Posted by: worinld | October 25, 2007

“The Lord’s on MY side.”

‘I will not fear for what can man do unto me.’

So, that’s what Dan said on TUF this week.

Earlier this season, Matt Hughes, one of the coaches passed out bibles to his team. Told them to read Esther, and asked his team who would Matt Hughes be if he were in that story. His answer? He would be Esther because he’s selfless and helps people.

In the major sports, there’s never a shortage of Christians who thank God for their success. Who can’t remember Kurt Warner’s rags to riches story, and how he praised God for that. John Kitna’s comeback from being hit hard during a game, saying that was a miracle. And this year, there seems to be a bit of extra publicity on Paul Byrd, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians (they just lost) who was pitching well, is writing a book. Then, the publicity went bad when the story of his HGH use was ‘leaked‘.

So, all this said…. I’m sure many folks will find it easy to start bashing them, pointing out flaws in their theology, etc. I know I started doing that in my head. I think the general populace of readers here would be in a similar boat (excuse my generalization if I’m wrong.). So, instead of ranting, let’s do something different. I want to be able to understand why they come to these conclusions, instead of simply criticizing their hermeneutics (oh big words). Namely Dan Barrera (not Hughes…he’s.. i dunno, I don’t know what to say to the Esther comparison. and Byrd, if he stumbles, he stumbles. it gets the best of us).

So, watching TUF, this Dan guy is 24 years old, was a soldier in Afghanistan, quit his job as a firefighter to follow this dream, is married, has some horses, and loves quoting scripture. He sees his life as a big test, to get him to success in his dream. He gets hurt during the competition and has to be cleared to even attempt to fight (remember, he quit his job. if he can’t fight, he’s totally screwed… no job, and no chance to win this). He gets cleared, and again, is strong in his faith, because the outcome was what he expected it to be. (spoiler coming if you care).
So, the fight goes, and he actually loses by a horrible decision. it should’ve been tied, but he lost. No cameras.. but the commish comes in and says he’s giving him a 5k bonus because the fight was a great fight, and the judges were stupid.

Watching all this… As much as I worried for a brother who’s theology could crash down on him based on life circumstances, I’m amazed at how God meets people within the framework of understanding. It’s as if God’s validating his view of God, as screwed up as it may look from my POV. And then, I’m humbled.. knowing my framework of who I make God out to be isn’t necessarily any better. Can I be theologically more correct than him? who knows. Is he making an impact on the kingdom, being on the TV show, and showing that God is real, even though the God he’s projecting may not agree with the God I want to project? I have to think he is. And is God revealing Himself to Dan to help him to come closer to God, as God is revealing himself to me so that I can become closer to God? I have to believe that 100%.

so, where’s my fruit? How have I been involved in God’s work to bring my screwed up view of God to others? Or do I simply sit on my couch thinking, what’s wrong with these athletes… they’re totally misusing God. As if I don’t misuse God…. They have an audience, why NOT proclaim Jesus when they have the opportunity. Could it not be for such a time as that that God gave them the gifts that they did?

So, here I am. knowing I don’t get it. what has God given me to further his Kingdom?

(oh, btw, you should be rooting for the Rockies, cuz they’re God’s team.)

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Responses

  1. i can see how you tried to incorporate asimptote’s proposal “to at least begin to see why the other person thinks what they think.” i agree, we should seek to understand where other people are coming from because it does give us a fuller picture of the truth in question. though we don’t necessarily have to agree. but if you don’t agree, shouldn’t that mean you disagree?

    so your answer to “Can I be theologically more correct than him?” being “who knows” leaves me feeling a little unsettled. i think you do have to believe either yes or no because it is actually pretty important to be critical of varying theology. it doesnt mean we sit there bashing their perspectives, but there is value in reading a post that wholeheartedly disagrees with and then dissects an opposing view. saying ‘who knows’ seems to stifle further dialogue on that topic as well.

    2) “And then, I’m humbled.. knowing my framework of who I make God out to be isn’t necessarily any better. ” – i’m inclined to say that it actually IS better (my opinion).. if we’re just comparing it to his view that God’s goodness is measured by circumstances. if someone can grasp God’s goodness on a much wider scale, doesn’t that actually make ministry way more effective even if it’s not being aired on tv? on a sidenote, can you really say that God validates screwed up views of Himself? to THAT, i reply ‘who knows..’

    3) “Is he making an impact on the kingdom, being on the TV show, and showing that God is real, even though the God he’s projecting may not agree with the God I want to project?”

    so what about other groups who profess to be christian trying to make an impact (and definitely do)? jehovah’s witness? sun myung moon and the unification church? mormons? (i’m not trying to attack/offend or equate them by listing them like that, but they are groups who follow religious doctrines that i don’t agree with).

    so are they justified in preaching their versions of God and Christ’s role simply because they have a voice and an audience and people are being converted? i guess i’m just not satisfied with taking the route of thinking about where everyone’s coming from only to blur the lines where opinions conflict, and then concluding with this vague sense of acceptance just as long as everyone’s making an impact.

  2. It’s this never-ending pursuit of absolute truth, that we’re on, but what do we have to measure against to know if we’re in line with that absolute truth?

    on one side, because we know that there is an absolute truth, we have to say, yes… someone is more right than someone else.

    but on the otherside, can I really claim to know God? Can my frail mind comprehend something/someone as vast, deep, incredible, etc as God? Of course I pursue God to know more and more. But my perspective only creates a view of God that only captures a small slice of someone so infinite. So, what if Dan’s perspective is simply another slice of Him (because He is SO big)?

    What makes it difficult is that there HAS to be something that I can hold onto. And there, I HAVE to claim that the gospel is indeed … concrete and truth (and there can be tons of arguments of what exactly is the gospel message), but let’s say that that is indeed something we ALL can hold onto. after that, what really makes my view better? is it because I’m smarter? or I think that I’m more spiritual? is it because I agree with some really cool/great christian leaders? Ultimately, beyond the gospel, I “use” scripture to convey to me what truth is. My culture, experience, etc translates those words into a framework of who I can understand who God is, and then find how that applies/impacts my life (of course, the negative effect is that I do indeed put God into a box). And if that’s really what i’m doing… are they really more than convictions? truth is truth – applicable to everyone, but convictions are personal.
    So, what becomes difficult to decipher is where is the line between truth and conviction?

  3. To the post: real good post. Sorry the Rockies lost. Detroit’s definitely a weirdly Christianized NFL team, but I’m sorry, I’ll never root for them over the Bears.

    To the dialog happening in the comments: I have to agree that our contexts color and translate what we know and don’t know. I agree with Prisca that there is something recognizable about truth when we see it, but I agree with worinld in the sense that we can’t put a barometer on that in terms “I know it better” or “His theology is worse”.

    One quick note too: public figures declaring Christianity publicly is always a danger because their private lives are always on display. But that “danger”, I hope, can be an advantage to stun the world not only with righteous living and passion in faith, but also with the fallenness and brokenness of sinful nature. It’s not the goodness of God that we’re the best at demonstrating; it’s the neediness for that goodness and its redeeming qualities that are most displayed in our lives.


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