Monday, November 2, 2009

An Eye for an Eye, or Turning the Other Cheek.

Boy are we glad we got yesterday's Sunday Challenge on the record before the whole eye gouging story began.

For the record, Spikes has apologized and we'll let him speak for himself: "I accept responsibility for my actions... I would like to apologize... There is no excuse for my actions."

So we'll leave it at that, and move on.

But the backlash at Tebow for saying "We didn't do anything they didn't do" at the Monday presser in part illustrates what we were getting at on Sunday.

Dan Shanoff over at TimTeblog led the charge that Tebow was acting more "eye for an eye" than "turn the other cheek." But has since somewhat recanted because of Tebow's full quote below:

"The thing is he needs to know we're all (behind him),'' Tebow said. "We understand the game of football. Some of us have played it. Very emotional things happened in that game in particular that were not good for either side, but the bottom line is we're Florida and he's Brandon Spikes and we expect certain things. He understands.''

Tebow said he hadn't seen the Spikes play, added it was an emotional game and he didn't condone the actions his UF teammate was accused of.

"He's very emotional on game day,'' Tebow said. "He's a very emotional player and a very caring person, someone who cares about his team, cares about his players, off the field, too, helping them and taking care of them. Obviously, he's not that emotional off the field. But he's very intense and very emotional and very passionate. I think that's what makes him part of the great player that he is because he brings that fire.

"I don't think that we did anything in that game that they didn't do. If you go back and look at it and study it, you can see it in the film, too, it was an intense game, both teams were very passionate about it,'' Tebow said.

Is it "immature," as Shanoff coyly suggests for Tebow to have said, "I don't think that we did anything in that game that they didn't do." Or was he intimating that it was "un-Christian" to say so?

So here's the list again, which column, A or B, best represents the ideals that Christians are to live by?













Proving Oneself










Goal Oriented





Loving cooperation


Personal expression

Did you choose A or B?

You probably choose B, whether you are Christian or not. But the wrinkle is this list is from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. And it has nothing to do with Christian values necessarily. B is the column representing "feminine" characteristics, while A represents "masculine" characteristics.

Contemporary American culture seems to think that in order to be a good "Christian" you've got to act like the B column, which is inherently feminine. What is somewhat amazing is that Tebow seems to embody a fair bit of both. B on the field and A off. But when his masculine side shows itself off the field, both Christians and non-Christians seem to get nervous. And here's the two men we think represent those two columns.

A and B

Do sports fans really expect, even want, Tebow to act like Ned Flanders in any regard? We're Christians and we certainly don't. We are looking forward to Tebow going to the NFL in part because we suspect that his more sarcastic side, his veiled smack talk, his aggressive side will all come through. Because we hope to see Tebow, or someone like him, replace Ned Flanders as the face of Christian masculinity. Or said differently, we hope that being "Christian" comes to include masculine qualities, and Tebow at present seems to be our best hope.

So we'd like to answer Dan Shanoff's reference to the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said to "turn the other cheek." One of the other famous scenes of Christ's life is where Jesus told Simon Peter that he would betray Jesus before the rooster crowed three times. But have a look at the verses that immediately follow that well quoted passage, and make of them what you will.

Perhaps the nuanced answer that Shanoff is looking for, the line between "eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek" is "walk softly and carry a big stick." Or something like that.

Luke 22:31-36

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That is enough,” he replied.

Finally, we'll let Tebow's eye black have the last word on this one.

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