Jul 31, 2007

a bro by any other name...

Back in the day when Al Gore was busy inventing the internet, a little company came along and decided to dominate the computer industry. This company eventually formed a branch called "Hotmail," and since I was giving up my school email account at the time (which had about four or five ending extensions to it), I decided to apply for an email account.

Call me crazy, but I thought I'd just try my name to see if it was available. Sure enough, it was... tonymyles@hotmail.com.

I didn't have to go with tonymylesiscool@hotmail.com, or even something more descriptive like junkboy45@hotmail.com, Thankfully, the name was available and so I've had it for many, many years. Even when I went through my "pastor" stage (when I wanted everyone to call me "pastor" because I was insecure... another story for another time) and used pastor_t@yahoo.com (because pastortony@yahoo.com was already taken) I kept my hotmail account, safely tucked away in the corner.

Then...

about a year ago I started getting odd emails for "Tony Myles" at my hotmail account. Keep in mind, this is when I was interviewing with many churches and often would get emails out of the blue because someone knew someone who knew me (and had passed by my resume on), so I didn't always know who was contacting me.

At first glance, it looked legit - it was addressed to "Tony Myles" and referred to ministry sorts of things... dead giveaway sort of church words like "fellowship" and "stewardship" and all the other "ships." The only catch was that I felt like I was jumping into a conversation I should have known something about but didn't have any clue of. I'd read things like, "That was a great gathering of pastors and we're looking forward to seeing you again," only I couldn't recognize any of the emails that were involved as senders or other receivers on that list.

Not even junkboy45@hotmail.com made the cut.

So at first I did what any of you would do... I just read the emails. I figured if a part of my brain had shut down and needed to remember something it would. And if for some reason I was right and didn't know any of these people at all, I'd wondered if there was in fact another Tony Myles out there... and if so, who this Tony Myles character would be like. A lot of the emails I received were from California, and so I guessed this was probably the case.

I mean, did he sound like a cool guy whom I'd want to hang out with? Or might he be my nemesis... my Lex Luthor... my Sam I Am... my junkboy45@hotmail.com?

Some time went by, and soon I started to get an ever greater itch about all of this. So I decided to Google the name "Tony Myles." You know where this is going, right?

I started finding all sorts of things out there in the internet world from me that I'd forgotten even existed. Then on top of that, there were the many comments I'd made on other people's blogs that somehow tracked back my way. Then there were articles I'd written, places I'd spoken for, ideas I'd submitted to magazines, and so on. The biggest surprise, though, came when I found people who either talked about all of that or my blog in a good way... and then those who talked about all of that in a critical way.

Then I started to wonder... maybe I was the Lex Luthor to the"other" Tony Myles... his Sam I Am... his junkboy45@hotmail.com

Maybe every article I've ever written he's had to tell someone, "Yeah, um... I didn't write that, nor do I believe in that." Or perhaps when he's gone to speak somewhere he's gotten to the microphone and had to start by saying, "Hi, I'm Tony Myles... but not the "Don't Call Me Veronica" Tony Myles - in fact, I like the name Veronica and it's been my nickname since fourth grade summer camp." I wonder if he's ever gone to visit a blog I've been critiqued on and had to pick an alternate login name out of embarassment... like junkboy45@hotmail.com.

Maybe this guy is trying to make it professionally in ministry and keeps bumping into this crazy blogger/writer/pastor/speaker dude who unconsciously shares his name, unwillingly steals his emails, and unintentionally is making his life hard.

You know... kind of like how many of us call ourselves Christians and make life harder for Jesus Christ?

Ah...

Sometimes we introduce ourselves to people as "Christians" or "little Christs" - but really we're acting a bit more like junkboy45@hotmail.com - and the world gets confused.

Then there is this great little slice of the Bible where the early Christians were building bridges with the non-Jews... for one of the first-times ever (collectively, that is). The bridge-building was so powerfully noted that a bunch of people started calling them "little Christs" - or "Christians."
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord... The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts 11:19-21, 26b)
Did you catch that?
The early church folk were first called "Christians" when they reached out to those outside their little theological circle... where everything was safe and could be gauged. Instead of drawing a line in the sand and putting down "those people over there," they built a bridge.
So this week I got yet another round of emails for Tony Myles. This time they're coming from Knoxville, Tennessee... apparently Mr Myles is on the move. Must have seen The Fugitive.

I sent out a reply-all email that said, "Hi there... I keep getting emails for a guy named Tony Myles. My name *is* Tony Myles and I am a pastor (www.connectionchurch.org) and writer - but perhaps not the one you're thinking of."

I heard back from a Mr. Vernon H. Guthrie today who said, "I appologize. Yes there is another pastor Tony Myles."

My reply? "And perhaps one day he and I will meet... and the world will sing again."

I'm such a dork sometimes.

3 comments:

Katie said...

Good stuff, but I'm left wondering who junkboy45 is.

Stephanie said...

Email him and find out, katie!

That was good, Mr. Myles(junkboy?? Pastor_T?). The most entertaining (oh yes, and thought-provoking near the end) read that I've had in... well, quite some time.

Tony Myles said...

junkboy45@hotmail.com is the new Al Gore.