Philadelphia was under a curse till Wednesday night. The Bible says, "Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set" (Proverbs 22:28), but we went ahead and did it. When I moved to Philadelphia in 1976, it was a town of squat buildings, their noses pressed up against the glass ceiling our fathers had erected-the statue of William Penn atop City Hall. Psychologically impossible to break through.
But like the locked door said to Alice in Wonderland, "Nothing is impossible, just impassible." "First one to tweak Billy Penn's nose is a rotten egg!" That was Liberty Place in 1987, the city's first skyscraper to rise above Penn's head. And Philadelphia's major sports teams haven't had a championship in a quarter of a century.
"Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" ("after this, therefore on account of it") is a classic logical fallacy, but you'll never convince a Phillies fan. Something had to be done to appease the gods. Quick thinking on the part of the builders of the city's current tallest building, the Comcast Center saved the day. Upon completion of construction in 2007, they affixed a figurine of Founding Father Penn to the building's highest point. It's only inches tall, compared to the 975-foot skyscraper, but if the gods aren't too smart it just might work, city planners reasoned.
Well, it did work. Wednesday night only looked like a World Series win; it was salvation. Pitcher Brad Lidge dropped to his knees on the mound. Local sportswriter Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News called it "the hour of redemption."
As a Christian I wondered why God allowed the statue coincidences, which only fuel superstition and lend credence to idolatry. Then I remembered that God not only allows it, he contrives it (Romans 1). But lest I pick too much on unbelievers, let me admit that if I thought about it a minute, I could find bet-hedging gods in my own life.