[forthright] The Luck Stops Here

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 16:31:31 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Up for the Task

The Luck Stops Here
by Paul Goddard

Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer
in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I
have of it."

Do you remember Li'l Abner, Daisy Mae, and Mammy
and Pappy Yokum? If not, they were all characters
from the fictional hillbilly town of Dogpatch.
Dogpatch was created in 1934 by Al Capp, and it
was featured in his newspaper comic strip, Li'l
Abner. Another memorable Dogpatch citizen was Joe
Btfsplk (Btfsplk is a rude sound that can be made
by closing your lips, sticking out your tongue,
and blowing air through your lips.).

Joe Btfsplk was a well-meaning character who
desperately wanted a friend, but he was always
rejected by the folks in Dogpatch.

No one would befriend him, because it was believed
that he was "the world's worst jinx." He was
depicted with a dark cloud above his head, and
this omen was infectious to anyone who crossed his
path. It always brought them bad luck.

Some say that luck is an occurrence of random
chance. It is a supernatural phenomena that is
beyond our control. Do you believe this? Do
horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, and rabbit's feet
really influence our future? Does the number seven
really bring good luck? When someone knocks on
wood, does this action really influence the
outcome of an event? What about Friday the 13th, a
black cat, or a broken mirror? Can they determine
fate? I agree with a quote from the fictional Jedi
Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He said to Han Solo, "In
my experience, there's no such thing as luck."

Since luck does not exist, is there any logical
reason to wish someone good luck? I think not, yet
this salutation is so ingrained in our English
vocabulary, that it is used daily. When it is used
in this context, I am certain that the origin and
meaning of the word is not known by the well
wisher.

Luck originated with the mythological goddess
Fortuna who was initially worshipped as a
fertility goddess. Her cult was introduced to Rome
by the Etruscan King, Servius Tullius. Using a
wheel of changeability (fortune) from her shrine
in Antium, Fortuna supposedly granted good and
evil favors to her pagan followers. She is
depicted on a Roman coin (Trajan's denarius)
steering the course of destiny with a rudder in
one hand and holding a cornucopia of abundance and
prosperity in the other.

I do not know if Fortuna had an altar in Athens
(Acts 17:16-34), but I am sure that the apostle
Paul did not share in her salutation (Good
Fortuna!). Like the other gods represented on the
Areopagus, Fortuna was a counterfeit goddess
(Isaiah 44:8-20). She was worshiped out of
ignorance (Isaiah 40:18-26) and was nothing more
than a myth.

It was Paul's mission to proclaim the truth to
those who followed such myths (Romans 15:17-21).
Now that you know this, when Lady Luck comes
knocking at your door, tell her to go away!
Christian, are you up for the task?

"I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day." Daniel Whittle
 
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