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Why do some succeed?

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In a recent post the question was posed, “Why is there unequal wealth distribution?” Michael Lewis is the author of books like “Liar’s Poker” and “Moneyball.”  He gave the Princeton Baccalaureate titled “Don’t Eat Fortune’s Cookie.” Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Why do some succeed and others do not? Is success due to God’s providence, your own hard work, or is it somehow more mysterious than all of that?

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4 comments

  1. I’m beginning to read a book lent to me by my pastor entitled “The Christian Mind” by Harry Blamires. His main idea is that Christians have given up their minds to secular thinking rather than cultivating a mindset based on what God has given to us in the Scriptures. Listening to Michael Lewis reminds me of this.

    Princeton University was founded on a passion to train men to teach the Word of God with purity and passion, and a passion for the Person of Jesus Christ. For Mr. Lewis to ascribe our destinies and positions in life to luck is to totally ignore the God Who says it is He who raises up men and puts them down. I was struck by Mr. Blamire’s insight even though his original manuscript was written in the late sixties. Christians are now stuck trying to relate to society as unbelievers themselves instead of holding to their convictions that God really is in charge of it all. I find it sad and shallow to have to give an address to a group of graduates of what the world would call a prestigious university, and charge them with the responsibility that “luck” requires.

  2. That you for your insights, they are certainly appreciated.

    I guess I would see it in the opposite. Christianity was once central to Wisdom. In fact, it is from Christianity that many of today’s most prestigious universities have come to us. Unfortunately, the Christianity of today has given up Wisdom and pursued foolish fundamentalism. Today’s Christianity is outright hostile to intelligence and scholarly thinking. I think this is very sad.

  3. Hi Bruce and Dennis…

    True that…true that: I am reminded of The Thinker.

    You know what it is?
    It is that bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

    It displays the figure of a man locked in deep, deep thought. His muscles flexing and his posture ever to fixated against his right wist. As if to communicate the idea that genuine thinking gives an entire body a physical work-out.

    If the same sculpture was made today it would probably be called The Feeler?

    Why…
    It’s because for some time now people are taught to go with their feelings and what makes them feel most comfortable. Not that emotions and feelings aren’t important, but for whatever reason we’re taught to value self-esteem over critical thinking.

    In the Church the Theology of Pollyanna (not that it’s a bad movie, it is refreshing in many ways): even so; in the Church today preference is given to sensory experience and self-fulfillment while sacrificing thinking that is honest, self critical and Biblical. It’s like the only reason many turn to the Bible is because their main concern is with what God is telling them on the spot, in the moment.

    The history that brought us the brought us the Bible is largely ignored and great theological minds like St. Augustine or St. Aquinas are brushed aside. Even though great thinkers like them are perhaps some of the best resources on Biblical understanding that the Church has ever known.

    I personally love listening to Joel Osteen, for example. He is one of the best theological life coaches I have heard. There is a time and place for his preaching and understanding. Yet, there are many who only understand Christianity only in terms that Joel Osteen and similar positive theologians talk about. It is very Pollyanna (if anyone seen that Disney movie). And I liked that movie too:)

    The history of the church is filled with people giving their lives, it is contains also a dark history (the crusades and so on): it also has a rich intellectual tradition and a strong mysticism. This is some really exciting stuff to know as well. It is unfortunate that these things are ignored and preference is given to things like the prosperity gospel.

    Instead of training people to think critically about their theology and truly being other person centered: we have a mess whereby it’s okay to be a “feeler” of what God is doing and believing that the only reason why God is there is to make us happy. I think God does want us to be filled with joy but the Bible does say God’s people perish for a lack of knowledge.

    I am not saying this criticism applies to all forms of modern Christianity. It certainly doesn’t. What I am saying is sometimes God’s answer is no; sometimes life does bite and it is part of what it means to be sanctified. Sometimes it is not good to sit by inequalities and injustices when people suffer…thinking, “well simply pray for them but be concerned mainly with your own happiness…that’s God’s Will”.

  4. Good points Rob- I like the Church the Theology of Pollyanna! Actually, I’ve never seen that movie. Now I’m going to have to watch it sometime.

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