A piece of junk mail arrived in our mailbox today. It was ugly. Manipulative. Deceitful. Written by a guy who calls himself a “Reverend”.
I’ve never received a letter like this one before, probably because I’m on the nation’s “not likely to fall for it” mailing list. In fact this piece was addressed to the previous owner of our house, who is getting close to 100 years old, lives in a home, and can no longer read or answer mail.
So what did it say? Gospel teachings like “Be what you want to be, do what you want to do, have what you want to have!”
Things like “In the Spirit, in my heart, I have blessed this MIRACLE POWER OF GOD CROSS [cheap cardboard cross enclosed] and prayed over it for you. Now you must do what the Spirit says to do with this MIRACLE POWER OF GOD CROSS, too. Send it back to me in the morning, BEFORE SUNDOWN TOMORROW, along with your Faith and Love Donation of $20 or more. GOOD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU when you BELIEVE and DO what the Spirit told me to tell you to do with this [MPOG] CROSS.”
[By now some of you probably recognize the banter. Yes, I know, I’ve been sheltered, I’ve never come across this particular tripe-meister before.]
A few years ago, the elderly lady who used to live here might easily have received such a letter and been conned into giving. It’s remarkable how many decent, trusting souls there are in our neighborhood. Senior citizens, good, hardworking, taxpaying, kind-hearted people who would give you the shirt off their backs if you asked. I’ve seen some of them be taken in by this kind of crap.
And it got me thinking about what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain. Isn’t it this? To use “ministry” as a cover for taking money from widows and the poor? To use the lonely and undereducated to buy yourself a fleet of color-coordinated Rolls Royces? To teach people that Jesus said “wealth in this life is better than wealth in the next”?
The “Prosperity Gospel” is a sham, folks. Jesus never promised us a rose garden, at least not in this life. If anything he promised just the opposite.
“Today’s preachers of wealth have mixed the name of Christ into their alchemy of wealth, but there is no God in their lives, in their ministries, or in their potions. Most have made a mockery of godliness–many have been caught in all types of corruption that defy the very teachings of Christianity; many are blatant sinners, using the name of Christ and their positions in churches to feather their nests…” — Simond Griote on gibbsmagazine.com
The organization I received the letter from is called “United Christian Evangelistic Association”. Trust me. These people are not Christian and their “evangel” is BAD NEWS. Spread the word.