We've all received those annoying e-mails that threaten us with impending doom if we don't promptly forward said threat to at least 10 of our closest friends within 5 minutes of opening said e-mail. Now, why on earth would I want to threaten my friends? And, how sad that I would do so just to save my own hide!
Perhaps even more annoying are those e-mails that challenge me to PROVE that I love Jesus by forwarding the goofy e-mail to my friends .... who are mostly Christians in the first place. And I always thought guilt-tripping your friends wasn't a very nice thing to do.
Do you know what I do when I receive these e-mails? I promptly delete them! I say "HAH! to your superstition!"
Why St. Joseph, I wondered? He's the patron saint of workers, as well as having been deemed by Pope Pius IX in 1870 to be the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church. Why would he be helpful in selling real estate?
These modern day "incantations" and "magic charms" drive me nuts, especially when they are practiced by God-fearing individuals who should not be believing in such mumbo jumbo. Of course, the "proof" always come when you're told about Aunt So-And-So who 'did just that and, BAM!, the next day her house sold!" I roll my eyes and want to blurt out "yeah, but it would have probably sold the next day anyway! Not exactly beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt proof, my friend."
Speaking of "mumbo jumbo", I got to wondering where that expression comes from. It went to Merriam-Webster.com and found the following:
Interesting: "an object of superstitious homage and fear" ... "ritualistic observance" ...Main Entry: mum·bo jum·boPronunciation: \ˌməm-bō-ˈjəm-(ˌ)bō\Function: nounEtymology: Mumbo Jumbo, a masked figure among Mandingo peoples of western AfricaDate: 17381 : an object of superstitious homage and fear
2 a : a complicated often ritualistic observance with elaborate trappings b : complicated activity or language usually intended to obscure and confuse
3 : unnecessarily involved and incomprehensible language : gibberish
4 : language, behavior, or beliefs based on superstition
Some people might easily confuse "faith" with "superstition." To me, superstition involves a person implementing an object or ritual in order to control or manipulate God or one's situation. For example, if I pray the right prayer the right number of times, if I rub prayer beads or a rabbit's foot while praying or wishing, I can manipulate God or manipulate the "powers of the universe." (Just to be clear, I do not believe that prayer beads are bad. Interestingly, the world's three monotheistic religions all use prayer beads. I believe they are to be used to help us focus on "the task at hand", helping to calm our minds as we roll each bead around with our finger tips as we contemplate needs, sins, praise, thanksgiving. It is not the beads themselves that foment change, but rather they help quiet our minds.)
Faith, on the other hand, involves a relationship with God. We pray for others or for ourselves so that we build up one another. I am praying for Christine, Meg and Bob -- not because I believe I can manipulate God into doing my bidding on their behalf, but because it helps me to think beyond myself, to bond in community with other believers ("communion of the saints"), and to encourage those who are suffering. My prayers are heard by God, but the final outcome is up to Him and is not dependent on how I pray, what tools I use, or if I hop around on one foot while saying a magical incantation.
Ahhhh, those lovely e-mails. Luckily, someone came up with an ingenuous way to reply to those "friends" who would wish us ill for not forwarding the same malarkey on:
Hee, hee! :)PLEASE PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR MONITORAND REPEAT THESE WORDS WITH ME:
1) I will NOT get bad luck, lose my friends, or lose my mailing list if I DON'T forward an email!
2) I will NOT hear any music or see a taco dog, if I do forward an e-mail.
3) Bill Gates is NOT going to send me money, Victoria's Secret doesn't know anything about a gift certificate they're supposed to send me.
4) Ford will NOT give me a 50% discount even if I forward my e-mail to more than 50 people!
5) I will NEVER receive gift certificates, coupons, or freebies from Coca-Cola, Cracker Barrel, Old Navy, OutBack SteakHouse or anyone else if I send an e-mail to 10 people.
6) I will NEVER see a pop-up window if I forward an e-mail..NEVER-NEVER!!
7) There is NO SUCH THING as an e-mail tracking program, and I am not gullible enough to think that someone will send me $100 for forwarding an e-mail to 10 or more people!
8) There is NO kid with cancer through the Make-a-Wish program in England collecting anything! He did when he was 7 or 8 years old. He is now cancer-free and 35 years old and DOESN'T WANT ANYMORE POST CARDS or GET-WELL CARDS.
9) The government does not have a bill in Congress called 601B (or whatever they named it this week) that if passed, will enable them to charge us 5 cents for every e-mail we send.
10) There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colorful flowers, characters, or program that I will receive immediately after I forward an e-mail. NONE, ZIP, ZERO, NADA!!
11) The American Red Cross will NOT donate 50 cents to a certain individual dying of some never-heard-of disease for every e-mail address I send this to. The American Red Cross RECEIVES donations.
12) And finally, I WILL NOT let others guilt me into sending things by telling me I am not their friend or that I don't believe in Jesus Christ. If God wants to send me a message, I believe the bushes in my yard will burn before He picks up a PC to pass it on! And my friends already know that I love them - whether or not I respond to or forward an email.
Now, repeat this to yourself until you have it memorized, and send it along to at least 5 of your friends before the next full moon or you will surely be constipated for the next three months and all of your hair will fall out.
Oh, and you will have really good luck if you send me $20.