Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Bible In [or On] Your Face


I watched most of last night's game between Alabama and Florida. After Alabama widened its lead to 19 points I lost interest.


I did find the quarterback for the Gators, Tim Tebow, interesting, particularly his eye make-up.




In case that verse doesn't automatically spring to mind, John 16:33 reads:


'I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!’

Jesus is speaking to his disciples. It appears Jesus had conquered everything in the world except the Crimson Tide defense.

Alabama persecuted Florida, 32-13.

What meanest thou thy Bible verses upon thy face?

The most direct answer is superstition. Eye Black Bible is similar to wearing a rabbit's foot, never washing your jock strap, or getting a tattoo on your butt cheek. Sports figures and their fans are notoriously superstitious and the American Evangelical Superstar
Jesus is a natural icon for this role.

But this particular superstition is pretty brazen. It is one thing to wear a gold cross under your jersey. It is quite another to emblazon a verse on your face for a national television audience.

Maybe he wants to improve our literacy level. Looking up references to Western literary classics that football players paint on their cheekbones can make you feel better about wasting three hours watching grown men beat each other over a ball. If all the players did this folks at home might read a whole book of the Bible or maybe one of Shakespeare's plays during commercial breaks.

We have a minute 39 left in the first half. It is 3rd and three and the left guard is reminding us to look up Hamlet 3/1.
In addition to superstition an element of proselytizing is at work here. But proselytizing for whom exactly? The quarterback wants everyone to buy in to his superstition so everyone can be superstitious. Um, no thanks.

I know. What right have I to say anything? I am after all, Mr. Irreverence. But really, Bible verses on football players' cheekbones? Can we make Christianity any more coarse?

19 comments:

  1. Can we make it any more coarse, you ask? Certain;y! Maybe we should check to see what the butt-cheek tattoos sitting near those unwashed jock straps actually are.

    Your move.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tim Tebow's eyeblack proslytizing was more humorous at last week's game vs. Florida State.

    He had Hebrews 12:1-2 inscribed under his eyes.

    The announcers commented on it and looked up Hebrews 12:12
    "Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed."

    The announcers were pondering what he meant by all that.

    Later, some coach called in and said, "Oh, no, he is referring to Hebrews 12:1-2."

    So the announcers corrected themselves and read the standard athlete verse "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (the stadium I guess), let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, etc., etc."

    I got a kick out of that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I guess one could consider this a logical progression for football. After all, they've had the "Hail Mary" pass for about 35 years now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with Snad. There are all kinds of ways to be more coarse. Just consider a passage from Joshua about the battle for Jericho and killing everyone in town!

    Of course from a Gators point of view the Crimson Tide deserves this after their defeat. And after all killing everyone in town would cause a crimson tide.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Can we make Christianity any more coarse?"

    Of course we can. How about turning the crucifixion into a bumper sticker with a cutsie slogan: 2 pieces of wood + 3 nails = 4 given.

    If there's money to be made, someone will throw a cross on any piece of pathetic schlock and call it Christian. For example the crucifixion pot holders I saw in a Christian Bookstore a while back. Seriously. Crucifixion pot holders (they had silk-screened nails and stigmata on the hands.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "If there's money to be made, someone will throw a cross on any piece of pathetic schlock..."

    Or in earlier times, turn a piece of a cross into a piece of pathetic schlock! Something had to replace those relics I suppose...

    I don't see the superstition angle so much, proselytizing is where it's at I believe, and affirming one's commitment to "being a bold witness" in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Did any of you watch the movie "Magnolia" and observe its use of the subliminal Bible verse (Ex 8:2) posted in the background? It shows up at bus stops and on posters displayed at the game scene and a couple of other places.

    Most of the critics never caught it. Even the Wikipedia article about the movie does not mention the posted signs in the background.

    I thought it was a great inside joke. You had to be a Bible nerd watching the movie in order to catch it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. One of my pet peeves is to see businesses using religious symbols to sell their products or services. The little fish symbol is bad enough - touting all good Christians to spend their money here and not at heathen appliance repair stores, but a place here in town has them all topped. Tennessee Transmission Tech with the "T" in each word painted to look like they are the three crosses at Calvary. It makes me want to burn the place to the ground, yet people fall for it like water over a ledge.

    Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 'Tennessee Transmission Tech with the "T" in each word painted to look like they are the three crosses at Calvary. It makes me want to burn the place to the ground, yet people fall for it like water over a ledge.'

    Isn't this sort of like setting up shop in the temple to overcharge the folks who forgot to bring their own doves?

    There is a dentist up the street from me with great big evangelical advertisements all over his office signs.

    There's really no escape from it here in Sullivan Co.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A Facebook friend says I should lighten up on the poor guy. She sees what he is doing as sweet and amusing. Better a symbol of his faith than a corporate logo she says.

    OK.

    I will stop picking on the football players.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Better a symbol of his faith than a corporate logo she says. "

    That's just the problem! Thanks to folks like Tebow and TN Tranny, religion, Scripture, and all the rest of it HAS BECOME a sort of corporate logo. They call it "Branding" for a reason.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I know we are having fun here and I appreciate that but I am very concerned that half of our country is going one way and half the opposite and we better find common ground before we have Civil War. Does anyone else see it that way?

    Or, perhaps even worse, the plutocrats have us just where they want us, discussing anything but the real issues. I don't mean this blog and its readers but the general discourse of the nation. We are in a huge crisis and most people are simply going on like it's 1984.

    + Love + John A Wilde + Whitesboro NY + The John A Wilde Blog + We are intimately, intricately and infinitely connected by a matrix of unconditional, unlimited and uniting love which is miraculous, mysterious and marvelous.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree, John. Have you read Octavia Butler's Parable books?

    Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents are set about 15-20 years from now. Very realistic.

    The Parable of the Talents shows the rise of "Christian America." Scary stuff.

    Real issues for me are energy, ecology, and most importantly how our society and world will function in light of change in access to resources and comforts.

    Ultimately, will we gather in little groups and fight to the death for resources or will find a way to work together and share?

    The first option looks likely but I am putting my Advent hope on door number 2.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Chris Hedges has been exploring the dark side of Christian America in a book he wrote recently: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. He has written a lot of books and writes regularly at TruthDig. He wrote WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING and LOSING MOSES ON THE FREEWAY: THE 10 COMMANDMENTS IN AMERICA. Mary Lynn Gras led a great study of the latter book a couple of years back at FPC Utica.

    + Love + John A Wilde + Whitesboro NY + The John A Wilde Blog + We are intimately, intricately and infinitely connected by a matrix of unconditional, unlimited and uniting love which is miraculous, mysterious and marvelous.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Chris Hedges is the cat's pajamas...
    Have a look:
    http://vodpod.com/watch/1985253-one-on-one-chris-hedges

    ReplyDelete