Ladies and Gentlemen, some time after Martin Luther, for lack of a Comments box, nailed a few complaints (ninety-five to be exact) to a door, and the Protestants used the Protestant Reformation to reform, a guy named John Calvin (for whom my favorite comic strip character is named) decided that only so many people were getting into heaven and those who were going to Heaven were already chosen. It was an idea called predestination. Essentially (to oversimplify a complex religious concept) that it doesn't matter what you do, God has already decided before the world even was who would be allowed through those Pearly Gates. Now, sure, that should take some of the burden off of people's minds. After all, fretting about it clearly won't change God's mind. However, there were those who just absolutely had to know if their name was on His Almighty Guest List before trying to show up to the party. The idea was that you could tell who was saved based on how successful they were mortally (again, to draw an oversimplification). After all, why would God allow someone he didn't like to have a highly lucrative business and someone he loved to be poor? So, material wealth and status were taken to be signs that God clearly approved of someone.
Now, what does this history/theocracy lesson have to do with us?
Today, I met hundreds of God's chosen. My place of employment is hosting a poker tournament and a lot of affluent individuals were present. I suspect these people were Chosen because not only were they financially successful, they got to do things like put their cigarettes out on the walls and flick their ashes on the floor when an ash tray is literally six inches away from them. They get to spit and swear and otherwise be socially unacceptable and we bend over backwards to cater to their every whim. The can toss trash onto the floor with their right hand when an identical action with the left would have put it in a trash can. They can squash their cigarettes out on the carpet. They can even chain smoke to the point of having asthmatic coworkers needing paramedics to give them oxygen. Now if that doesn't say, "There must be something really special about me for me to behave like this and not get in any trouble," nothing does.
It was kind of awe-inspiring being in the presence of so many people whose places in Heaven are clearly assured. I suspect, given my endless string of financial difficulties, that I am not on the Holy Guest List. I guess I'm ok with that. God seems to really like selfish jerks anyway, and I can live without spending eternity around them.
You have been informed.