Tuesday, October 30, 2007

St Joseph will sell your house!!.... ???

Today in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), I read an article in section D entitled, "When It Takes a Miracle to Sell Your House."

Because the housing market is in a slump across the nation, some people are employing some pretty drastic measures to sell their homes. The WSJ article says people are buying statues of St Joseph (the step-dad of Jesus) because he's the patron saint of home-related matters--he was a carpenter after all!

They buy these statues, bury them upside down, sell their homes, and then (if they remember) dig up the statues again to place in their new homes. This is the ritual.

If one or two people were doing this, it wouldn't be newsworthy. But these St Joseph statues are flying off the shelves as Real Estate Kits!

Is Your House Not Selling?
St Joseph Statue Home Sales Kit.

The opening story in the article tells of a Jewish woman who is a practicing Buddhist and a discouraged home seller. So she added a Christian statue to her yard for good luck.

This attitude is very present everywhere we travel. When it comes to religion, in general, Americans want what they want. Otherwise, they'll employ drastic measures.

St Joseph's views of God are very different than the Buddhists. Joseph would say there is a God to pray too. Buddhists would not. Joseph would say that Jesus really is the world's hope. Buddhism would say Jesus is one way, but only if he's a way compatible with Buddhism. Joseph would say that you matter as an individual. Buddhism would say that, in reality, there are no individuals that can matter.

With all the science we claim to have today, polytheism (the belief there is more than one god) is growing rapidly. And this does not surprise me as the value of common sense is replaced with superstition.

People are afraid. People want results.

A question I often hear is 'how on earth can the ancient Israelites be so gullible to run after other gods.

When Israel wanted something and couldn't get it out of Jehovah the way they liked, they found another god fill their order. This is exactly what prompted Baal worship--he was a fertility god and Israelites really, really wanted babies. So instead of trusting, they became polytheists.

This is the same thing that happened in with the church in Ephesus. Read 1 Timothy and you get a whole polemic against the goddess, Artemis (though her name is never mentioned). She was the goddess of unapproachable light and the savior of child bearing. Paul writes Timothy and says in chapter 6 that God is the immortal one of unapproachable light (not Artemis) and that God will save in childbearing (not Artemis).

The problem with following after other gods is no different yesterday as it is today.

Yet don't we want to base our lives on is something real?

Do we really want to pull out the latest trendy rabbit's foot, pretend that it is a REAL comfort, and then live our lives on trinkets buried in our yards, hung from our rearview mirrors, or worn around our necks.

Trinkets, no matter how we play with them, will never give us what we want.

Only a God who is there can do that.

Paul had it right. There is a better way.


Anonymous said...

Please get your facts right about Buddhists. And yes, St. Joseph does, will and can sell your house!

Dale Fincher said...

Thanks for your comment!

What I listed about Buddhism is what I have found to be general knowledge. Perhaps there are forms of 'boutique' Buddhism that may differ with the user. But this really isn't Buddhism just as Christians who claim there is no God are actually Christians. It's just name borrowing.

Catholicism and Buddhism have a very different view on what the substance of the universe is and therefore contradictory in it's worldview. That's what I was pointing out.

Often many will overlook the contradictions in favor of whatever pragmatic results they can get. That is something I personally want to avoid in my life. It doesn't seem to lead to real flourishing and perpetuates what we find in superstitious cultures.

As for St Joseph selling a house... I think the thoughtful reader can decide that.

Anonymous said...

Buying a statue of St Joesph and burying him upside down in the yard of the house you want to sell will probably not accomplish anything. Saying prayers to St Joesph asking him to ask the Lord to send you a buyer is what I think is the answer. My house was on the market for 9 months. Then on February 23, 2008 I buried a statue of St Joesph in the yard, but along with that statue I prayed to St Joesph daily and on April 11, 2008 we finalized the sale. Amazing! Did the statue do it? Or was it the prayers or both. In any way the results speak for themselves. Do I believe? You bet I do. But you have to start out believing in God, praying to him and trusting him to do what is best for you. St Joesph is an added voice to God on your behalf.

Dale Fincher said...

Anonymous... I appreciate your comment and giving us a historical view of praying to saints.

One problem with praying to saints is a philosophical one. Saints are human and thus do not have the quality that God has to hear millions of prayers from millions of places at once. Because of saintly finitude, I would expect a housing crisis like ours would so fill the airwaves of prayer that many, if not most, would go unheard by the righteous saint.

Yet only God is big enough to hear them all.

So that's my larger issue with it. Another issue for my readers to be aware of is that we do not find this idea of praying to saints but where we also find pagans also doing the same thing first. It was later incorporated into Christianity. The famous 'graffiti' walls found in the catacombs are a good example of this.

Anonymous said...

I am a Buddhist... please understand us before you judge us. Boutique Buddhism? Did you research all 300 sects? Tibetian is different from Chinese and both are quite different from the sects practiced in Japan.

It's like saying the general knowledge of Santa is... there is now general knowledge because there are different traditions around the world.

I believe it says in the Bible "Judge not lest ye be judged"

Dale Fincher said...

Anonymous... please inform me how I have misspoken about Buddhism, especially in light of the article's interfaith assumptions.

Rereading my post and comments, I don't see how I've judged Buddhists... misrepresented, maybe, if you can show me how, but judged?

Also, the reference to "judge not" in Matt 7 isn't referring to making claims about points of view. It's about moral judgments. This verse is commonly misquoted in our culture as a misunderstanding of Christianity's teachings... ;)