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.