My latest article on houstonbelief.com
All eyes were on New Orleans Sunday night as the 47th playing of football’s biggest game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Amid the $3.8 million 30-second commercials, blackouts and amazing plays, one player, Ravens Middle Linebacker, Ray Lewis was the focus on much of media’s attention. Lewis at the beginning of the playoffs had stated that he would retire after 17 years with the Ravens; this was his last run at another Super Bowl win. He has been in and out of the media light during his career; he was charged with obstruction of justice in a murder investigation and even been accused of using a banned substance.
However, after the Ravens had clinched their second franchise Super Bowl victory, Lewis was asked how he felt being a Super Bowl champ again he answered:
“It’s simple: when God is for you, who can be against you?” [Quoting from Romans 8]
So what exactly are you saying there Mr. Lewis? Was God only on your side or the Ravens’ side? Is God not a 49ers fan? Did the good people of Baltimore unite in prayer more fervently than those on the West Coast?
I am not denying that God gifted Ray Lewis with the ability to play a position in football better than anyone else; I am not denying that Ray Lewis has a relationship with God. Could his answer possibly have been an excited utterance, just something that he said in the moment? Maybe, but then again maybe not.
Was God’s hand in the mix during the Super Bowl? Did God cause the black out or cause the ref not to call passing interference that would have swung the game to the 49ers? And if God’s hand was in the mix why was the favor only for one team in league or 30 teams? God was just as much on the side of Ray Lewis as God was on the side for all of the 49ers, the Houston Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars and every other human on the planet. No amount of status, fame, fortune or access to resources grants a person “more favor” with God. It just doesn’t work that way.
When it comes to public theology, one has to be careful. We have to be careful that we are not using a text for a purpose that it was not originally composed for. This is a very difficult skill to learn and one that has plagued the church for centuries. The Bible has been used for almost every major political, socially and “hot topic” issues; it has been used for having slaves and for the emancipation of slaves, for the promotion and denial of women’s rights, for and against the affirming of homosexuality.
When we come to the Bible we are bringing our own preconceptions or even our own “agendas.” If one is looking for a passage to make their theology work, well guess what, they are going to find it.
So congrats to Ray Lewis and the 2012-2013 Baltimore Ravens.
May we remember that in winning and in losing that ALL are all God’s children. God doesn’t love one person over another.