Read Rev Jim’s Sermons

What is a Church without a sermon? That is meant to be rhetorical, so there is no need to answer “a much less boring place!”  In an attempt to balance all of the fluffy photo content here, visitors are encouraged to read one or more sermons to get a good strong dose of Church. 

Sermon are numbered and visitors are encouraged to read them in order, although each sermon deals with a stand-alone topic some of the terms may have been defined in earlier sermons.

For ease of use, each sermon has a “message in a nutshell” at the end which summarizes the main points.  Visitors may chose to read the nutshell first and decide if it is worth their while to read all that precedes it.  Either way, comments are always welcome!

Say No to Karma

Karma does not exist!  The typical conception of karma is like a delayed reward and punishment system.  We are not talking about straightforward cause and effect, but a situation where the karmic result is hidden, delayed or otherwise not directly connected to the deed.  According to this concept, a bad deed may actually pay off in the short run but a negative result will at some point come back to haunt the evildoer.  Likewise, someone may even be punished for a good deed, but there will be an eventual beneficial payoff. 

Life experience shows that this concept is not true.  Ill-gotten gains are enjoyed to the fullest by very bad people and very good people have terrible accidents.  Murderers die peacefully in their sleep from old age while candidates for sainthood suffer horribly.  The believers in karma may explain this away by saying that the person will be rewarded or punished in their “next life”.  This is a theological argument that cannot be proved nor disproved.  As such, karma is no longer a “universal law” that must be obeyed.  Rather, it becomes completely an article of faith, and therefore a matter of personal choice. 

The typical concepts of heaven and hell are exactly the same as the belief in karma, but the consequences of actions are rewarded or punished in a mythical afterlife.   Many pagans even go so far as to believe in the so-called “law of three” whereby the karmic reward or punishment is supposedly trebled.  This makes the punishment for an evil deed three times as bad as the deed itself.  Are we scared yet?

Truly, there is no reason to be scared!  All of these concepts are simply attempts to control behavior.  There is no evidence for any of it – it all a matter of choosing to believe or not. 

Yet, experience tells us that maybe there is a grain of truth in the notion of karma.  It is because our actions do not always produce the results we expect.  So we assume the expected result somehow “got lost” and will return to us at some later time.  However this is not the case.  We have just interacted with Chance, Fortune or Luck and the results we obtain are truly what they are.

There is another process, which may be similar to karma is some ways, whereby actions produce results that are unexpected but are in certain aspects similar to the expected results.  This process is actually a form of recursion that creates metaphysical fractals.  Fractals are self-similar structures that can be generated mathematically by a recursive formula – where one of the steps of the formula consists of rerunning the formula.  There are many examples of fractals in nature, for example a both a leaf and the whole tree exhibit a similar structure.

Metaphysically this occurs when we apply a programmed set of thoughts and deeds to situations.  We have many of these sets that have developed as an efficient way to deal with circumstances we encounter.  Usually we run through such a program in a standard way expecting certain results.  However, the base set of circumstances we are working with is not identical – something is usually different.  Therefore the strategy that produced a certain result in the past now produces a different, but nonetheless similar result.  We may try again, and again the result is not as expected, but is oddly familiar.  These metaphysical fractals are especially common in our relationships with others.  We do the same things over and over, but with different people, and we can’t understand why our results keep changing!  Throw the effects of Luck and Chance into the mix and it’s no wonder we have a hard time getting the outcomes we desire. 

The primary strategy to counteract this effect is to mix it up a bit.  Try something new!  And remember – don’t be afraid of the karma!

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Sermon #1 – Seen & Unseen

The Worlds of the Seen and the Unseen

Most people think of the world as the place where they live and work, eat and sleep, interacting with things, other people and nature.  This is the Seen World, where putting chocolate syrup into milk makes chocolate milk, and drinking it begins a process that results in the calcium in the milk being incorporated into your very bones.  Where driving the same roads bring you to the same place.  For the most part, it’s all pretty predictable.  This is the world were cause and effect are well enough understood and big surprises are reserved for birthdays.  While we don’t directly experience it, the Seen World exists for people all over the world and it operates pretty much the same everywhere.  The Seen World is sometimes called Consensus Reality – the commonsense world where if your Mother is alive you can go see her, where candles provide ambiance at dinner, and if you are served your favorite dish you’re happy.

Parallel with the Seen World is Unseen World.  It’s the place where unknown forces act in mysterious ways to shape the Seen World.  Actually the Unseen World (as well as the Seen World) may be made up of many worlds, and we may consider some of those at a  later date.  But for now, let’s imagine some of the materials from which the Unseen World is made: metaphysical things, like Gods and Demons and spirits of the dead; emotions like love, hope and fear; thoughts of the future and memories of the past; intentions for good and ill; everything possible and impossible – it’s all there. The Unseen World is sometimes called the World of Potentials because it contains the seeds of all possibilities.

Most people focus on the Seen World because that is where they think they live.  It’s much safer and more comfortable than the unpredictable Unseen World.  The problem is this: we can’t avoid living in both worlds, simultaneously, all of the time.  Many people realize this.  Some devote themselves to working at the edges of the Seen World, reaching into the Unseen to bring it under our control.  These are the scientists, the researchers and the inventors. 

Others live completely in the Unseen World – madmen, mystics and saints whose lives we cannot fathom.  Then again, there are those who live mainly with the rest of us, but gain an understanding of how to work with the Unseen.  They delve deep to work with it directly, sometimes even attempting to manipulate the Seen World through the practice of arcane arts.  These are the occultists, root doctors and reverends.  Here your Mother need not be alive for you to visit her, that candle may be a beacon sending a message into the world of spirit, and your favorite dinner dish may have a hint of a strange aftertaste. 

Here at the Church of Good Luck we are primarily interested in understanding and working with the Unseen World in order to increase our happiness.  We know that the road we drive to work each morning is crowded with sleepy truckers and cell phone-distracted minivan drivers who could crash into us at any moment.  We know that our little nest egg is vulnerable to market downturns and our job could be done cheaper offshore.  On the other hand…there is that cute new guy or girl that the temp agency sent over yesterday.  And that potential new client who maybe just needs a little more attention to win over.  Or that new responsibility that fell into your lap after the last downsizing.  What are you going to do today to decrease the bad and increase the good?

The Seen World answers are clear.  You drive defensively, you work hard, and you make sure you’re presentable and polite.  But why not get a boost?  Many people who wouldn’t enter a casino without their lucky gambling charm or wouldn’t play poker without elaborate rituals go off to work without any sort of magical assist at all.  Believe me, your work is a much riskier environment than the casino.  At the casino you are only going to lose what you have in your pocket.  At work you can lose your job, which means not only everything you have in your pocket now, but also everything you will have until you find another job. 

This week’s message in a nutshell is this: always, ALWAYS, give yourself a boost by working with the Unseen World.  Carry a lucky charm or a mojo hand, burn a candle for success, whisper a Psalm, say a prayer.  Go ahead and be superstitious.  But don’t be compulsive or let it limit you.  Rather, use it to focus your intention and attention and attraction.  Use your unseen work to expand your possibilities into the World of Potentials.

Good Luck Always,

Reverend Jim

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Sermon #2 – Know & Believe

Knowledge and Belief

What is difference between what you know and what you believe?  If your answer is “Nothing!” I congratulate you on your faith.  You can stop reading now.  However, if you sense that there may be a qualitative difference between the two, please read on for one possible explanation… 

Knowledge and belief are similar in that they are both forms of information we use to relate to the world. Often the difference is that knowledge exists in the Seen World and belief in the Unseen World.  There are many types of knowledge and belief, but we will look at scientific knowledge and religious belief as examples of these two types of information.

Scientific knowledge is often held up as the finest kind of knowledge we have because of its usefulness, reproducibility and predicative ability.  We use it to manipulate materials and processes in the Seen World.  We use this knowledge to make bombs or build cathedrals, to manipulate DNA or program a computer. 

Within the sciences, chemistry, biology, physics and so on, most professionals have a body of information that they largely agree upon.  For example: the elements have periodic properties, AGCT are the main bases of DNA, and E=mc2.  Basic scientific knowledge is applied by engineers who also have agreed upon core bodies of knowledge.  Two circuit boards may vary in design and function but both use the same principles and similar components. 

However, the accepted core of scientific knowledge does not represent truth.  It merely represents the best explanations we currently have.  Knowledge is constantly evolving as people work to expand and refine it.  They test bold new theories and hypotheses and refine old ones.  Because it is only an approximation of truth, all scientific knowledge does share one property.  That is one way to recognize scientific knowledge: it must be able to be proven false.  That is how new information replaces the old – by proving it is a more fitting explanation.  Knowledge can also be reinforced as valid when new tests are unable to prove it false. 

Most beliefs, on the other hand, can never be definitively proven false.  Belief in a particular God, or beliefs in the innate goodness, or evil, of man are concepts that can be tested time and again and always there is room for truth and falsity alike.  Different people can hold contradictory beliefs and neither one can prove the other is wrong.  This is because in the Unseen World all possibilities exist.

Religious and spiritual beliefs in particular have many highly developed systems, often rivaling science in complexity.  We are filled with the Holy Spirit, ridden by the Lwa or possessed by Satan.  Spirits of the dead exist in various Heavens, Hells and Summerland too.  We are ruled by angry Gods, kind Gods, or indifferent Gods – or we rule them.  The range of human belief is overwhelming in its vastness.

What is the purpose of all of this?  We especially tend to use belief in the face of uncertainty when our knowledge is inadequate.  We see death and want to know what lies beyond.  Or perhaps chance steps into our life and delivers a painful blow.  We see or feel the suffering and want to know why it exists and how to relieve it.  We feel there must be a purpose to our existence, but what could it be?  Beliefs can answer all of these questions and more.  Not only that, each of these questions can be answered in thousands of ways.  Not one of them is false and all can be respected.

So, one way to discern the difference between knowledge and belief is to ask these questions – how can this be tested and proven false? How can it be improved? It is very important to be able to tell the difference because many people will label their beliefs as knowledge, and that is not only untrue, it can be dangerous.  Making ridiculous claims and passing them off as ancient/secret/hidden knowledge is especially prevalent in the occult world.  I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but if the “Yaqui way of knowledge” was actually real knowledge we would all be brujos by now.  Some people, however, may certainly use the Yaqui system of belief to their own satisfaction and that is to be respected.  If the ancient knowledge of the adept must be practiced only a certain way and can’t be tested and improved upon it’s likely belief rather than knowledge. 

This is not a suggestion to abandon all belief; because belief helps us understand the Unseen World and help us function there.  Rather, this is a message of hope and freedom.  Belief can be accepted or rejected without fear or penalty, without karmic retribution or fiery damnation.  You are free to choose your own beliefs and to change them as it serves your needs.

All of this, of course, begs the further question: what is true and how shall we know the truth?  It may be that there is a continuum that stretches from wild belief to mathematical certainty and most of the information we have is somewhere in between.  Information can move along that continuum in either direction as our experience deepens.  Beliefs can become knowledge only to later be modified or abandoned.  It is natural and fitting that we change our beliefs and our knowledge as we grow.  Truth may be absolute, but our knowledge of it seems to be relative.

This week’s message in a nutshell is: learn to tell the difference between knowledge and belief.  Do not be afraid to believe, or to test your beliefs or even to abandon your beliefs.  But then find new beliefs, because belief will help you navigate the Unseen World and deal with uncertainty.  To reject knowledge is unwise, but to accept belief that does not serve your purpose is just as bad.  And to mistake belief for knowledge is even worse.

Good Luck Always,

Reverend Jim

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Sermon #3 – What Is Magic?

What Is Magic?

Many people quote Aleister Crowley’s definition: “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”.  Crowley elaborates on this definition with a number of postulates and illustrations, which serve to make his definition seem almost scientific.  However, it only works if you wish to include scratching your posterior because it itches, or removing unwanted mucous from your nostril as Magick. As satisfying as these activities are, I personally do not consider them Magick. In fact, most of what Crowley defines as “Magick” would simply be called “doing something” by plain folks.   This definition makes Magick seem overly effective because it includes all of the obvious and proven methods of doing anything.

So both Magic, (dropping the “k”), and plain old “doing something” cause Change to occur in conformity with Will.  However, Magic differs from other ways of getting things done.  Specifically, it uses supernatural means and methods – ways of doing things that cannot be tested by scientific methods.  Magic uses the forces of the Unseen World to influence the Seen World.  The spirit world, demons and angels, the power of roots, spells and incantations – these are the tools of Magic.   

I propose this much narrower definition of Magic: “the use of supernatural methods and materials to accomplish goals”.  This definition includes most methods of hoodoo, shamanism, sorcery, witchcraft and so on but it does not include those of biology, pharmacology or electrical engineering.  In fact, Magic does not include any method that uses accepted principles of cause and effect either currently elucidated or testable by the scientific method.  Only the supernatural qualifies.

Perhaps one reason Crowley formulated his definition as he did was because he wanted to be able to point out obvious examples of effective Magic.  Understandable, considering that using our narrower definition it is impossible to prove a single instance of effective Magic!  In fact, if you had just one bit of Magic that worked reliably you could win the famous Randi Prize, claim the $1,000,000 reward and gain global renown.  But wait a minute Rev. Jim – you wonder – isn’t this the Church of Good Luck?  Aren’t you a Reverend, a Doctor of Divinity and a Certified Practitioner of Hoodoo?  Why do you devote yourself to something that doesn’t work?

Here is the thing – there is a very big difference between “not proven to work” and “doesn’t work”.  Let’s go back to last week’s sermon and the difference between knowledge and belief: knowledge can always be proven false, while belief cannot be proven false or true. Magic is the method of belief.  It is belief put into action to gain results in both the Seen and Unseen Worlds.  As such, Magic can neither be proven true nor false. 

Magic is the method of divination, the tarot and I-Ching, the spirit communication and the séance.  Magic is the method of folk belief: the evil eye that sours the cow’s milk, the fertility rite that guarantees the harvest, the water nymph that calls the fisherman.  Magic is the method of superstition: the rabbit’s foot in the pocket, the lucky lottery work out, the mojo bag.  Magic is the method of religion: the transubstantiation of wafers into the body of Christ, the exorcism of demons and the forgiveness of sins.  Perhaps an even more suitable definition of Magic is: “belief put into action”.

So, like belief, Magic is way to work with the uncertainties of the Unseen World, a way to cope with cruel Fate, a way to focus energy on creative solutions to our daily problems.  Many practitioners of Magic will attest to the benefits and positive results they have gained from their practice.  Perhaps it makes a problem look more manageable and allows a solution to be devised.  Or maybe the focus outside the self provides a fresh perspective.  Sometimes just the aesthetic experience of working with potions and incense is so enjoyable it lifts the spirit. And maybe sometimes, just maybe, a miracle occurs.

This week’s message in a nutshell:  put your beliefs into practice!  Depending on what you believe, that may mean conversing with your Holy Guardian Angel, saving a soul through prayer, or doing a honey jar spell.  Whatever it may be, have faith, be open to results and most of all – enjoy it.  Become a Magician and work with Unseen Forces!  Anyone can do it, too – how awesome is that?

Good Luck Always.

Reverend Jim

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Sermon #4 – The Master Key

The Master Key

Who doesn’t love the Master Key?  It’s been used for decades and has been the subject of many wonderful books of hidden lore by Gamache, de Laurence, Haanel and others.  Mysterious symbols have their own gravitational fields that draw you in by generating fascination and wonder, a sense of the unknown and a promise of hidden knowledge.  Symbols represent meanings.  Many symbols contain information organized in a hierarchical manner that allows a variety of communications depending on the level of knowledge and belief of the individual.  The Master Key, in particular, represents a key that can be used to unlock meanings.  In fact, the Master Key is like a meta-symbol: it is used to unlock the understanding contained within other symbols. 

The secret of the Master Key was introduced in Sermon #1 about the Worlds of the Seen and Unseen. To recap: there are two basic worlds – the Unseen World where all possibilities exist (the World of Potentials) and the Seen World, which is the physical universe we experience.  

Since the Unseen World contains all possibilities, there have been many systems devised to help people understand and work with it.  These systems often describe a world of undifferentiated material or energy that works its way through the process of becoming physical matter.  This is sometimes described as the act of creation whereby God makes the world. 

An example is Kabbalah, where the Tree of Life symbolizes the ten emanations that begin with Kether (the will of God) and flow downward to Malkuth (the Kingdom of this universe).  Another example is the Chakras, which illustrate the movement of energy through seven centers of the body, with Sahasrara at the top of the head representing pure consciousness or nirvana, and Muladhara near the anus representing Earth or physical existence.  Many systems speak of the Seven Rays or Seven Days to describe the process of creation.  Other systems have specific Gods or Spirits who each rule aspects of the Unseen World such as the land of the dead or the intersections between worlds.  All of these systems are symbolic descriptions that provide information on the geography and processes of the Unseen World.  Of course this is not to suggest that the Gnostic Pleroma is the equivalent of Nirvana.  Since the Unseen contains all possibilities there are many different approaches that are only equivalent in the respect that each is valid.

Each system has symbols that can have complex, multi-layered meanings.  These symbols can be used to categorize phenomena to help understand it and work with it.  Examples include the cards of the Tarot, the signs, planets and houses of astrology, the veves of Voodoo, cosmograms and talismans of all sorts.  These provide the maps and diagrams of the Unseen. 

Often the systems that provide these symbolic maps also provide a set of practices that help the initiate learn to navigate the Unseen World.  The practices of yoga, ceremonial magic, meditation, prayer, fasting and so on engage the mind, body and emotions to provide experience in working with the Unseen.

Since Luck represents our experience of interacting with the unknown, we can benefit by studying these symbolic systems.  In fact, most of the methods used to influence Luck are intended to work in the Unseen Worlds.  We knock on wood to distract the tree spirit from interfering, or we cross our fingers when we lie so that it may be easily undone.  More complex systems of action such as hoodoo reach deep into the Unseen world to forge magical links that can provide unseen influence on another person, or work with the spirits of the dead to protect or harm, or use the spirit of a root to tip the odds in favor of a gambler. 

It is suggested that everyone interested in influencing Luck learn at least one traditional system for working with the Unseen.  Understanding the principles, symbols and practices of such a system will provide a basis for attempting to alter the balance of Luck in your favor.

In a nutshell:  the Master Key is a symbol of the key to understanding the Unseen World.  Understanding the Unseen and how to work it is the goal of religion and occult practice.  The study and practice of these traditional systems offers an important avenue to influencing Luck. 

Good Luck Always,

Rev. Jim 

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Sermon #5 – Our Mission

We have a Mission Statement!

In recent years, it seems, every organization has developed the all-consuming, over-arching need to have a Mission Statement.  Fortunately our goals have always been clearly stated on our Home Page: “to help people to increase their Good Fortune, to protect the Good Luck they have and to decrease any bad luck that may be troubling them”.   This can be summarized into a three word Mission Statement – to increase happiness.

We have discussed bit about the differences between the Seen and the Unseen, science and magic and belief and knowledge.  I have recommended that each person develop their own beliefs and learn to use religion, magic, symbols and so on.  This week we will discuss why it is important for you to do this, as it is nothing less than a key to happiness.

The Unseen World is the source of both great joy and great sorrow.  Our interactions with Luck, Fate and Fortune are key determinants of our happiness.  In fact, Luck has a disproportionately large effect on our happiness or sorrow when compared to the cause and effect of the Seen World.  If we know the exact causes of our suffering, it somehow lessens the pain compared to the times when we can only ask “Why me?”  And the unexpected pleasure is often even more delicious than the good we know is rightfully ours. 

Having a belief system provides specific ways to relate to the Unknown, and you can use your beliefs to increase your happiness in many ways.  For example, you can practice ways to improve your Luck directly.  Or, your beliefs can help you deal with misfortune as well.  If you share beliefs with others they can serve as the basis for a social network.  Above all, when faced with the discomfort and dangers of the Unseen World, beliefs can provide the explanations we humans crave, an avenue to control the forces of Fortune and a framework to accept the outcomes of Fate.  Of course happiness is never guaranteed, but even when faced with crushing misfortune our beliefs can at least give us the dignity to remain unbowed.  The most damaging effect of the Unknown is the creation of fear, and belief is a weapon we can use to conquer that fear.

Keep in mind that each path, each religion, each system of belief is one of thousands of valid ways to understand and work with the Unseen.  If our experience reinforces our beliefs, then our faith in them grows.  Likewise, if our belief is overwhelmed by adversity we can come to doubt our faith. Even the deepest faith can experience doubt, as Jesus’ words of anguish on the cross show. 

If there were only one true path we would have all gravitated to it by now.  This is essentially what has happened with Science.  Metaphysics has actually gone the other direction, with more paths available than ever before.  Many people hold that all religions are simply roads that all end up at the same place.  This is itself a valid, but not necessarily true belief.

So today we have more choices than ever, to learn and experience any of hundreds of systems of belief.  It is more and more common for people to learn about several religions, undergo multiple initiations or study numerous forms of magical practice.  In fact, it’s quite uncommon today for a person to practice the same beliefs for an entire lifetime Even the mythical “Soccer Mom” may have be confirmed in a Christian church, take a few years of yoga lessons, and pay several visits to a chiropractor, Reiki practitioner, or psychic and so on.  This allows even more flexibility when a person is faced with doubt and maximizes the chances for successful, harmonious outcomes.

So this week’s recommendation is to learn additional belief systems that appeal to you and seem to fit with your being.  Am I recommending that you become a dilettante, flitting from one fashionable belief system to the next?  That’s OK by me – as long as the Church of Good Luck takes a turn as your belief system du jour.  Seriously though, please take some time and really learn and work with each system.  More time spent and attainment of a deeper understanding are signs that you are on a path that is right for you.

In a nutshell:  The Mission of The Church of Good Luck is to Increase Happiness!  Learn and use multiple belief systems to increase your chances of success.

Good Luck Always,

Rev. Jim

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Sermon #6 – Magic Works?

Does Magic Really Work? (and if so how?)

Once again this week, by popular demand, we begin with another opportunity for you to avoid having to read the sermon!  Ask yourself this question: Does magic really work?  If your answer is “absolutely not!” you can skip the rest.  In fact you can probably skip this website entirely and just go on over to  I’m only kidding – you are welcome to stay and even send me comments telling me why I’m wrong. 

OK – for the rest of you who think that “obviously magic works” or “maybe…sometimes…I hope it works” you need to read this whole sermon – no skipping to the nutshell at the end and pretending you read it either.

I’ve been preaching to you now about how you should learn some sort of religious or magical beliefs.  I’ve even told you to learn more than one belief.  And I’ve told you to actually practice some of it – not just book-learn it.  Gee – I’m pretty demanding, huh?  I actually doubt anyone has done any of this because I advised it, but just in case you are thinking about it, you may be asking the question “now why does Rev. Jim want me to do all this stuff?”  You may have noticed that I claim it has benefits, like increasing happiness or making you Luckier.  Or at least making it easier to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, in the words of the Immortal Bard.  But still you may ask, “Why would learning and doing those things help?”

I can almost guarantee that if you practice magic you will get results.  Notice I said “almost” guarantee and how I did not specify what kind of results.  You may also remember that I said in Sermon #3 that “it is impossible to prove a single instance of effective Magic!”  So how is it that magic ever got off square one, let alone developed into a thousand elaborate systems of practice? The reason is because that is how we are made, how we function, how we are wired. 

We have evolved for survival and most of our adaptations derive from the tens of thousands of years our ancestors spent on the plains and jungles of Africa.  Our brains were taught not to worry too much about if it was a real tiger, or some neighbor wearing a tiger skin or even a clay and straw effigy of a tiger – just run!  The cost of standing still and figuring it out and weighing the available options was too great.  We would be eaten before we came to a rational decision.  So the image and the reality are essentially the same in our brains. 

So too we make judgments about many things based on less than perfect knowledge and some of these rules have become magical precepts.  An example is the way we mix correlation with causation.   For instance we get angry with our friend and he takes ill.  We then think we may have caused the illness.  Our minds are constantly seeking patterns because our survival for centuries depended on such things distinguishing the way grass waves in the wind from the way grass moves when a predator is lurking. 

Our ancestors refused certain unclean foods, and contact with lepers was taboo, long before germ theory was developed.  This hard wired belief in contagion can be seen operating in the “magical link” that allows a spell to reach its target.  These are just a few examples of ways that we have evolved to meet the demands of living in an unpredictable and dangerous world. 

Of course our world today may appear tamer, but it is not.  In fact, it is much wilder than life for our ancestors ever was.  The sheer volume of information we are exposed to overwhelms the instinctual strategies we have to figure out what is important and what to do about it.  The complexity of the modern world is too much for us who were born to live and die in a small area with a small band of humans faced with a small number of possible circumstances.  Luck today is way bigger and there is a lot more of it than ever before.  This is true for both Good Luck and bad, so the pursuit of happiness is more fragile than ever.

That is why the need for belief and for magical and religious practice is so great.  It is our refuge in the storm and the antidote to our fear.  It allows us to connect to the natural ways and use our natural wiring and the gifts we were born with. 

In a nutshell: yes, magic works.  It must work, because if it didn’t the burden of Luck would be too much for our poor selves to bear.

Good Luck Always,

Rev. Jim

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Sermon # 7 – Try Again!

Try Again!

TRY!  That is the sublime motto of the immortal Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph.  It was given to him as a child by the spirit of his dear departed mother who told him: “Let thy motto be – Try! Despond not, but ever remember that how bitter soever our lot may be, that despite it all WE MAY BE HAPPY YET!”

He describes this motto in more detail in the introduction to his book Ravelette: “All Rosicrucians are practical men who believe in progress, law and order, and in self-development.  They believe that God helps those that try to help themselves; and consequently adopt as the motto of the Order the word TRY, and they believe that this little word of three letters may become a significant bridge over which a man may travel from bad to better and from better to best – from ignorance to knowledge, from poverty to wealth and from weakness to power.” 

In short, “TRY!” is a magical formula to increase happiness, the very mission of the Church of Good Luck.  But what we know of Fate and Fortune shows that the “sure thing” is never sure and sometimes the “long shot” is the winner.  That is because, by and large, we live in a world of small numbers.  Think of the dice.  We know that 7 will come up more often than 2.  But if you only roll the dice a couple of times you really can get anything.  The odds against rolling a 7 on a single throw are actually 5 to 1 and we know “snake eyes” can and do come up.  But if you roll the dice many times 7 will come up much more often than 2. 

In many things in life we have to deal with very small numbers, so our results can really get skewed.  For instance most people only ever have a few “real jobs”.  We know that chance and luck play a major role in the success of any business,and even more so for the individuals in the business.  Sometimes a person with a lot of ability will not succeed while another person of much lesser ability does.  Over a large number of people, or a large number of jobs, ability will tend to triumph over incompetence, but that is not ours to experience. We may be stuck in a dead-end job with a nincompoop for a boss, or we may find ourselves in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, asking ourselves “how did I get here?”

Well, how DO we “get there”?  What can we do to increase happiness?  In order to overcome the effect of small numbers we need to make the number of trials larger.  The first thing is to “TRY!” but if that is not successful we may need to TRY AGAIN!  This is especially true if you are attempting to obtain a rare result, like writing a successful book, discovering a useful invention, or uncovering a scientific breakthrough.  But even the simplest success is often beyond our initial grasp.

Every failed attempt, every unsuccessful TRY is worthwhile because we can learn from it and then TRY AGAIN.  If we came close in our attempt we may simply TRY AGAIN…and AGAIN until we succeed.  Sometimes we can use what we’ve learned to improve our next attempt – so we TRY AGAIN with something better.  Even if we need to abandon our approach completely we still need to TRY AGAIN, but with a totally different approach. 

At its most basic level, every TRY is an action that reaches into the Unseen world, the World of Possibilities, and manifests results in the Seen World.  We do not know in advance if we will succeed or fail, it is only by making the attempt that the result becomes visible.  Each roll of the dice, each new project, each day’s work are all about taking the unknown and making it known. TRY AGAIN is one strategy that can help produce the results you desire.

Some folks say there’s no such thing as Luck – only statistical probabilities we don’t understand.  The fact is, however, rare things happen ALL THE TIME!  Even a nincompoop can succeed if he tries often enough, so just think what a talented person like you can do – if you will only TRY AGAIN!  Lady Luck does exist and one way to win her favor is to keep trying.In a nutshell: the new motto of the Church of Good Luck is: “TRY AGAIN!” 

Good Luck Always,

Reverend Jim

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