The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and BermudaView RSS Feed
Oct7FriI'm getting tired of fatalism, superstition and flawed theology influencing our Christian faith. So, I want to state some things bluntly, just to set the record straight. October 7, 2011 by Major Danielle Strickland
There is a saying in my family, “Luck is for pagans.” My nine-year-old son grew up saying it and we find it hilarious most of the time—awkward at others. The most striking thing about his response is realizing how much we use the term. It seems superstition laced with fatalism is running rampant in the world—even in the Christian community.
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
While speaking with a Christian woman the other day about a trying circumstance, she responded, “Oh well, whatever will be, will be.” Really, I thought? That's the best we've got?
The other familiar string of fatalism is the idea that God wants us to go through every difficult situation for some cosmic reckoning. I know a recovering drug addict who has been horribly abused by nearly every male figure in her life. She recently told me that she knows God allowed it all to happen for a reason.
But what reason would God have to allow one of his children to be abused? Now, don't get me wrong, I believe with my whole heart that God can and will use absolutely everything and redeem it all for his glory. But God never allows horrible things to happen for some kind of divine reason. Horrible things happen to us for many reasons. Among them are sin, death, evil, the enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Life isn't fair, but that is never how God intended it to be.
I'm getting tired of fatalism, superstition and flawed theology influencing our Christian faith. So, I want to state some things bluntly, just to set the record straight.
1. Luck is for pagans. Pagans are simply people who worship things other than the one true living God. Paganism is when people put all their faith in things to save them. It's hoping a rabbit's foot will bring you luck, throwing salt over your shoulder to protect your family or having your baby christened so he or she will go to Heaven. It has nothing to do with a living faith in a living God who directs our path.
2. “Whatever will be” is not a Christian philosophy; it's not even a good song. One of the most exciting things about the Christian faith is the idea that God invites us into a partnership. This is what keeps me going when times are difficult. God invites me to partner with him in bringing redemption to the whole earth. That's my calling and my job, to co-operate with God in bringing about his Kingdom. Fatalism is not a luxury we can afford. And by “we” I mean the entire human race. Women and children enslaved through human trafficking cannot wait on the whim of fatalism. Nor can those who have not yet heard about the abundant life found in God.
3. Grace breaks through. In U2's Grace, there is a line that says, “she's outside of karma.” It's a small line but a big idea, in which the circle of payback that goes round and round and fills the world with a fatalism that prevents any change (let alone justice) from going anywhere is broken by a thing called grace. Now the most radical notion of karma is in the caste system in India, but the reality is that the caste system is alive and well in every country—it runs through every human heart as a deep temptation to resist grace's call.
I'm amazed how often we agree with the world that change is impossible and people are inevitably stuck in cycles of abuse and violence. God stopped the cycle of sin and invites us to be sin-stoppers as well. I don't need to wait to see what God might do, I need to jump in and do my best to co-operate with what I know to be his will.
I've decided that's not a bad way to spend my life. Offering the good news of radical redemption to people trapped by fatalism and superstition in a luckless world. Care to join me?
Together with her husband, Major Stephen Court, Major Danielle Strickland is the corps officer of Edmonton's Crossroads Community Church.