Yesterday's mail contained an envelope from the folks at SaintMatthewsChurches.com. Inside the envelope, and what initially caught my eye, was a flyer offering a "collectable Bible Cross" touted as "one of the most beautiful in the world" and "not sold in stores." On the flip side of the flyer were testimonials from people who, upon receiving other SaintMatthewsChurches.com products, had been blessed with large sums of money ($46,000), houses (a big six-room one), and healing of severe pain in their left leg.
An accompanying personal letter (it had to be personal, since someone had clearly taken the trouble to underline certain sentences with a blue marker) offered me the prayer blessing of the good people at SaintMatthewsChurches.com in support of such wonderful things as ("check all boxes that apply"): "A new home to call my own," "A new car," "God blessing me with this amount of money: (fill in the blank)."
Wow! This all sounded too good to be true! So, I went to the SaintMatthewsChurches.com web site (their letter encouraged me to do so) and clicked on the "About" menu. As I read through multiple paragraphs self-describing the good work of SaintMatthewsChurches.com, it appeared they are a bit touchy about various (and according to their "About" section "completely false") accusations of mail fraud and mail scam that have been brought against them.
Enough seeds of doubt had been sown in my mind that I folded my personalized letter (only then noticing it had been addressed to "Dear Occupant") and placed it in the waste basket. I was sadly aware that many desperate people... folks who can barely put food on their tables... will grasp at any possibility, and place money they can't afford to part with into the conveniently provided, postage-paid envelope and send it to SaintMatthewsChurches.com in hopes of receiving a personal prayer rug wrapped in an implied promise of gaining dollars from God.
"It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" Jesus, Matthew 21:13