Paper loves me. And I fucking hate its punk ass.
And because I hate it, I ignore it, which ironically means that its protuberant abundance eventually piles up and takes over my life—it, the wretched thing I wanted nothing to do with in the first place.
But every few months, I find myself in the home of one of my particularly tidy friends, who I’m sure, along with not having stacks of bills and offers and fliers and catalogues cluttering their domiciles, also do not urinate, defecate, or fart. Or at the very least if they do, it is always 100% odor-free.
ME: I love your kitchen floor.
FRIEND: Oh, thank you! We just remodeled. It’s Marmoleum.
FRIEND: No, Marmoleum.
FRIEND: Um, it’s a green product.
The funny thing about shredding is that, all of a sudden, anything addressed to “RESIDENT” or “OCCUPANT”, as well as any letter with the word “AUTO” at the top of the addressee portion, immediately becomes a friend in this process, as those words really make the job a lot simpler. Such words are indicators of absolute trash, again, once-bemoaned but now appreciated for their facilitation of the painstaking task of distinguishing the shredders from the keepers. Occupant? SHRED! Resident? SHRED THAT MOTHERFUCKER.
Ah, if only real human interactions could be this easy.
Anyway, the other day, I began one of these epic shred sessions, destroying piles of crap--most of which unfortunately comes in duplicate because I live with my significant other, "G". As I crammed one more envelope addressed to “RESIDENT—TO A FRIEND” into the steel jaws of my Fellowes Powershred DS with my right hand, I surveyed the letter’s twin on deck in my left. In the upper left hand corner, where the return address would normally be, I saw this message:
THIS VERY OLD CHURCH LOANS THIS TO YOU, TO BLESS SOMEONE CONNECTED WITH THIS HOME. THEN, IT MUST GO TO ANOTHER FAMILY THAT DESIRES GOD’S BLESSINGS. SEE LETTER INSIDE…
I watched as the shredder swallowed up the last of the first letter. ENNNNHHHHHHHHZZZZZZPPP.
I flipped over the identical letter still in my hand. There was another message printed on the back:
WE PRAY THAT YOU WILL BLESS SOMEONE IN THIS HOME SPIRITUALLY, PHYSICALLY, & FINANCIALLY. AND PLEASE DEAR LORD, BLESS THE ONE WHOSE HANDS OPEN THIS LETTER. MAKE GOOD CHANGES IN THIS ONE'S LIFE AND GIVE THEM THE DESIRES OF THEIR HEART. WE PRAY OVER AND BLESS THIS LETTER IN YOUR HOLY NAME. AMEN.
I opened the envelope. Enclosed I found a letter from one St. Matthew’s Church, informing me that God was ready to help me reach my dreams and goals. All I had to do, according to the letter, was unfold the enclosed prayer rug (another 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper with a picture of Jesus on it), kneel down on that thing, and pray like all hellfire. Oh, and when I was done, I was to send the “rug” back, so it could be used by another needy person in need of Christ’s salvation.
My first thought was, WTF--THIS SHIT IS USED? Um, ew?
I dropped the undoubtedly soiled prayer rug on the floor and continued to read the third enclosed page—testimonials from people who had used the prayer-by-mail system and received blessings including but not limited to a 6 room house, $10,000 in cash, 17 acres of land, and the healing of various infirm body parts. Just by kneeling on a piece of paper. A used piece of paper—one
Intrigued, I picked up the
ME: Hey, come here!
ME: Yo, check out Jesus right here!
|the elusive St. Matthew's "prayer rug", all |
gif-ed out courtesy of Dr. Momentum
ME: Look at his eyes. Do they open for you?
ME: Look some more. Look! Are you looking?
G: I'm looking. I'm also missing my show.
ME: Do you see that, dude? He opens his eyes and looks at you! It’s fucking out of control!
G: Uh…okay. Sort of.
G: No, not really. Okay, look. See the words printed on the back of this thing? The lower case e in “soaked” and in “power” are aligned with Jesus’ eyes on the other side. Like pupils. It makes you think his eyes are opening—I mean, if you’re completely fucking insane, that is. Or a moron.
ME: Well, the letter here says his eyes open because prayer rug is soaked with the power of the Lord.
G: No, his eyes “open” because the “prayer rug” is printed on cheap-ass paper. So, where’s the part where they ask you for the money?
I turned over the letter and read the back page. In addition to returning the prayer rug so that another could use it, I was also instructed to check the box(es) next to the items in my life that required prayer from my Brothers and Sisters at St. Matthew’s Church, and enclose the list with the prayer rug. Choices were listed as follows:
( ) MY SOUL
( ) A CLOSER WALK WITH JESUS
( ) MY HEALTH
( ) A FAMILY MEMBER’S HEALTH
( ) LESS CONFUSION IN MY HOME
( ) MY CHILDREN
( ) A BETTER JOB
( ) A HOME TO CALL MY OWN
( ) A NEW CAR
( ) A MONEY BLESSING
( ) I WANT TO BE SAVED
( ) PRAY FOR GOD TO BLESS ME WITH THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY: $_______
And lo and behold, the very bottom of the list was written:
( ) ENCLOSED IS MY SEED GIFT TO GOD’S WORK OF $ ___________.
I already gave a seed gift...to your mom...ALL OVER HER FACE!
For years Ewing battled the IRS in a tooth-and-nail fight to achieve tax-exempt status for his *cough* church, which according to The Houston Press, was designed "to separate you from your money":
After a years-long battle for tax-exempt status, the organization finally reached a stipulation agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000 granting that status. Critics are still scratching their heads over that one, as the Fifth and Ninth circuit courts had denied tax exemption years earlier, citing board members' "excessive" salaries, which ran in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The courts also pointed out that Ewing's private printing and advertising businesses were paying for the mail blasts and ultimately recouping some of the donations. In 1999, the last year the organization made its financial records available, the group brought in $26 million.
Sound like a scam of epic proportions? Only if you're a commie pinko bastard who hates America. Indeed, to doubt the integrity of this clearly legit mail-order prayer service, you must be, at the very least, a drug-dealing atheist cunt. From the St. Matthew’s website:*
Saint Matthew's Churches does not sell anything. In its mail sermons, it preaches that God answers prayer, which cannot be construed as a mail scam or mail fraud.
However, the published sermons and sacred literature sent free of charge by Saint Matthew’s Churches crosses the paths of atheists; communists; drug dealers; criminals; the lunatic fringes of society; those who hate the United States, God and Christianity and those who hate us because we are gospel missionaries. They accuse all churches which mail sermons of mail scams and mail fraud.
However, former St. Matthew's employee named Valerija Kachovos begged to differ with her boss. According to sources, Ms. Kachovos claimed the thousands of letters and prayer requests sent in by needy respondents were separated from accompanying "seed money", ending up in the trash rather than in the hands of clergy and/or congregation. Wait, does Jesus own a Fellowes Powershred DS, too?! OMG.
In October 2005, Kachovos filed a lawsuit against Ewing under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Houston Press:
According to the suit, Kachavos was a computer programmer for Saint Matthew's who began to question her employer's integrity after allegedly seeing the prayer requests hauled to an incineration company. Kachavos claims she was ultimately fired for asking too many questions.
Kachavos was unsuccessful in her pursuit of the church, and in 2007, in a dramatic turn of events, Ewing turned around and sued Kachavos. The court ruled in favor of St. Matthew's Church, finding that Kachavos' use of the church's private information constituted a a violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. From the court report:
The trade secret in question is the national membership list of SMC containing sensitive and confidential personal information about SMC members, including member tithes, offerings, history of contacts and personal communications with SMC. In addition to finding Kachavos misappropriated a trade secret, the court also issued a permanent injunction requiring Kachavos to return the membership list to SMC. It further ordered Kachavos to pay SMC attorney fees of $7,500.
Kachavos later appealed the ruling, but the court affirmed its original judgment. Proof yet again, in the immortal words of the great Jim Croce, that you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't fuck around with Mail-Order Jesus.