Tonight as I was going through the day's mail, I came across an envelope that looked alarmingly hilarious. The front has some garbage about blessing homes and the back has an incorrectly punctuated, badly written, arbitrarily highlighted prayer to Jesus. So of course I had to open it. What sort of hilarity would be on the inside? It's hard to get more idiotic than "bless the one who's hands open this letter," but I had a feeling they'd find a way to make it happen.
I was not disappointed.
Inside was a letter addressed to "someone connected with this address." They don't care who -- obviously, if I am the one to receive it -- but they do have a detailed set of instructions for "someone."
In one of those obnoxious pseudo-handwriting fonts in the middle of the page is written "God's holy blessing power is in the enclosed anointed prayer rug we are loaning you to use!!!"
Just in case you don't get your own miraculous Jesus prayer rug via the USPS, I will explain it to you all.
First, they want me to know that this isn't a scam. They reassure me that they are a "very old church" -- in fact, they're at the ripe old age of 55. They want me to take the enclosed "prayer rug" (which is actually a drawing of a white guy -- so right there, it can't be Jesus) and sit in a room ALONE, which is something they define as "just me and God." I guess they don't know what "alone" means. I'm supposed to focus on whatever I need -- health, joy, peace, "a new car, a new house...or whatever." They tell me I am to lay the prayer rug across my knees as I focus on whatever it is I need. And I will notice as I first look at the prayer rug, Jesus's eyes are closed -- but through what I can only assume is some sort of divine magic, I will see his eyes open! Oh, how lucky I will be to be able to see such a thing. For then I will truly know that Jesus sees my needs. And somehow, the good people at St. Matthew's Churches (they insist on the plural -- I have a feeling this is just some guy named Matt, but I digress) know that because I have been chosen to receive this miraculous gift, I might want to donate to them a significant portion of my IRA. I don't know how they knew this, but I suppose the lord truly does work in mysterious ways. After all, it's not like I'm just anyone -- I'm someone. And I am connected with this address.
They also included an expanded checklist of things to pray for -- just in case I might not be immediately aware of how much my life sucks and how much better it would be if I stopped working and saving my money and instead prayed to a piece of paper and gave them my PIN.
Some of the things on that list are, as I've mentioned, a new car and "a money blessing." And that's when I stopped being amused and started being kind of pissed.
I'm not a religious person, but I do believe in certain things. I don't know if I believe in god as an entity, but if such an entity does exist, it isn't going to start handing out cars or blank checks. If god could bestow money onto mortals, then why wouldn't it deliver an armored car to good old St. Matthew's? Logic trumps religion every time.
Yeah, they're not getting this prayer rug back -- which they do ask for. I'm supposed to return Magic-Eye Jesus (it really does look like one of those Magic Eye drawings from the '90s that would morph from a bunch of spots into some picture as your eye muscles relaxed) along with my completed checklist, and while I'm at it, how about a nice little "seed gift" to help tip the scales in my favor.
On a less significant scale, it irritates me that they'd bill themselves as a "very old" church. 55 years? My dad is older than that. Furthermore, there are churches less than a mile from my house that are more than twice that old. Have these guys ever heard of Europe? Asia? There are some old churches, you fuckers. Go hang out in China and then come tell me how amazing your wouldn't-even-qualify-for-an-early-bird-special church is.
Also, if god wants to contact me, I doubt he's going to go through the mail. Burning bushes would attract a hell of a lot more attention and, I assume, would not be able to accept a monetary donation.
There's also a third page with a bunch of excerpts from letters from people who probably have Pat Robertson on speed dial. And NONE of the letters are actually addressed to St. Matthew's. It's all bracketed in. All but one letter talks about getting money. I guess they know the true spiritual desires of Americans. This lone letter is from a woman who was healed of hip pain by the magical prayer rug. It couldn't possibly be that her body healed or anything -- no, no. She was going to eventually die of hip pain and there was nothing anyone could do. But a piece of paper in the mail from some lunatic made it all better. Take that, medical science.
The other letters all say things like "God blessed us with $10,700." And no one asks where this money came from. As though thousands of dollars materialize all the time. When your unemployed husband comes home to you and your thirteen children with a bag full of money and you say, "Gee, honey, where did that come from?" and he says, "God blessed us. Now where's dinner?" you might want to watch the news that night. Somewhere, there is a store that won't be making its nightly deposit.
All cynicism aside, I'm going to try it. There is something I would very much like to manifest in my life at this time. I'm not sure if it's going to work, though, because it's not on the checklist. But I've written it in -- right between "My Soul" and "A New Car." And I will light a candle, say a prayer, kneel on the prayer rug, and slowly stare into the face of Jesus until his eyes open, and I will keep one glorious image in my mind -- the one thing my heart truly desires above all else. And, hands clasped in prayer at my lips, I will chant one word over and over.
"Taco. Taco. Taco."