I am taking a one week hiatus on "Honyak Living" because I just have to say something. I can't hold it in anymore; I am sorry, I seem to have this uncontrollable venting problem as of late. As I have been driving to and from work, I have been turning on sports talk and I am not doing this to catch up on the latest sports scores or fantasy update. In fact, I stink at fantasy, nothing will help my pathetic team. Not even a Hail-Mary pass from Doug Flutie.
You see, I am a pastor. As a pastor I am interested in the human interest stories that have been analyzed and talked to death in the last year; the plot lines mostly focus on the overwhelming train-wrecks our sports heroes have become. I especially enjoy getting the take on these stories from the opinions of the "regular guys" on sports talk. It is quite an educational experience as they try to make sense out of the social issues of the day. On sports talk you don't get psychologists or the trained experts that spout their ivy-league analytical drivel; but rather you hear from real everyday red blooded Americans that speak the same language as the average person in the pew.
The benefit of this is that real people rarely filter their thoughts before letting them spill out of their mouth. I find this both refreshing and incredibly frustrating all at the same time.
And for the last year, the main topics of conversation have swirled around two main items: domestic violence and child abuse. I am not going to cite specific cases, but only comment on how the normal talk show host seems utterly bound and gagged as they try offering any viable solution to stop this shocking behavior from being perpetrated by our nation's popular athletes. One commentator after another are simply bewildered on how to account for these horrific offenses; and each time one person offers their opinion it is immediately shot down by the other commentators differing viewpoint. Consensus and finding workable solutions are like pulling teeth because no one honestly knows what to do to stem this immoral tide.
It reminds me of a verse in the book of Acts when the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens were trying to make sense out of the world: "All the Athenians and foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas." This is exactly where we are at morally as a culture; squawking and talking, but completely helpless when it comes to stopping the filth our athletes, celebrities ("How about Bill Cosby? Sad.") and greasy politicians keep getting themselves into.
Why do we seem so hamstrung and tongue-tied?
I offer three reasons:
(1) We have lost the "Fear of God": God and his opinion have been thrown out of popular debate - - and as a result people simply don't care if they offend his holiness. Society actually thinks they can get away with participating in immoral behavior without having to pay the piper. We think he doesn't see. We think he won't come down to defend his reputation; but he will. In the meantime, he is watching from a distance and letting us reap what we have sown: Chaos - - with no God to come to our rescue (See Proverbs 1:20-33). Like a child who doesn't want his dad to help him untie his shoe, America has silenced the only true voice of reason and solution.
(2) We no longer "Honor his Design": God has set this world up to be run a certain way, like a Swiss Watch; and when we abide by his moral codes and principles concerning sexual purity, marital fidelity and personal holiness, life works. But we don't listen; we trespass his design with no remorse, and as a result, we pay the price. One question: How many children does Adrian Peterson have out of wedlock? Hmm, I wonder if this plays a part in how he relates to and disciplines his children? Oh yeah, that is none of my business.
(3) We have not run to Jesus for Grace: Grace is God's power to overcome - - it repairs what has been broken. Instead of finding our solution in the person of Christ, the dispenser of grace, we run to human programs and the over-used catch all solution of the day, "education!" As J. Vernon McGee once said, "If you take a thief who use to steal rail-road ties and give him an education without changing his heart, not only will he keep stealing the rail-road ties, but he will also steal the track and train as well." Only Jesus changes the heart!
That's my rant; but who cares? I am only a pastor. I am not a guy who can do really important things that matter, like kick a ball or grab a rebound. Those are the things that really transform lives!