by Bil Aulenbach

Scammed—Almost

My wife and I travel a great deal, and before we go, we always read up on the latest scams. However, my most recent scam happened last week near my home. I was going to our post-office box, and as I was about to make a left into the store, a man in a truck started yelling and pointing to the front of my car. I pulled into the parking lot behind the store. So did he. Then he jumped out of his pickup, leaving his buddy waiting in the cab, and told me that the lower part of my front right fender was falling off.

This surprised me. My car is a 2017 Subaru. The young man told me not to worry. He worked for an auto dealer and knew how to pop my fender back in. He told me to stay in the car and turn the wheels so he could get under the fender. He worked quickly. (Actually, he was taking parts off my fender.) He said that the part holding the fender together was lost, but he just happened to have that $400 part in his truck. (It was the one he just took off my car.) I became suspicious. Even more so when he asked if I had a local bank. I said I did but had no cash.

“Don’t worry!” he said.

But I did. I smelled a rat, and I was alone in an empty parking lot with two young men ripping me off.

The one working on my car finished the job. I asked how much.

“Four hundred and seventy-five dollars.”

I had to think fast. I wanted to call the police, but I couldn’t get the keyboard screen to pop up on my phone.

Then my new “friend” said, “Sir, I have to get back to work. We need to hurry.”

I replied, “Okay, we’ll go—as soon as the police arrive.”

“Why do we need the police?”

“I’ll feel safer. Something’s wrong here.”

He knew he had been caught, so he pleaded one more time to go to the bank. I gave him the same answer, and he jumped into his truck (with no license plate) and left. Whew! Saved!

I have other scam stories, but here’s my favorite. My wife and I were in Paris, walking toward the Louvre, when a young lady in front of us stopped, picked up a gold ring, turned around, and offered it to me.

She said, “I have a ring and don’t need another. Here, take it,” and walked away quickly. Then she turned around and gave us a sob story suggesting that ten euros would help.

I gave her the ten knowing I had been scammed. I felt I had been violated.

Jump ahead a year. My wife and I were in Paris again, different area, same routine by an older woman. She bent over, picked up a ring, turned to us saying she was divorced and didn’t need the ring, and then told a sob story. At that point, I reached into my pocket, pulled out last year’s ring, showed it to her, and told her that I’d sell it to her for five euros. She knew she had been caught but started laughing, and so did we. Even though I had scammed the scammer, it made me feel so used.

The church scams me—a lot.

When someone tells me that Jesus died on the cross for me, I feel scammed. He died on a cross because the Jewish authorities needed the pesky little troublemaker out of the way.

I feel terribly scammed when “prosperity preachers” suggest that if you do what they say and give them lots of money, they’ll make you rich.

In my opinion, the worst scam the institutional church runs is telling us that God lives in a house up above the three-tiered flat world and is running everything. That scam is killing the church and preventing people from hearing the real message of Jesus—agape.

Ever been scammed? By the church? How does it make you feel?

Photo courtesy of Rusty Clark ~ 100K (CC BY 2.0)

2 Responses to Scammed—Almost

  • Thanks,I don’t feel so alone.

  • Not my church. They have legitimate needs. It’s a small church badly divided over ordaining women and recognizing the worth of homosexuals.

    It has shrunk down to 125,000 members since 1985. It has a responsibility to the retirement fund of it’s retired ministers. So we tithe and attempt to come up with enough funding to keep it going. They have cut staff twice these past few years. Much of the administrative work is done by volunteers.

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