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  • Oct7Fri

    Luck is for Pagans

    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. October 7, 2011 by Major Danielle Strickland
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    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.

    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.


    On Monday, October 17, 2011, Donald said:

    Major Strickland this is one article I like to term a bi-polar article. In one hand its like great love it boy she has got it. Then I look at the other hand and it would struggle to align with scripture. I beleive that God can and have witnessed God do some great things however you either forgot, never heard of or will deny Job. Job went through what he did because Satan wanted to test him, Satan asked God and what did God say. Bassically do what you want just dont kill him. And test Satan did. Major God does what he pleases however he wants us to have faith. A faith that the weapons of the enemy can not prosper in.

    I feel that we need to take to the word. In my church we are going through the Bible one chapter at a time. Today we were taught about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorah. What a city that needed the Lord. When the Lord inspected that city what he found was terrible and he took swift action to eliminate it. Thats not a God that walked around the city and went hey people its ok do as you please no He took out of that city one family that was closest to God and destroyed the rest. Thats what we need to be preaching sin causes consequence, we need to be teaching the plan of salvation incuding what went on Calvary. We need to teach the promises os Gods faithful and about faith, the blood of Jesus. We need to stop creating a soft feel good scripture but the truth of the word. The pastor spoke this morning and he said something that is missed here we cant take the good and leave the uncomfortable the bible is like stew we have to take it all.

    On Friday, October 14, 2011, Jac said:

    Brother Moe, Christening is very important, it is a commitment by the family and the church body that they will do what they can to "train a child in the way he should go". However there is a belief out there that once you have your baby "done" that they are good, they need no other influence of Christianity. I think what Danielle is getting at is that it can be superstitious to believe that rituals provide eternal security.

    Also SA members dedicate their children at different ages. There is no set time, I've seen it done right away and as late as 7-12 months old.

    On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, Brother Moe said:

    I am not sure if I agree with all of your examples. For example, "having your baby christened so he or she will go to Heaven" is considered luck for the pagans. I think this is a huge theologically idea that many Catholics and mainline churches believe. Are you implying that having children christened is not necessary? I think a lot of people in the back of their minds believe this concept. Why do so many SA members dedicate their baby at such a young age (within the first couple of weeks) and other evangelical like the Christian and Missionary Alliance members wake until the child is between 3-6 months?

    On Saturday, October 8, 2011, Philip Brace said:

    Well, Major Strickland, you seem to be following the footsteps of the Master. Even a cursory reading of the Gospels would indicate there was considerable turbulence in His wake.
    What do you think of the philosophy/theology espoused in some of the choruses we Army folk sing? For example:

    I'm in His hands, I'm in His hands,
    What e'er the future holds, I'm in His hands,
    The days I cannot see have all been planned for me,
    His way is best you see, I'm in His hands.

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