Prosperity Fail

Every so often I receive unsolicited mailings from impersonal churches intimately addressed to “Resident.” Invariably these churches tell me that God wants me to prosper (although he has a funny way of showing it sometimes), offer to send me some totem to make it possible, and assure me of their general goodwill. Yesterday’s mail brought me a packet from Saint Matthew’s Churches offering to help me become wealthy by receiving a free golden cross just for responding — post paid! — to their offer. Clearly such mailings are intended to target readers down on their luck. Since I’ve been without a full-time job since July, I meet their demographic rather well. My response, however, may not be what they hoped for: I plan to send no money.

I wonder how deeply these prosperity clergy consider the impact of an unemployed individual receiving their vain promises. Sometimes when the under-employed receive such hollow promises it feels like a god-slap. Oh! If only I had been wearing this free cross I wouldn’t have had to suffer such bouts of depression and self-doubt! It was just that simple! And the Holy Bible says so too!

Those of us who’ve tried to make a living of studying the Bible don’t just read the cheery bits. The Bible is full of suffering, despair, and difficulty endured by those who tried to do the right thing. So, in fairness to the spirit of empirical inquiry, I’ve decided to respond to this offer. The control will be the last seventeen years of my professional life, during which prosperity has eluded me. It may take another seventeen years, but if I carry my free cross around, things are sure to turn my way. The accompanying literature says so. I’ll set myself a task in Outlook for 2026 to see if, A. the world hasn’t ended in 2012, and B. the magic golden cross really works.

8 thoughts on “Prosperity Fail

  1. Hell, why not just 6 months. If you get a full-time teaching job in the next 6 months, you will have to promise to worship the prosperity god !

    Otherwise, if you give it longer, your wallet will be loaded down with every amulet sent to you over the next 17 years.


  2. It’s a shame you need a “control” and can’t mix methods, because it would be a lot more fun to “prove” (or disprove) that hoodoo or Santeria or some other form of highly-questionable (to white folks, anyway!) Christian folk magic was more effective than the prosperity Gospel!


  3. I just received the same thing from good ole St. Matthews!

    You must document the experiment – unless of course you win the lottery and we never see or hear from you again, in which case, I’ll order me a cross as well.


  4. Well, I’m already making plans for how I’m going to use that money, so it had better work! In the meantime, I will document what I actually do to earn the money as well, otherwise it would be an invalid experiment. Would the financial world be able to bear it if we all sent in our forms and became wealthy simultaneously?


  5. Pingback: Prosperity Update « Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

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