Good fortune is usually a consequence of good luck.

The luck of a coin toss, a favorable breeze, rain at the right time, or being born in a healthy and educated family in, say, America and not a drought-ridden village in Somalia.

Winners rarely want to acknowledge chance. They prefer to see themselves as uniquely blessed by God, wrapped in a “manifest destiny,” benefiting from hard work and wise decisions. They won because they deserved to win, and they deserved to win because they are better.

Thus, the so-called 1% think themselves entitled to their wealth and see the 99% as losers who are simply envious of their betters.

Two problems with that view. In time, as Dylan sang, losers and winners tend to trade places. (Hello Greece!) Or as Jesus said, the last will be first in God’s kingdom.

Second, feeling entitled to victory and its spoils tends to make one brittle, soft, cruel and unable to handle adversity. (Hello politics 2012!)

Preachers of prosperity fare well among the young and affluent, as well as among those who wish, more than anything else, to be young again and more affluent. But the prosperity Gospel eventually runs afoul of reality, because it is self-indulgent and oblivious to chance, and because it has no Act Two.

I once knew a church that subtly asked people to leave when they lost jobs, failed in marriage, got old or got sick with no promise of miracle cure. These “losers” contradicted their view that God has a winner’s plan for everyone who believes.



Photo: NYC waterfront on the day Irene, by chance, became a tropical storm and not a hurricane that would have flooded much of Manhattan.



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