Adventures in Unexpected Evangelism: Stitchery Edition
I cross stitch because, as an amusing photo I saw on Facebook informed me, cross stitch is for those times when one simply has to stab something 20,000 times. I bought a new cross stitch pattern off Etsy because I’m bored with my current projects. It happens. My new pattern was delivered electronically because convenience. Amongst the files in my purchased zip archive of directions was a text file entitled “YOU NEED TO READ THIS,” the contents of which I reproduce here with all spelling and formatting choices of the original author left intact.
Proverbs 16:8 Better is a LittLe With Righteousness Than Great Revenues Without Right)
If one has the Lords righteousness, it matters LittLe what eLse he may not have, for as soon as this short Life is over he goes to eternaL riches with the Lord. But to possess great weaLth without righteousness is to onLy to generate a taste for Luxury which shaLL be eternaLLy unsatisfied after death. The greatest possessions that one may own fade into nothingness in the Light of a ChristLess eternity,
(Matthew 16:25-26),yet many are daiLy seLLing their souLs for the revenues of earth. ALas,That Satan Is So Deceptive.
Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom Than GoLd! And to get understanding rather to be chosen than siLver!Grace is more vaLuabLe than GoLd. Grace is the gift of Gods pecuLiar favor; GoLd onLy of common providence. Grace is for the souL and eternity; GoLd onLy for the body and time. Grace wiLL stand us in stead in a Dying Hour,when GoLd wiLL do us no good, [M. Henry]. GoLd can purchase many things, but those things which are of most vaLue cannot be purchased by GoLd, but they can be obtained by wisdom. If a person has onLy GoLd, there are many things he cannot obtain by it,but if he has wisdom, he can obtain aLL things,incLuding GoLd. It is sad, however,how many peopLe make an IdoL out of weaLth.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he wiLL estabLish your pLans.
PUT IN EASY TERMS TO UNDERSTAND
(Entrust your efforts to the Lord,
and your pLans wiLL succeed)
Proverbs 3:6 in aLL Thy ways acknowLedge Him,and He shaLL direct Thy paths.
PUT IN EASY TERMS TO UNDERSTAND
Know him in aLL your paths,
and he wiLL keep your ways straight.
Jesus said to the woman,”Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
DONT BE AFAID TO HEAR THE TRUTH
YOU NEED TO READ THIS
THERES HOPE FOR YOUR SOUL YET
TAKE CARE GOD BLESS
Alas, the poor Lowercase L. We knew it, Horatio.
Insomuch as there is a coherent thesis here to consider, there appear to be two main thoughts. First, money is bad and takes people away from the Christian god. This latter was not my experience as I became an atheist while in grad school (not exactly the abode of the wealthy). Meanwhile, the church my parents attended was receiving a weekly income of about $7,000. Tithing is good for the church budget. My experience is not everyone’s experience, but if the Pope and the Osteens are any examples, there are plenty of people who have no issues reconciling faith with mind boggling wealth. The fun thing about quoting the Bible about wealth being bad is that you can also use it to demonstrate that wealth is perfectly fine.
Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
It’s almost like the Bible is a muddled mix of things that one can cherry pick to support many different points!
The second main thought here seems to be that if you trust the Christian god enough, that god will take care of you. The reverse, that if things don’t go well obviously you aren’t trusting god enough, is reason for mental and financial difficulties for people, since after all, if things are going badly, that may mean one is not being sufficiently good at trusting god. I heard plenty of stories in Sunday School about how people who were financially struggling decided to stop giving to the church and consequently suffered way more. The clear moral us impressionable young people were to take away from this was that no financial obstacle was so great that one should ever consider not giving to the church.
At least there’s hope for my soul yet. And some of this little essay has been put in simple terms so I can easily understand it! There’s also yet hope that our author will one day realize how pointless, condescending, and inappropriate these words are. Or at least how poorly spelt and formatted. Maybe there will even one day be a lack of rampant assumptions about unknown people who buy cross stitch patterns of dancers off Etsy! I don’t, for example, think I am particularly either afraid (nor yet afaid) to hear things that Christians assert are true. Annoyed, maybe, but not usually afraid (nor yet afaid.) Likewise, someone who actually knew me and was still so tasteless as to try converting me would probably not start by implying that I am just too rich to care about Christianity, when I have more pressing concerns about it. The lack of evidence, the status of women as second-class citizens (at best), and the rampant xenophobia, to start with. Even not knowing me, the very second part of this little essay might lead me to suppose that sufficient faith in Christian faith would also supply me with money to spend on fripperies like cross stitch patterns. Which does beg the question of why a merchant is so hell bent against money anyway.
While, however, we are holding out futile hopes for my soul and the resurgence of the lowercase L, I also found a .jpg that encourages me to drop everything, or at least abuse ellipses.
Interestingly enough, back when I was still trying hard to be a good Christian, I actually ended up blocking most Christians I knew from email (this was before Facebook) specifically because so many that I knew were so fond of chain message of this nature. As a Christian, I thought being asked to prove my faith in Jesus by sharing such foolishness was a wee bit tawdry, and as an atheist, I find it both tawdry and presumptuous.
I’m still going to work on this cross stitch pattern–it’s of a pretty belly dancer–but I don’t know whether I should ever buy anything ever again. Sure, I’m piqued by this, but if I contribute more to his wealth, he might be led astray by the idols of wealth, which could also be fun.
Featured image is Ludwig von Langenmantel’s Savanarola Preaching Against Prodigality, via Wikimedia Commons