Tim Tebow is a failure…
Joe Paterno is a failure…
…was David unsuccessful?
I have willed myself to refrain from blogging about the Tim Tebow craze until the recent death of Joe Paterno. And although, on the surface, the connection between the two individuals is linked merely to college football….I believe there is more.
Tim Tebow is a failure.
I think my greatest reasons for being Anti-Tebow (which is not synonymous with being Anti-Christ or having a sense of “embarrassment” when it comes to my Christianity despite what Rick Warren would express), is simply because of the Christianity in which it projects: God blesses the good and curses the bad; that God has favorites. Or maybe worse that football actually matters to God. To quote my dearest friend pointing at a charity water advertisement,
"To hell with sports! Give those dying kids some food for Gods sake! How about we refuse to pay athletes and use that money to feed the world and stop world hunger."
More appropriately stated, these “Tebow-mania” thoughts and ideas fall under the umbrella of conventional wisdom. Participants of this thinking are those who enjoy “Proverbs of the day” and “Blessings to remember”. Speaking on behalf of the Biblical narrative and to quote Walter Bruggemann, “This is the reason for the ‘counter testimony’ in Ecclesiastes, Job, and Lamentations”. All these “other texts” point toward a very fluid and mysterious God who cannot be defined within systems and ideals; who apparently causes all…..for all….despite what one is doing. (Sure sure find the other texts that support faithfulness and blessing….but these are not formulas). The core issue is not within Tebow himself, but within his followers. They are positioning themselves like Aaron as they throw their metals and golds into the fire in order to form an image of something that is not “the main thing”.
Separated by centuries we still surrender to the urge of fashioning ourselves idols. And all idols break at some point.
And so we assume the position. We Tebow. And we exalt Christianity through a man (which according to my records has already and appropriately been done before through the person of Jesus).
But I am worried.
What happens when Tebow gets a girl pregnant out of wedlock? Or what do we do when he decides to support same-sex-marriages? Or maybe we find out he supports Barak Obama or enjoys watching Jersey Shore. What then? What happens when Tebow becomes………..well……David (see Bathsheba for further explanation).
Joe Paterno is a failure.
It’s amazing how one incident can overshadow an entire lifespan and how in our own lives we are offended by the similar treatment…
"But look at everything else I have done!"
The greatest college football coaches death is marred by scandal. The scandal suffocates the past like a young boy blowing out all 7 of his birthday candles. The fire is gone…and all that is left is the memory of what has faded away. Sadly, a good majority of Paterno-followers were too young to experience Paterno in his prime. This means the lasting image of Joe Pa is of a weary old man getting axed and fighting a fatal disease. But there is power in memory.
I sure has heck hope God isn’t the same way. I’d like to think he views the entirety of who I am….like he did David, a man after Gods own heart. Did David ever get “there”? Did the throbs within Gods heart match Davids at any point? Or did David fail…fail chasing. Was his sons rape of his daughter the lasting image of his Kingship? Would his descendants echo the same voice of our culture today:
"I can’t follow that type of man! I thought better of him! He should’ve known! Those were his duties!"
Was David unsuccessful?
Of course he was…because being human IS being unsuccessful, if by unsuccessful you mean being “perfect” and “complete”. By this definition, that is often presupposed, no one is. No one is ever successful by being perfect. But all are successful by being imperfect.
We all fall. Which means we all have the ability to rise.
And this is the power of resurrection.
One day when I have children…
I would love to walk into the living room and see my little boy “Tebowing”; for finding someone who is worthy to look up to. I would likewise enjoy the times where we will sit and read the biblical story of David and how he slain Goliath, followed Saul, and how he had a great bond with Jonathan…a true friend. But we’d get to the messy parts too: Bathsheba and Amnon…Solomon and so on. And he’d turn the channel one day and witness another scandal toward someone he looked up too. And in both, I’d introduce him to heroes: The chasers. The unsuccessful. The limited. The frauds The ever-changing. The inconsistent.
Then I’d point him toward Jesus…
"Now this guy here…he’s quite the dude."
"Who is he with daddy?"
"…a bunch of failures. Failures like me."
"Hey! Do you remember me from rec-league basketball?!", she said with an excited expression on her face. [September 2000]
High School is always a period of time of “becoming” and launching-off into the great unknown. Four years you work towards “getting out” and finally “becoming” your own individual. It’s only later, when you are much older, wiser, and have experienced the highs and lows of post-high school and post-college that the reality of life settles in: Life is a mystery.
But who doesn’t love a mystery?
Mystery allures us and brings us closer and closer, until we finally come to some sort of conclusion. But life insists on being “ultimately unsolvable”. It is a constant question for which we seek to find a single answer for…and instead are left with many. It is a constant mystery that continues to draw us closer and often leaves us with no “answer”. Love being the greatest. We live to love.
And after 15+ years from first meeting this young, Portuguese, girl on the basketball court of our childhood…
I found myself, at the age of 25, watching a high school basketball game as she approached me from afar with a tender smile and a subtle wave. I always remembered her eyes…as if they changed from a green to blue and back again, sometimes settling for a combination that may create a soft, gray tone to them. But more than color, they always were an honest window into who she was, reflecting exactly what her name means: Sarah. Princess.
I sat for a couple of hours hearing her stories, her dreams, her accomplishments; embracing the sweet sounds of nostalgia as we discussed old friends, old places, and old dreams. Our conversation carried over into our current settings, and current revelations that we are now very much old-er. And as the players on the court were demanding my attention, she was all I could focus on.
Her presence became a mirror…her voice an echo. Someone else, a friend, who was also 25, was very much in my very own position. To add to the mystique, she even wore a brown leather jacket like mine. As we sat side-by-side, it was as if we were “together”. A togetherness that wasn’t marked by a long going relationship that had never been broken. No. Instead a togetherness of mutuality that felt almost familial. We had come from the same grounds, though not entirely. And here we were in the same place…at the same time…with the same story: life is a mystery…love being the greatest.
"I bet in 2.5 to 3 years you will be engaged…", I said to her.
She laughed and said, “OK Mr. Cleo. We will see.”
And heck, I could be wrong. In fact, I could be WAY wrong. Only time will tell. But who wouldn’t want a girl who owns a house, has a stable job, is a bit of a nerd, and likes sports?! (This, of course, excluding her physique and the fact she’s beautiful).
It was the easiest bet I could ever make.
After all, why bet against a Princess? I just felt good being the guy next to her at the game! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to walk with that type of pride.
We walked out the gym appreciative of our encounter, and like usual, I left feeling as if I should’ve said or done more; as if this one-time encounter wasn’t quite “finished”. I’m not sure what that means but I do know that a simple conversation with an old-friend meant the world to me. It reminded me of who I am and where I am going. And that there are those who are with me…even in distance.
And maybe most importantly I was reminded that life is a story; that life is cyclical…or as she put it "comes in waves".
That the next wave is on it’s way.
And if not for me, certainly for her. And if not the wave or way we expect it, certainly a current that will crash us against the shores of our destiny; not leaving us stranded, but rather right where we need to be.
"Next time you’re in Vero, let me know!", Sarah said as we embraced and broke apart.
"I will. I promise"
Basketball brought us together once. And basketball brought us together again…
I can only hope there are more games to be played.
”The church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves.” — The Holy Longing
The Gungor Album was recently released and each song sings my soul.
But it has been “Ezekiel” (check out the lyrics!) that will not leave me. Not simply because of its rhythmic genius…but because of its story. A man (YHWH) willing to invest in the dead, worthless, abandoned, forsaken and ugly woman (Israel). A woman who eventually becomes beautiful. But hear beauty fades in the light of promiscuity. Naked she roams. Sex she offers. She forgets of who she once was.
And I find myself “feeling Ezekiel” (16).
Investing in one whose love is unreturned.
And the questions loom, “Is the investment worth it?”
"Who is at fault? The individual for investing or the individual who receives that which has been forcefully invested?"
Abused and shattered.
Distance unnoticed in the matter.
Love breaks, one stroke creates its splatter.
Canvassed dreams fall beneath the echoes of regret.
You broke my heart…
…I broke my heart.
Because I believed.
Now…to what do I believe?
Broken or mendable.
Broken or Mendable.
Broken or mendable.
Come back my love…
Jerome complains about heretical preachers: “They persuade the people that what they invent is true; then, in a theatrical manner, they invite applause and shouting.” — Shiner “Proclaiming the Gospel” (via christopherabel)
My Classroom Wall Part II: Proverbs 7-9 (Woman Folly)
My Classroom Wall Part I: Proverbs 7-9 (Woman Wisdom)
Dance. Worship. Melanie Moore.