uh-oh, they’re on to us

Interesting article in USA Today that is also a current blog topic at the New York Times.  Of course, the madness began the night that Tim Tebow passed over and ran through his fellow Christian Jim Tressel’s Ohio State defense.  I knew nothing good could come of that.

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  1. From the article: “But Jesus’ representatives in sports aren’t just practicing faith. They are also leveraging sports’ popularity to promote a message and doctrine that are out of sync with the diverse communities that support franchises, and with the unifying civic role that we expect of our teams. … making and acting on rigid claims about who is or isn’t in good standing with God … is working at cross purposes with the majority of Americans — indeed, the majority of American Christians — and their more generous conception of salvation.”

    Thank you, Mr. Krattenmaker, for reminding us that we should choose our savior the same way we choose our American Idol – by popular vote. To his credit, Krattenmaker does admit that “far-right” missionaries are acting out of “altruism,” but it doesn’t seem that he actually understands the beliefs and practices of believers like the Tebows, despite the fact that he has “researched and thought about Christianity in sports for the better part of a decade.”

    Truth is truth, whether it is popular or not. Jesus certainly didn’t apologize for offending people (John 6, anyone?), and we, as his followers, should likewise be willing to offer an offensive, exclusive gospel to a world that deperately needs to hear it, whether it makes the opinion writers at USA Today comfortable or not.

  2. Mike,

    Not that I am much of a sports fan, but the article is a great example of the tolerance we are expected to show in the name of pluralism. It even reminds me of another legislative example. When in the legislature, each legislative session was opened with prayer, either by a legislator or by their guest pastor. We sat respectfully through all sorts of bizarre examples of prayer, from new age types to poetic expressions of romance that could make one blush. Because these prayers were always entered in the the daily House Journal, whenever I was asked to pray I deliberately incorporated Scripture into the prayer, in part so that it would become part of the permanent record of state proceedings. Nevertheless, the so-called defenders of tolerance could often be overheard complaining anytime someone mentioned the name of Christ in their petition. One year the clerk’s office made the mistake of asking me to give the invocation on the first of April. After quoting Ps. 14:1, I took the liberty of weaving in a little humor. I closed the prayer by asking God to protect us from our own inclinations, and then quoted Eccl. 10:2, “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” (NIV) That prayer made it across the AP wire services, and I even received a copy of it from the Arkansas Gazette.

  3. HA! Too bad the romantic poem prayer wasn’t also an April Fool’s joke.

  4. It was some of the comments on the blog you linked to that got my dander up…. to the point I had to leave a comment there pointing to the hypocrisy at work… …

    But Mike, more to the point; is how the “Chrisitan” sports hero feeds into a cultural evangelicalism, in contrast to authentic spiritual Biblical evangelicalism. I will be forever greatfull for the campus ministry God used to call me to Himself, but one of the weak points of that evangelism was a tendency to exhalt the latest campus “Chrisitan sports hero”…. I know the sports heros need Christ just as much as the nobodies… and I have not followed Tebow enough to know how he has or has not used his fame as a platform for “witnessing”…

    But back to the article you linked to… I’m not so sure they are “on to us”… They think they are, but from what I can see, they are pretty wide of the mark…. note the trigger word “coerce” used in one of the comments…..

    Peace…

  5. Interesting that when Christians do this (and I’m not even going to address whether or not this is the best or even a viable way of engaging in evangelism) it is propaganda or manipulation, but a number of entertainers from other faiths are celebrated for wearing their faith on their sleeve.

    Check out this NPR article on rapper Brother Ali:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113504052

  6. Jonathan Shelley October 19, 2009 — 9:26 am

    Jack:

    That is hilarious. Thank you for sharing that story.

  7. Jonathan,

    My pleasure. One of the dangers of politics is taking yourself too seriously. That’s why I am now a recovering politician. I assume God has a sense of humor as well.

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