Two Super Bowl QBs Christians Can Root For

SUPER BOWL QAUTERBACKS RUSSELL WILSON AND PEYTON MANNING ARE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHRISTIAN ATHLETES.

SUPER BOWL QAUTERBACKS RUSSELL WILSON AND PEYTON MANNING ARE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHRISTIAN ATHLETES.

There is a longstanding Super Bowl tradition among Las Vegas bookmakers to offer the gambling public various esoteric betting propositions.

Among Super Bowl XLVIII props for which sports books in Sin City have posted odds is whether announcers mention “marijuana” during the game, whether any member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be shirtless during their Super Bowl performance and whether Erin Andrews will interview Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman live after the game.

But there’s a prop for which Vegas bookmakers didn’t bother to post odds – whether there will be any mention whatsoever that the quarterbacks of both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are unabashed Christians during the practically all-day televised coverage of the Super Bowl.

That’s because even the most gullible gamblers would avoid this sucker bet, no matter how generous the odds.

Because, while it was perfectly acceptable for CBS to allow the mass marriage of homosexual couples of its live telecast of this year’s Grammy Awards, while no one is giving ABC grief for having lesbian activist Ellen Degeneres host this year’s Academy Awards, FOX doesn’t want to risk anti-Christian blowback by letting the more than 100 million viewers of today’s Super Bowl know the role Christ plays in the lives of both Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.

“I committed my life to Christ,” affirmed Manning, in his self-titled book, “and that faith has been most important to me ever since.”

Does the Denver Broncos’ signal caller pray for God’s divine intervention on the gridiron? No, he said, “except as a generic thing. I pray to keep both teams injury free and, personally, that I use whatever talent I have to the best of my ability.”

As to whether the Almighty has a rooting interest in the Super Bowl or any other NFL tilt, “I don’t think God really cares about who wins football games,” said Manning, “except as winning might influence the character of some person or group.”

Wilson, the Seahawks’ man behind center, recently testified at Seattle’s Mars Hill church that Christ has been with him in bad times and good.

“When we are at the worst times of our lives,” he said, “when we are battling with something, or struggles, whatever it may be…we want somebody to comfort us”

Or, he continued, “when things are going really well, we want somebody to … be there for us and say, ‘Well done.’

That’s Jesus, said Wilson, unashamed of the Gospel. “Jesus has always been there,” he said, “He’ll never leave you, never forsake you.”

Manning and Wilson are espousing a message of faith all too often mocked by the popular culture; scorned by the socially-correct.

Indeed, Christian athletes like Manning and Wilson don’t get invited to the president’s State of the Union address to sit next to the First Lady. That putative honor is reserved for jocks like Jason Collins, the pro basketballer feted last week for coming out as a homosexual.

Neither Manning nor Wilson appear in any way desirous of presidential plaudits.

For these Super Bowl QBs, these Christian athletes, are informed by the Scripture, which declares, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”

NYT Religion Writer Throws a Hissy Fit

MARK OPPENHEIMER SUGGESTS NFL PRAYER CIRCLES ARE LITTLE MORE THAN 'CAREFULLY CALIBRATED ROUTINE.' CHRISTIAN FACADE.

MARK OPPENHEIMER SUGGESTS NFL PRAYER CIRCLES ARE LITTLE MORE THAN ‘CAREFULLY CALIBRATED ROUTINE.’ 

So I just got around to reading a tweet from Mark Oppenheimer, religion columnist for The New York Times. 

He was offended by my February 3 post taking issue with a cover story he wrote for Sports Illustrated, “In the Fields of the Lord,” which appeared in the magazine’s Super Bowl issue.

Oppenheimer’s article dissed NFL players who “point to heaven after the big sack, cross themselves after a touchdown and give thanks to Jesus in the post-game interviews.” His hit piece  – which, at one point, jokes about pro footballers attempting to “Christianize the strip club” – suggests that the faith of Christian athletes is unworthy of being taken seriously.

Had a Christ follower authored such an article, I would have disagreed, but I wouldn’t have wondered what secret animus he might bear toward Christianity.

But Oppenheimer is Jewish, as I noted in my post. And I couldn’t shake the suspicion that the cynical tone of his SI essay was attributable, at least in part, to a conceit that his faith is superior to the Christian faith.

Oppenheimer is skeptical of Christianity.

He doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah foretold by the book of Isaiah. That He was born of a virgin. That He performed the miraculous. That He was crucified and rose from the dead three days thereafter. That he was seen by men after His resurrection. And that He sits now at the right hand of God.

In my view, a writer that rejects the divinity of Jesus – be he (or she) Jewish, like Oppenheimer, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Scientologist or whatever – simply cannot write a fair and balanced article on the Christian faith.

Even when that article explores the seemingly innocuous subject of pro football and Christian athletes.

Oppenheimer didn’t see it this way. The guy who spent nearly 3,500 words mocking gridiron Christians threw a hissy fit because I had the temerity to report that he is Jewish.

“cheers, Christian Diarist,” Oppenheimer tweeted, “to anti-Semitism in attack on my Sports Ill piece abt Christianity + NFL.”

And The New York Times/Sports Illustrated religion writer got a tweet of support from Rebecca Ruquist, one of his twitter sycophants.

 “oy veyyyy,” she sympathized. “The ‘yes,’ (confirming your suspicion) is esp unsavory.”

Well oy veyyyy, indeed, Miss Ruquist. My post anticipated that readers would want to know the religious faith of the author of the Sports Ill piece (for the very germaine reasons I mentioned above). So, I answered in advance: “yes, he’s Jewish.”

Maybe, in Ruquist’s mind, that made my post “unsavory.” Maybe, to Oppenheimer’s way of thinking, that somehow made my post anti-Semitic.

But Oppenheimer protests too much, me thinks. By playing the anti-Semitic card, he clearly is attempting to deflect attention from his SI article, which is artfully written and deviously anti-Christian.

Does God Have a Super Bowl Favorite?

RAY LEWIS PICTURED ON SI COVER, IN IMAGE SUGGESTING BAPTISM OF CHRIST.

RAY LEWIS PICTURED ON SI COVER, IN IMAGE SUGGESTING BAPTISM OF CHRIST.

The decidedly secularist Sports Illustrated – evidenced by the busty swimsuit models it teasingly features on the home page of its web site (alongside the latest sports news, which is what “SI” is supposed to be about) – thought the occasion of the Super Bowl  would be the perfect time to weigh in on the subject of Christianity and football.

The cover of its February 4 issue, still available on newsstands, has a picture of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, under the headline:  “Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?”

In the cover shot, Lewis is up to his shoulders in water, hands folded as in prayer. It seems obvious the image is meant to suggest the baptism of Christ; as if Lewis, who was at least indirectly involved in the murders of two people the last time his NFL team made the Super Bowl, is some sort of Messianic figure.

SI’s cover story asserts, “The sport with the biggest Christian presence, most famous Christian athletes and most religious leaders affiliated with teams features a culture that seemingly goes against the values of Christianity.”

So whom did SI assign to write about “the values of Christianity” as they relate to “big-time football?” Mark Oppenheimer – yes, he’s Jewish – religion columnist for The New York Times.

Is it any wonder that a writer who disbelieves the divinity of Christ, who thinks he knows better than the 80 percent of us who identify ourselves as Christ followers, would sneer at footballers who publicly profess their Christ followers?

In his cover story, Oppenheimer mocks what he says has become customary for many NFL players: They point to heaven, pray on their knees and thank Jesus in post-game interviews.

The SI writer’s sarcastic prediction for today’s Super Bowl: Ray Lewis will wear his customary black T-shirt under his uniform that says PSALMS 91 and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, if successful on a big play, will kiss either his tattoo of the words GOD TO GLORY or the one that reads FAITH.

Well, as a Christ follower who is also a football fan, I see absolutely nothing wrong with NFL players honoring God, giving glory to their Lord and Savior.

In fact, I root for those who are not ashamed to publicly profess their Christian faith – be it Lewis or Kaepernick, one of which will win the Super Bowl, or such past Super Bowl MVPs as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Kurt Warner.

As to whether God cares whether the Ravens or 49ers win today’s Super Bowl, I think not.

But I do believe He delights in athletes who make full use of the talent with which He has blessed them; who pursue their craft as unto the Lord and not to men; who glorify Him when they  achieve success; and who evince His peace, which surpasses all understanding, even when they fall short of victory.

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