll pass on details just as soon as they come to hand.
Thank you for sending me the occasional poetic opus. Life is pretty busy at the moment, and I don't often get the chance to read them through, but there's no mistaking your style! Perhaps in the meantime you could drop me off your list and save postage. I know you'll understand where I'm coming from.
In any event, I'm looking forward to renewing acquaintance at the get-together, and hope you can make it. It should be great to catch up with so many from years past.
With warm Christian greetings
Well, he could have written something like that.
But instead he wrote this.
Bill (or [nom-de-plume])
We are getting sick of receiving your pathetic doggerel. We have absolutely no interest in it. Please desist. Haven't you got something better to do with your time? I guess not.
If you were proud of your miserable efforts at poetic commentary why did you go to such lengths to try, unsuccessfully, to hide your identity? A rhetorical question - no answer expected or wanted.
And the title of that email? Surprise!!
Any further comment on my part would be superfluous. Anyone willing to put $5 down on a wager that Mr Penman will get over his outburst and follow up with a fulsome apology?
No, thought not.