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Magical paper prayer rug

January 22, 2010

I found the strangest thing in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago.

To make a really long story short(er), it’s from a church in Tulsa (of course). I try to give the thing the benefit of the doubt and quickly assess that they’re asking for prayer requests. (Emphasis theirs on all of these quotes)

“If you need more joy, peace, health, money a new car, a new house, healing in family communication, or whatever, we, as a very old (59 years) church, want to know about it. Check your prayer needs on page two of this letter.”

Great. Nice. They’re not even asking for money. There’s no room for credit card info, no suggested donation. Good.

Then the benefit of the doubt started to fade. (Handwriting font on this one)

God’s holy blessing power is in the enclosed anointed prayer rug of faith we are loaning you to use!!!”

Really? The purple tabloid page? I guess handkerchiefs taken from Paul healed people (Acts 19), so okay. But “loaning”? This thing is brand spanking new. I don’t believe you’re reusing these things.

Now the instructions.

“… you kneel on this Holy Ghost, Bible Prayer Rug, or spread it over your knees. We want this Church Ministry, Prayer Rug to be touching both of your knees as you pray … It is going to be like you are kneeling before God All Mighty at the altar inside a great church of blessings.”

Now I’m confused; what’s the thing actually called? Secondly, my knees? What happens if it’s only touching one knee? Does God not hear if I only use one knee? What if I’m an amputee? Am I cut off from God at the knees?

And I thought I could come before God whenever I want to. Doesn’t He look forward to seeing me? And aren’t I supposed to come in with boldness? (Hebrews 4:16) I’m sure a “great church of blessings” is a nice place to be, but I was told to take up my cross. Furthermore if the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is alive in me (Romans 8:11) then I don’t really need your imaginary altar.

But wait …

These next 24 important hours are crucial to you. … After you kneel on this Church Prayer Rug, or place it over your knees, place it in a Bible, on Philippians 4:19. (If you don’t have a Bible, it’s okay – just slide it under your side of the bed, for tonight, if you can. If you cant’ do this, it is okay.) Leave It There No Longer Than Tonight Only! God sees. Then, in the morning, it is a must that you get this unusual blessing Church Prayer Rug out of this home and back to us … so we can rush it onto another family that’s in need of a blessing. … Please, do not break this flow of power between us.”

It goes on to explain that I know the magic carpet is working because if you look at it, initially Jesus’s eyes are closed, but as you stare they will slowly open and look back at you. “Really?” I thought, so I unfolded the thing. Sure enough – water marks become faintly evident when you relax your eyes … or hold it up to the light. (They’re a little cock-eyed too, which was even more creepy.)

*big sigh*

Really, Church-I-will-not-name? We wonder why the world thinks our faith is silly and superstitious, or why the world thinks our God is the same as all the others.

I fear for the people who got these things and don’t know the Truth. I fear for the people who are pushed further from the Church by this garbage. I fear for the people who are religious or desperate enough to try it – because if it “works” they’ve been led astray and if it doesn’t “work” who knows what conclusions they’ll draw about God.

To the not-Christians: On behalf of sane Christians everywhere I’d like to go on record saying this is crap and not representative of our faith.

To the “Christians”: Can we stop this? Please? Can we just be normal people? Take off the mask and just be a person who loves God. This garbage isn’t helping anyone.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 4:58 pm

    thanks for sharing – this stuff is so crazy. you know how the latest stats say that we christians are perceived primarily as being judgmental, hypocritical, and anti-gay? well…i think they may throw “just full of crap” in that category. which is really sad for all of us trying to live as jesus lived and bring freedom where oppression reigns – apparently we should be using new reused “prayer rugs”!

    and yet, we are all called “church.” so, may grace and mercy reign where prayer rugs and knee instructions prevail :]

    loving your blog, of course!

    justin

  2. January 22, 2010 6:56 pm

    I’ve gotten a few of those. Hilarious.

    One’s in my Church Marketing Sucks file, but it’s just so ridiculous I never got around to blogging about it. ;-)

  3. Lex permalink
    January 22, 2010 10:35 pm

    Justin – Thanks. Have you read Unchristian? Sounds like you probably have, but if not you should check it out. Really good … in kind of a bad way. And to “may grace and mercy rein where prayer rugs and knee instructions prevail,” I say “Amen!” (As weird and churchy as that is.)

    Kevin – Really? A few? Dang. Maybe you should try it if you’ve gotten a few. It probably (in a spooky voice) means something … o.O

  4. tamihoban permalink
    January 25, 2010 12:44 pm

    lex, you crack me up. you may not have intended to be funny, but: “Now I’m confused; what’s the thing actually called? Secondly, my knees? What happens if it’s only touching one knee? Does God not hear if I only use one knee? What if I’m an amputee? Am I cut off from God at the knees?”

    and not only is this superstition and manipulation, it’s witchcraft. seriously…if you were to check out how to cast a spell on someone in a book of spells, it’d sound just the same. brother. :P

    a certain relative of mine who shall remain nameless signs me up for all such ministries’ mailing lists (thanks!). i’ve gotten magic pieces of cloth, magic sticks, magic medallions…you name it.

  5. January 25, 2010 2:01 pm

    yeah. unchristian i picked up back at a catalyst conference where gabe lyons was actually on hand to answer questions – so very good…well, bad, i guess…but you get the idea.

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