purple fish guts

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Church Outreach

Sometimes churches have the strangest ideas of how to reach out to people in their communities. Gary over at Science Fiction Twin got me thinking about this with his open letter to a church in his area. He is responding to their outreach method of tossing a rolled up flyer into his yard.

I can't imagine what they were thinking when they came up with that one. Well.... unfortunately I can imagine.... but anyway.... it's ridiculous. I don't like picking trash up in my yard.... so why would anyone else want to pick up trash in their yard? Uggggh. That's definitely showing love to your neighbor, huh?

It reminds me of when we lived in Santa Fe and one of the local churches descended upon the mall in full-on witnessing mode. There was a guy standing up on a table in the food court preaching hell-fire and brimstone and there were a bunch of people aggressively witnessing to people in the rest of the mall.

One of them caught me while I was sitting on a bench. He started in on me with the heathen-gonna-burn-in-hell spiel. I explained I was already a believer, in a Church, Sunday school teacher, etc. He didn't care. He just condescendingly started in on his designated sin-hit-list or something.

    Do you drink?


    Do drugs?


    Do you fornicate?

    Do I what?

    Do you... you know... have sex?

    Uhhh... well, I'm married and I have sex with my wife.... so I guess if you call that fornicating... then...

    Oh... no.... that's okay.

    (ignores me while he converses with one of his buddies)

    Well... you need to get right with God.

    (turns and walks away with his buddy)

Yeah.... that's definitely the way to make a good impression on people. I mean... I was already a Christian and they offended me. I know the guy in the food court got hauled out by security and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the others got the crap beaten out of them.

And one more curious outreach method. I recently received a "to resident" letter that contained a "prayer rug." A paper prayer rug to be more specific. When opened up it's about the size of a placemat. On one side is a strange picture of Jesus with a flowery border and fringe on the ends. Yes... it looks kinda like a rug.... but it's paper. It even says "Church Prayer Rug" right under the picture of Jesus. On the back it says:

"This Prayer Rug is soaked with the Power of Prayer for you. Use it immediately, then please return it with your Prayer Needs Checked on our letter to you."
It must be mailed to a second home that needs a blessing after you use it. Prayer works. Expect God's blessing.

It's particularly funny when you start reading the enclosed letter.

Dear...Someone Connected with This Address,

People just like you are writing to this 54-year-old church, telling us of all types of blessings since this church started praying with them


Now, we must talk to you about something we see, in the Holy Spirit, concerning you and your family's needs.

God's Holy Blessing Power is in the enclosed anointed Prayer Rug we are loaning you to use!!!

We must give you this opportunity first...Then it must go to the home of another dear friend who needs a blessing... You, or someone connected with this address, and another dear family are about to be blessed through this unusual, Bible Faith, Church, Prayer Rug, which we are placing in your care for these next 24 important hours.

It then gives detailed instructions. How it is best to kneel, but you can lay it across you lap as long as both knees are touching the Church Prayer Rug. It also gives suggestions of what to pray for: joy, peace, health, money, a new car, a new house, etc. Then it continues:

These next 24 important hours are crucial to you. Timing is important to God. 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 can't 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 house and back to us, here at the church's chapel prayer room, in faith.

I've never seen anything like it. A paper Faith Church Prayer Rug that is anointed with God's Holy Blessing Power. And it is imperative that it gets used within 24 hours and sent back.... so they can send it to someone else.

Personally, I'd never seen a paper prayer rug before and I certainly didn't realize that they were in such high demand that they needed to be re-used.