Archive for September, 2014

The NFL’s blind eye and divine healing #NFL #domesticviolence

September 21, 2014

Of course they knew all along. How could anybody not ingest and understand the decades of scattered arrest reports and other public misconduct perpetrated against by women by the NFL’s finest. You would have to be a complete out-and-out moron not to realize that there is a serious problem, except that management did not consider the assault of various wives and girlfriends to be much of a problem. For the men at the top, it’s just another day at the office.

They are damn good at making up excuses too. Boys will be boys. If we ask men to play with intensity, they are going to play with intensity. This is what winners do; they win. And the best of all: most of these women like to be knocked around anyway. Oh yeah, there is nothing quite as fun as an evening at the Emergency Room. A broken nose, some missing teeth. Now tell me. Does life get any better. This stuff is so rich, the guys in charge might actually believe it.

Since I have not played in competitive sports, this is surely an opinion to which I am not entitled. How could one not admitted to the special Sunday afternoon priesthood possibly understand the needs and the pressures. The NFL pretense of ignorance just will not do, especially as we observe the deliberate provocation of violence for the sake of winning and building ad revenue.

It is a good thing to see that the players are (with some exceptions) also knocking each other senseless. Those concussions are making you crazier than you already are. Maybe the brain damage is part of the anti-social conduct. Seriously.

Let’s not fool around with this. The fans are every bit as guilty as the management and long past time for Christian fans of the National Football League to stop supporting the oout-of-control cry babies that are determined to have their way no matter who gets hurt. There are probably some Christian high schools that could even learn a lesson here. The lousy misdeeds of some players is part of man’s rebellion against God.

The physical assault against another human being amounts to vandalism against God’s own icon. Man is created in the image of God and such mistreatment as what is done by the athletes is absolutely forbidden. The second great sin recorded in scripture is Cain’s anger with Able, an evil emotion that led to the first murder. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus forbids anger and speaking harshly about another. That kind of conduct keeps the offender from being heard by God.

That NFL players should not hit women ought to be obvious. They should not hit anybody, nor even give a home to hateful thoughts. Their problem is the very human tendency to believe that the individual is in charge of his own life. It denies the possibility of a higher power working in our lives. It is dangerous to be humble, kind, and generous, but that is what Jesus demands. I have a hard time with that and the only solution is a genuine life-changing repentance. That would demand a gentle manner, turning the other cheek, protecting the weak, and giving up the mega paycheck. What a terrible trap.

And it is not only a few NFL players that must undergo the real change. Each of us, including women, must fight the tendency toward egotism and greed.

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Chaos is the new normal #RayRice #AdrianPeterson #ISIS

September 15, 2014

That headline is probably not new, so if I swiped your intellectual property, I apologize profusely. I should have known better. This short essay deals with NFL players, their spouses and children, and international terrorists. There is a connection, so stick with me.

Is there anyone else on earth who sympathizes with Ray Rice’s wife? Her life is certainly ruined and none of us is able to look inside the mind of another. It is very possible to love someone who does great harm without being mentally ill. God loves us and he is not crazy. Having been knocked senseless in a public place, it is going to be a big task to drum up much understanding for the offending mate.

Even though the Ravens star has been given an economic death penalty, plenty of women experience a real death sentence at the hands of demonic husbands. Did the NFL go to far with Ray Rice? You might make that argument except for decades of turning a blind eye from the rich and powerful business interest. The NFL is saving itself while it punishes some serious misbehavior.

If the troubled couple is really working on saving their marriage, good for them. There are plenty of interests in this society that hate enduring relationships. Without approving the atrocious misdeed, Christians should support all married couples. This particular couple needs extra help and I wish them well.

Another professional athlete has been charged with a criminal offense after switching his four year-old son. If you have not seen the pictures, it is just as well. They would make you sick. The child has struck with such force as to draw blood several times. The pain of this uncontrolled anger was severe. You can’t imagine how much it hurts to be beaten bloody.

Football players are often not held accountable for misdeeds and many (not all) have a sad and undeserved sense of entitlement. Sometimes the pendulum swings to an extreme in another direction. On ESPN’s College Game Day, video was shown in which a prominent coach described his “zero tolerance” policy toward players who strike women.

I dislike all “zero tolerance” arrangements. First of all, there is always a special case for a favored person and the “zero” mark is easily moved. Secondly, despite what genius coaches might think, there are sometimes “shades of gray.” What if both parties share some blame? Also, there is in the law something called the doctrine of fighting words. There are some things people say when they are just asking for it. Third, what about the poor bastard who just happens to be innocent? It happens. Sometimes a person can be falsely accused. How can supposedly educated people preside over a system where there is no, zero, nada for due process. Sorry to be a stickler for such odd and worn-out ideas, but maybe this hard problem needs just a little thought.

There is a much larger thing at work here. How dare anybody lay a hand on another human being. It is bad to harm a woman, and much worse to mercilessly whip a child. Why not pick a fight with one of your teammates. Why not put on the gloves and take a swing at somebody who has been working out every day? That brand of cowardice makes me want to throw up. Worse by many degrees is the mistreatment handed out by ISIS. What kind of people behead their enemies and post the film? There are no words.

These are symptoms of our abandonment of the notion of man as created in the image of God. Man wills, thanks, praises, and givesĀ  thanks. At least that is what man in the proper order does. Man is by nature rebellious but there seems to have previously been a counter-balance to the worst instincts. Now that man has given up on God (the real one who creates,, intervenes, rules, commands, forgives, and loves us enough to come among the fallen humanity) man has departed from beauty, respect, compassion and the optimism that foresees a better world ruled by the King of Kings. That is the disease. What we have in the news are the symptoms.

Middle East horrors and consequences #ISIS #Evangelical #theology

September 5, 2014

The point of an execution is mostly to get people’s attention. It is judicial theater intended to remind the buttered popcorn crowd who is really calling the shots. We in the USA prefer our executions to be quiet and private. Like an old liturgy, the priests put up walls and curtains so as not to disturb the mysterious quality attached to such ceremonies. The people of ISIS have shown more than sensible modern people desire to see and such indiscretion must be punished.

Here is the opinion of a non-professional observer and I am certainly glad to be held accountable if this is seriously awry. The main problem with ISIS is that it cannot be bought off. Yes, I suppose they could be rightly classified as “nuts,” but they are a special type of nut. ISIS consists of a hard-nosed faction that exudes hatred of modern culture and anything that does not adhere to its version of Islam. They despise with such fervor that even an untrained eye suspects that we are seeing that is profoundly dangerous. They are a danger to every country in the region, Europe, Russia, and the United States. China? Why not China too.

Only God knows the solution and we are not on the best of terms with the heavenly court. Nonetheless, the prayers of devout believers are heard on high and are effective in seeking peace and safety. It might also be useful to remember that vengeance is the exclusive work of God and forbidden for mere humans. It is probably a bad idea to extend the vengeance prohibition past personal rivalries. Nobody should expect that a short-term solution such as the old-fashioned “eye for an eye” would do any good with ISIS. These folks are completely unimpressed with anything that attempts to match up to their acts of public butchery.

Things are already out of control and there are real limitations on government retaliation. Nobody should think that this is some sort of positive development that will give Jesus the opportunity to land back here and grab the believers at the very moment they are most needed. The church has been in tribulation since the Roman persecution. John’s epistle tells us that the man of lawlessness has been around since the earliest days. These are hard times, but our mission has not changed. Baptize and make disciples. If we are leading others to a new life in Christ and teaching our faith, that is the best most of us can do.